Olaf Scholz urges foreigners to apply for German citizenship

Olaf Scholz urges foreigners to apply for German citizenship

A major upheaval to German citizenship law is just around the corner. Ahead of the change, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has encouraged foreigners living in Germany to apply for a passport.

Scholz wants you to get a German passport

Speaking on the Machiavelli - Rap und Politik podcast, German chancellor Olaf Scholz has urged all foreigners who live in Germany and meet the criteria to apply for German citizenship.

"I would like to encourage everyone who is currently here, if they do not have German citizenship, to obtain it if the prerequisites are met," Scholz told podcast hosts Vassili Golod and Jan Kawelke and fellow guest, Deutschrap star RIN.

The chancellor emphasised that migrants in Germany have given the country so much and that applying for citizenship would give such people the opportunity to take part in the politics of the country in which they have chosen to live their lives.

At the moment, only EU passport holders are allowed to apply for dual German citizenship, and only people with a German passport can vote in federal elections. If Germany’s new citizenship draft law passes through the Bundesrat on September 29, a huge number of people who have been living in Germany with permanent residency status are expected to apply for citizenship.

What will be the new criteria for applying for German citizenship?

According to the newest draft, which was approved by cabinet members on August 23, migrants living in Germany will be able to apply for a German passport after five years of residency rather than eight. In certain circumstances, where good German skills, voluntary work or impressive achievements at work are proven, some people will be able to apply for a German passport just three years after moving to the country.

Additionally, the new law will allow non-EU citizens to hold dual citizenship with their new German passport. Until now, only EU citizens have been able to keep both their original passport and German passport simultaneously. 

As it stands, children are entitled to German citizenship if they were born to at least one German parent, or were born within Germany to at least one parent who has lived here legally for a minimum of eight years. Under the newly drafted law, those born to foreign parents will be eligible for citizenship if one of their parents has been legally resident in Germany for five years rather than eight. 

The language requirements for those over 67 who are applying for citizenship will also be relaxed, a move which Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has said is an acknowledgement of work of the the Gastarbeiter generation in Germany. 

The outlier area, where eligibility rules are set to become more strict, is when it comes to social security benefit claimants. At the moment, people who have a German residence permit are eligible to apply for citizenship if they are receiving some kinds of social security benefits, but not others. Which benefits residents can receive and still expect their application to be successful are also set to change with the new law.

Thumb image credit: Alexandros Michailidis /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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