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Understand German citizenship process vocabulary

Understand German citizenship process vocabulary

It can be a long and difficult procedure to apply for citizenship in Germany, and mastering the terminology is similar to learning a new language. These are the key expressions you’ll most frequently hear along the route. Applying for German citizenship, with its many advantages like permanent residence and voting rights, may seem daunting, but it’s not as difficult as it appears. Understanding the formal jargon will help you submit the application and become a naturalized German.


    • Die Einbürgerung” means naturalisation, the process of becoming a German citizen after residing there for a certain period.
    • Visit your local Einbürgerungsbehörde (citizenship office) to initiate the citizenship application process.
    • They will schedule an Erstgespräch (initial consultation) and provide you with the required application forms.


    • Die Staatsangehörigkeit” means nationality, a crucial question in the citizenship application.
    • Non-EU citizens typically have to renounce their current passport when applying for German citizenship.
    • However, with the new “Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz” (Nationality Law) from the government, this requirement is about to change.

Multiple citizenship / dual citizenship

    • The coalition agreement among the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens, and Free Democrats (FDP) aims to implement traffic lights.
    • They were considering approving “Mehrstaatigkeit,” which means possessing many nationalities.
    • Doppelte Staatsbürgerschaft” refers to dual nationality, and under the new law, individuals can have as many passports as they want.


    • Fulfilling certain “Voraussetzungen” or requirements is essential.
    • Residency: Applicants must have lived in Germany for a specific amount of time.
    • Legal immigration status: Having a valid and legal residence permit is necessary.
    • Language and cultural knowledge: Proficiency in the German language and familiarity with the German way of life is mandatory.
    • Clean criminal record: Applicants should have a spotless criminal record.


    • Residency in Germany is referred to as “Der Aufenthalt.”
    • To qualify for citizenship, you must demonstrate a specific period of residency.
    • Currently, it’s eight years for most individuals, but six years with special integration can also be considered.
    • The new law is expected to reduce the requirement to five years for most and three years with special integration.
    • Qualifying for citizenship means demonstrating a legitimate “Aufenthaltsrecht” (right to reside) in the country.

Linguistic proficiency

    • Deutsche Sprachkenntnisse” refers to German language proficiency, a requirement for obtaining German citizenship.
    • Most people need a B1 certificate, but higher language levels can reduce the wait time.
    • People over 67 years old are exempt from this requirement under the new rule.
    • To proceed, you need to make an application, known as “einen Antrag stellen.”
    • Failing to apply may hinder your chances of naturalizing as a German citizen.

Submit an application

If you don’t do this, your chances of naturalizing as a German are low: Ein Antrag stellen is a crucial step in the procedure and translates to simply applying.

Birth Certificate

Your living situation will determine which documents you must send to the Einbürgerungsbehörde, but almost everyone must submit one of them. Your birth certificate, or “Birthsurkunde,” will likely need to be translated into German if it is written in another language.

Citizenship Test

Having a basic understanding of German politics, history, and culture is a need for obtaining German citizenship, among other things. You’ll probably need to demonstrate this by taking a citizenship test known as an Einbürgerungstest, which includes 34 questions on these subjects, some of which are specific to the federal state in which you currently reside.


You’ll undoubtedly hear a lot about this if you’re getting ready for your Einbürgerungstest. Germany’s Basic Law, or constitution, Das Grundgesetz, lays the legal foundation for Germany’s democratic system and its citizens’ fundamental rights.

Livelihood security

    • Advantages of becoming German: relying on the welfare system like long-term jobseekers’ allowance.
    • Germany prefers applicants to fulfil the “eigenständige Sicherung des Lebensunterhalts” requirement independently.
    • This means providing an employment contract and proof of living expenses.

Insurance History

    • Insurance is highly valued in Germany, and the government expects applicants for naturalisation to have embraced this value.
    • Required insurances usually include pension insurance, long-term illness insurance, care insurance, and health insurance.
    • The first three insurances are often bundled with the required health insurance.
    • To apply for your pension, you’ll likely need to obtain the “Versicherungsverlauf,” a record of your previous contributions.
    • The need for the “Versicherungsverlauf” is typically optional, and there’s ongoing debate about whether freelancers even need it.

Proof of…

This is probably going to come up a lot when you receive a list of documents to submit. The word “proof of” or “nachweis über” can be used to describe anything you need to prove, from your current according to your present income or German proficiency.


    • A criminal background check is one of the final steps in the citizenship application process.
    • The government will investigate your past to check for any disqualifying offences.
    • To qualify, it’s essential to demonstrate “Straffreiheit,” which means having a spotless criminal record with no charges or convictions.


Unfortunately, nothing in life is free, including the process of applying for German citizenship. The Gebühren, or levies, are now set at €255 per person, and you must pay them when you Send your application in.

Action for failure to act

    • Despite horror stories of long waiting periods for citizenship, the German government is legally obligated to expedite your application.
    • If they fail to process your application in a timely manner, and you have been waiting for more than six months, you may be entitled to file an “Untätigkeitsklage” or lawsuit for inaction.
    • Many people use this strategy to speed up the procedure, but it’s not always successful.

Naturalization Assurance

    • To apply for a German passport, you may need to renounce your prior citizenship.
    • Before doing so, the authorities must issue you an “Einbürgerungszusicherung” (Promise of Naturalization).
    • This certificate guarantees your eligibility for German citizenship, with the condition that you renounce your present citizenship.

Certificate of Naturalization

It took a long time, but here it is—the paper you’ve been waiting for Your certificate of naturalisation is called the Einbürgerungsurkunde, and it will soon be distributed in a unique way. ceremony with the other new Germans.

German passport

The world is your oyster after you obtain your Einbürgerungsurkunde, or at least the roughly 150 nations that German passport holders can travel to without a visa. Once you become a naturalised citizen, you may be given the option of choosing between receiving a Deutscher Reisepass or a Deutscher Personalausweis, however, you are actually eligible for both.

In conclusion,  To apply for a German passport, you may require an “Einbürgerungszusicherung” (Promise of Naturalization) first, which ensures your eligibility for German citizenship, with the condition of renouncing your prior citizenship. This step is crucial in the process of becoming a naturalized German citizen.

Read more at How To Abroad:

What makes B2 and C1 German different for fast-track citizenship?

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