As a naturalised German citizen, you no longer require a residence permit to stay in Germany. With the naturalisation (Einbürgerung) you gain the right to vote and get elected, and you’ll gain unrestricted access to the labour market. You also enjoy freedom of movement within the European Union, meaning that you may freely choose your place of work and residence within the EU. You can also enter many non-EU states without needing a visa and simultaneously enjoy German consular protection while abroad. From the age of 16, you can submit the application yourself. Parents need to submit the application for children under the age of 16.
- You’ve legally resided in Germany for at least 8 years.
This period may be reduced to 7 years after having successfully completed an integration course, or to 6 years if you fulfil special integration conditions, such as holding a German "Abitur" or other secondary school certificate, a B2 certificate or having completed vocational training. The period may be reduced to 3 years if you've been married to a German spouse for at least two years.
- You already have the right to unlimited residence in Germany or hold an EU Blue Card. In certain cases, a temporary residence permit suffices (for example children under 16 years).
- You are committed to the free and democratic constitutional order of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany.
- You’re able to financially support yourself and any dependent family members, or alternatively can enrol in school, university or do an apprenticeship.
- If it is necessary or achievable, you’re willing to give up your previous citizenship. Exceptions apply, for example, for EU countries, Afghanistan and Iran.
- You haven’t been convicted of a serious criminal offense.
- You have adequate German-language skills (for example proof of language B1, German school-leaving certificate).
- You passed the naturalisation test and know the basics of the legal and social system in Germany. Exceptions: You’ve acquired a German school-leaving qualification or university degree, or are unable to fulfil the requirements on account of your age or because of a physical or mental illness or disability.
Consulting and Application
At the Naturalisation Department (Einbürgerungsabteilung) of the Office for Migration (Amt für Migration) you’ll be helped with any questions about the naturalisation process. For more information, visit the website of the Authority for internal affairs and sport (Innenbehörde).
Notes on the naturalisation test (Einbürgerungstest)
Naturalisation applicants must prove that they have knowledge of the legal and social order and living conditions in Germany. As a rule, this knowledge must be demonstrated in a naturalisation test
Who must take the naturalisation test?
In principle, everyone who wants to acquire German citizenship must take the naturalisation test. The Naturalisation Department will inform you after checking whether an exception is possible in individual cases due to special circumstances.
What does the naturalisation test consist of?
The naturalisation test consists of 33 questions on the topics "Life in a Democracy", "History and Responsibility" and "People and Society". There are 30 questions relating to Germany as a whole, and 3 questions relating specifically to Hamburg. Each question has four possible answers, of which only one is correct. Of the 33 questions, 17 must be answered correctly within 60 minutes in order to pass the test.
Where can you take the naturalisation test?
You do not take the naturalisation test at the Naturalisation Department of the Central Residents' Office, but at one of the following institutions. These are the only institutions authorized to act as testing centers for the state of Hamburg:
Zentrum Deutsch als Fremdsprache in Hamburg Mitte
Zentrum Deutsch als Fremdsprache in Harburg
You can only register for the naturalisation test in person during the respective opening hours.
Further information (opening hours, contact) can be found on the websites of the Volkshochschule Hamburg.
The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees offers an online test center on its website to prepare for the naturalisation test.
In addition, the complete questionnaire for the "Living in Germany" and the "Naturalisation” test, consisting of over 300 questions, is provided.
The Hamburger Volkshochschule (see above for contact) also offers preparatory training sessions that address the most important topics of the test and shows you how to prepare on your own and deepen your knowledge.