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Germany’s new dual citizenship law will soon be implemented

Germany’s new dual citizenship law will soon be implemented

The new law will reduce the residency requirement for a German passport from eight to five years, expanding eligibility. Foreigners have been eagerly awaiting this reform since it was proposed in the coalition agreement between the SPD, Greens, and FDP. It’s been 21 months since then. When will these changes take effect, and where are we in the process? Stay tuned for upcoming milestones in the following weeks and months.

The cabinet vote

    • The new nationality law was published on the Interior Ministry website before the summer break and shared with state governments and stakeholders for review and revision.
    • The next step involves cabinet ministers voting on the finalized law, officially endorsing it and paving the way for a parliamentary vote.
    • A government source suggests that this cabinet vote is likely to happen during the cabinet meeting on either Wednesday, August 23 or Wednesday, August 30.
    • A representative from the Interior Ministry has confirmed that the nationality law will be addressed in an upcoming cabinet meeting.
    • The government is aiming to address pending laws, including the significant citizenship reform, without delay, as evident from the first cabinet meeting after the summer break on August 16.

The Bundestag vote

    • The law proceeds to the Bundestag after cabinet approval; the Bundestag is the lower chamber of parliament representing the government and MPs.
    • Bundestag reconvenes on September 5 after the summer break, with a vote on the citizenship bill potentially set anytime after September 11, even as early as mid-September.
    • The Bundesrat, representing federal states, votes on the measure post-Bundestag approval.
    • A simple majority suffices for the Bundesrat’s approval, as the citizenship law’s impact on state law is limited, making vetoing challenging for conservative-led states.
    • Notable dates: September 29 and October 20, Bundesrat’s upcoming full sessions, marking potential passages of the bill’s final parliamentary hurdle.
    • President Frank Walter Steinmeier’s signature is the final step to making the bill a law.

The implementation phase of Germany’s new dual citizenship law

    • After the bill becomes law, a period for local government implementation is necessary.
    • Based on precedents like the Skilled Worker Immigration Law, implementation could last about six months.
    • For more complex legislation, a timeframe of nine months is plausible.
    • In cases where swift implementation is desired, ministers may accelerate the process to achieve quicker results.

New law enters into force

    • The awaited change allows immigrants in Germany to retain their non-EU nationalities upon becoming German citizens.
    • Eligibility for citizenship application is reduced to five years of residency, or three in special cases.
    • Individuals aged 67 and older are exempt from the language exam requirement.
    • Children of immigrants residing in Germany for a minimum of five years will automatically receive German citizenship.
    • The significant day for these changes might fall in the first quarter of 2024 or between January 1 and April 1 of the subsequent year.
    • The timeline hinges on the pace of the cabinet vote, legislative proceedings, and implementation.

Should people submit their applications now?

    • The challenge remains for many individuals, with application processing highly dependent on location.
    • Anecdotal evidence suggests that certain districts can process citizenship petitions quickly, but this is an exception rather than the norm.
    • Major cities like Berlin and Frankfurt often have longer processing times, typically 18 months to two years.
    • Most current citizenship applications might not be processed until the new law takes effect.
    • The Berlin Mitte Citizenship Office clarified that applications submitted before legislative changes would still allow applicants to maintain their previous citizenship if granted.
    • German citizenship law in effect during the grant decision is applicable.
    • Rarely, faster processing is possible; submitting after new regulations ensures this outcome.

In conclusion, Germany’s upcoming dual citizenship law marks a significant development in the country’s immigration landscape. These progressive reforms allow applicants to benefit from changes such as retaining non-EU nationalities and reducing the residency requirement. As the legislative process unfolds, individuals aiming for German citizenship can anticipate a more inclusive and streamlined pathway ahead.

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