Naturalization; application for the granting of German citizenship to foreigners without a naturalization entitlement (discretionary naturalization)

Foreigners who do not or do not yet meet the requirements for entitlement to naturalization may be naturalized on a discretionary basis, provided that certain requirements are met.


Naturalization is the granting of German citizenship to a foreigner. It must be applied for and is carried out by issuing a special naturalization certificate.

A foreigner whose identity and nationality have been clarified, who has been legally resident in Germany for eight years and who fulfills the following requirements, can be naturalized on a discretionary basis upon his or her application. For persons entitled to asylum, other refugees and stateless persons, the period of residence is reduced to six years, and for German-married persons to three years. Furthermore, the duration of residence is reduced to seven years if an integration course is successfully completed. The period of residence may be further reduced to six years if proof of special integration achievements is provided (language skills significantly above the Zertifikat Deutsch level and, depending on the individual case, special civic involvement, e.g. in the fire department or in sports clubs).

The foreigner must be able to support himself and his dependent family members from his own resources. He or she must not have a criminal record and must be able to prove that he or she has sufficient knowledge of the German language.

If he or she fulfills these requirements, the citizenship authority examines whether there is a public (state) interest in the naturalization of the applicant. The General Administrative Regulation on Citizenship Law of the Federal Government regulates in more detail when a public interest in naturalization can be assumed.


Discretionary naturalization can be considered if the following conditions are met:

  • permanent right of residence at the time of naturalization
  • proof of knowledge of the legal and social order as well as living conditions in Germany
  • legal residence in Germany for eight years (this period will be shortened to seven years after successful completion of an integration course, and may even be shortened to six years in the case of special integration achievements). In the case of German spouses, the period is shortened to three years if the marriage has lasted two years.
  • In principle, independent means of subsistence (also for dependent family members) without recourse to public benefits.
  • Proof of sufficient oral and written German language skills: List of recognized language certificates
  • no conviction for a criminal offense
  • Commitment to the free democratic basic order of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • in principle, the loss or renunciation of the old nationality, if this is possible and reasonable, and
  • integration into German living conditions is guaranteed.


You can apply for naturalization at your district office or, if you live in an independent city, at the city administration.

The decision on the application is made by the respective government of your administrative district.

Special notes

For individual advice and application - also regarding the required documents - please contact the district administrative authority responsible for your place of residence.

Required documents

  • Citizenship application

    Pre-printed forms are available from the district administration authority.

  • Valid passport

  • Current photo

  • Supporting documents proving the foreign national's civil and marital status (e. g. birth certificate, or marriage certificate, or divorce decree)

  • Demonstration of knowledge of the legal and social order and the living conditions in Germany through presentation of a certificate of successful citizenship test completion or a certificate of graduation from a German academic secondary school

  • Proof of sufficient oral and written German language skills (school reports, certificates, etc.)
  • Supporting documents proving the foreign national's income, retirement provisions, medical insurance and long-term care insurance, also for his or her dependents, where applicable

  • In particular cases, the presentation of additional documents may be necessary Foreign official deeds and documents need to be translated.

Online procedures

  • Einbürgerung - Quick-Check

    You can use the Quick Check to carry out a non-binding examination of the naturalization requirements. However, the naturalization procedure is not initiated until the application and all required documents have been effectively submitted. The final decision is made after the competent authority has checked the requirements.


  • In principle: 255,00 Euro

    Minor children without own income, who are naturalized together with their parents: 51,00 Euro

    Additional costs may arise

    • for the presentation of civil status certificates
    • for proof of civic knowledge and/or language skills
    • due to the renunciation of the previous citizenship
    • for translations of foreign documents by sworn translators and certification fees


Administrative court proceedings; information

An appeal against a negative decision by the authority can be filed with the competent administrative court.


Responsible for editing:Bayerisches Staatsministerium des Innern, für Sport und Integration

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