Dual citizenship in Germany

New regulations as of 2023 - Current legal basis

Current legislation in Germany provides that multiple nationality and dual citizenship should be avoided. This is stipulated in the paragraph § 10 StAG, which regulates the requirements for naturalisation in Germany. Section 10 StAG paragraph 4 states that foreigners must, if possible, renounce the citizenship of their home country. However, there are exceptional cases, set out in § 12 StAG, in which automatic dual citizenship can occur.

Dual citizenship 2023: The 3 innovations

The federal government is planning three significant changes in connection with dual citizenship in 2023:

  1. changes to Section 10 StAG: Paragraph 4 of Section 10 of the Nationality Act is to be deleted so that dual citizenship is automatically enshrined. This would mean that it is no longer necessary to surrender the citizenship of the country of origin.
  2. novelties in section 12 StAG: The exceptions from section 12 StAG will no longer be necessary due to the planned amendments. With the abolition of Section 10 (4) StAG, it no longer matters whether the country of origin provides for withdrawal of citizenship or not. Dual citizenship would then be possible for all.
  3. no loss of citizenship: the planned dual citizenship 2023 no longer provides for loss of citizenship or renunciation of citizenship of the country of origin. When naturalising, you will only have to present a valid proof of identity.

Why the new naturalisation law?

The Federal Government is planning these changes to make the path to naturalisation easier for foreigners and to make Germany more attractive for qualified professionals. This should also simplify the path to German citizenship for people who already make an important contribution to German society.

When will the new Naturalisation Act come into force?

The planned amendments were presented in May 2023 and are to be debated in the Bundestag after the summer break. If the law passes through the Bundestag as planned at the end of the year, it will have a decisive impact on the naturalisation process.

There are different ways to obtain German citizenship. These include:

  1. birthplace principle: every person born in Germany automatically becomes a German citizen at birth.
  2. descent principle: this principle means that if you have parents or grandparents from a certain country, you have a chance of obtaining the country's citizenship.
  3. marriage with a German citizen: In this case, you will receive a residence permit after marriage and, if you can prove 3 years of legal residence and have been married for two years, you can become a German citizen.
  4. 8 years of legal residence: If you can prove 8 years of legal residence in Germany and meet all other requirements, you can apply for naturalisation.
  5. working residence: Again, you must have the 8 years of legal residence, but you can acquire German citizenship by working residence.

The planned dual citizenship in 2023 sheds light on the possibility of living in Germany with dual citizenship. Here are some important aspects to consider:

1. automatic dual citizenship: the abolition of Section 10 (4) StAG would mean that foreigners would no longer be obliged to renounce their citizenship in order to acquire German citizenship. This would be a considerable relief for many applicants.

2. no loss of citizenship: With the new regulation, applicants for naturalisation would no longer have to renounce the citizenship of their country of origin. This would make the decision to naturalise less complicated.

3. shorter duration of residence: the planned changes would also mean a reduction in the duration of residence for special integration achievements. Currently, it is possible to shorten the period of residence from 8 to 6 years. Dual citizenship in 2023 would mean a reduction from 5 to 3 years.

4. hardship regulations: Consideration is also being given to introducing hardship regulations for proof of language proficiency. This could include the need for care of a family member, where it would then suffice as proof of language skills if one can communicate in German in everyday life.


The planned changes in the Naturalisation Act for 2023 will bring considerable relief for foreigners seeking German citizenship. Automatic dual citizenship, the waiver of loss of nationality of origin and shorter residence periods are positive steps to promote integration and the shortage of skilled workers. It remains to be seen whether the law will be passed as planned and what effects it will have in practice.

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