Naturalization: German states to introduce online application process

How long it takes from the time you apply to the presentation of the certificate of naturalisation varies from case to case, but, on average, it takes several months. In some cases, it could even take years.

A new online procedure should make naturalization more citizen-friendly, easier and faster.

Two states, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, are currently jointly developing an online procedure to simplify the process of naturalization.

The opportunity for digital application should make it easier for people with a foreign passport to obtain German citizenship, said the NRW Ministry of Integration on Friday in Dusseldorf. The offer should go online at the end of next year, according to the information issued on the project.

“Naturalizations are in the special interest of the state government,” said Joachim Stamp, Minister of Integration in NRW . “They crown successful integration and confer all rights and obligations.” Digitization significantly simplifies the process and makes it more citizen-friendly, he added.

Sign pointing to the naturalisation office in Charlottenburg, Berlin. With an online process, visits to the office by applicants will be significantly reduced /Photo: Femi Awoniyi


The digital application process is designed to provide applicants with assistance in filling out the necessary forms.

It will also offer information in the form of video tutorials and a “quick check” list of requirements. The applicants themselves can therefore determine, prior to making the application, which requirements for naturalization they have to fulfill.

“The digital application considerably reduces the efforts of all parties involved, reduces bureaucracy in the process and provides citizen-friendly assistance. However, a personal interview to enable the naturalization authorities access the language skills of the applicants and their commitment to the  liberal democratic basic order remains necessary,” the project information says.

READ ALSO German parliament passes law on withdrawal of citizenship of naturalised nationals

According to the most recent information, more than ten million people holding foreign passports were living in Germany at the end of 2018. Only one percent of them applied for naturalisation in the same year. However, the number of qualified applicants is estimated to be significantly higher.

Femi Awoniyi

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