Germany is allowing more people to hold dual citizenship thanks to changes in its immigration law. The law chiefly allows citizens from EU member states to keep their old passport if they take on German nationality.
The new rules mean Poles, for instance, can take on dual citizenship
People applying for German citizenship will no longer have to give up their old passports if they come from an EU member state or from Switzerland, according to a spokeswoman from the German interior ministry. Even Germans who take on citizenship of other EU states or Switzerland will no longer lose their nationality.
The changes come about as a result of reforms to the country's immigration law. Until now, Germans who applied for citizenship in other EU nations or in Switzerland had to give up their German passport. They, however, had the chance to apply, for a fee and prior to their citizenship application, to keep their passport. The new changes to the law mean German citizens no longer need to do that.
According to Swiss newspaper, Tagesanzeiger, the new rules could be of significance for Swiss-German relations. The paper said Switzerland remains the most popular destination for Germans to immigrate too.
Most new Germans unlikely to be affected by law
The changes to the immigration law allowing for increased numbers of dual citizenship holders largely went unnoticed in the media when they were made earlier this year. Rather, new regulations making it tougher for spouses of Turkish citizens to move to Germany prompted much heated debate.
In July this year, the German government said the number of people taking on German citizenship had risen with 124,832 getting German passports in 2006 -- an increase of 6.5 percent over the previous year.
Most new Germans, however, are unlikely to be affected by the changes in the country's immigration law since they aren't from EU states.
In 2006, Turks made up the greatest number of new Germans, as in previous years, with around 33,500 changing their nationality. They were followed by Serbian and Montenegrin nationals.