Policy Document

Law to Implement Directives of the European Union on Residence and Asylum (from 1945-1990: West Germany)








Naturalisation & Citizenship

Main implications

Persons who had been treated as German citizens by the administration of Germany for 12 years, and who were not responsible for this treatment, acquired German nationality. In certain cases, the descendants of these persons also acquired German citizenship.

The regulation on the acquisition of German citizenship by children born in Germany to parents of foreign nationality, introduced by the Citizenship Law of 2000, was slightly modified: these children acquired German citizenship at birth if one of their parents had legally lived in Germany for eight years, and if he or she had an unlimited right of residence, or if he or she was a Swiss citizen with a certain type of residence status.

The regulatory requirements concerning the naturalisation of spouses of German citizens was slightly changed: the act of naturalisation could no longer be declined for reasons of national security, or because it conflicts with diplomatic relations with other states. It could, however, be declined if the spouse could not demonstrate a sufficient level of language proficiency in German (level B1). Exceptions existed. Spouses of Germans who were of minor age were no longer treated as persons of full age.

The legal requirements pertaining to the naturalisation of persons who had legally lived in Germany for at least eight years were modified. Among other changes, the law stipulated, for example, that these persons would not lose their right to naturalisation if they were unable to support their family financially without recourse to social support, provided they were not responsible for this situation. However, the right to naturalisation no longer applied if the person did not speak German adequately, and if he or she did not have sufficient knowledge of the legal and social order in Germany (this knowledge was demonstrated through a naturalisation test; preparation for this test was provided in naturalisation courses). Exceptions existed.

Under certain conditions (e.g. if the applicant demonstrated German language skills) the required residence period in Germany could be reduced to six years.

Persons who received the naturalisation document had to make a public declaration. The wording of this declaration was defined by the law.

The legal rules concerning cases in which the retention of the old nationality was permitted upon naturalisation were slightly changed (e.g. dual nationality was now permitted not only for EU, but also for Swiss citizens; reciprocity between the two states of nationality concerning this rule was no longer required).

Stricter rules applied concerning persons who had been convicted of a crime and who wanted to naturalise.

Benefits & Requirements

Coverage: Eligible groups or beneficiaries

Persons who had been treated as German citizens by the German administration
Children born in Germany to parents of foreign nationality
Spouses of German citizens
Persons who had legally lived in Germany for eight years or more

Read the Law

Original full text source in native language

Bundesgesetzblatt 2007 I: 1970.

Original full text web source in native language



Nora Sánchez-Gassen
Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Data collected in the framework of the Population and Policy Database

Cite as

SPLASH-db.eu (2012): Policy: "Law to Implement Directives of the European Union on Residence and Asylum (from 1945-1990: West Germany)" (Information provided by Nora Sánchez-Gassen). Available at: https://splash-db.eu [Date of access].