This glossary explains frequently used terms relating to the language/integration nexus and guides you through the apparent complexities of the relevant concepts and terminology.

Einbürgerung (Naturalisation)

Naturalisation is the acquisition of German citizenship by foreign nationals. It confers the right to vote and the right to stand for election at municipal, Land and federal level, as well as citizenship of the European Union. The new citizen thus enjoys freedom of movement within Europe and visa-free travel to many countries outside the EU.

The right to naturalisation exists under the following conditions:
  • the applicant has “adequate” language skills, having attained level B1 (German Test for Immigrants),
  • the applicant has passed the naturalisation test
  • the applicant has been granted an unrestricted right of residence,
  • the applicant’s ordinary and legitimate place of residence has been in Germany for eight years, with no criminal convictions; this period can be reduced to seven years with successful attendance at an integration course,
  • the applicant has independent means of securing a living (including for family members entitled to maintenance) without resorting to welfare payments and unemployment benefit,
  • the applicant is willing to renounce their former nationality,
  • the applicant makes a written declaration of their commitment to the principles of the rule of law and human rights, as enshrined in the German constitution, the Basic Law.

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