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Germany plans stricter citizenship rules

April 17, 2020

Under a draft law, immigrants living in Germany under a false name would later find it extremely difficult to become citizens. The government's changes could also hamper children's chances of citizenship.

German passport
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/R. Vennenbernd

In an apparent bid to deter asylum-seekers from providing false information about their identities, the German government plans on making it harder for foreign nationals to attain citizenship, Die Welt newspaper reported on Friday.

A draft law drawn up by the Interior Ministry targets immigrants who have been living in Germany under a false name or provided authorities with incorrect information about their country of origin when they arrived.

Currently, foreigners are generally eligible for German citizenship if they've lived in the country for eight years or more.

Under the new law, the years that an immigrant lived under a false identity would no longer count towards the total years required to attain citizenship.

Read more: 20.8 million people in Germany with immigrant background

Changes for residence permits

The draft law would also create a second significant hurdle to citizenship by changing the rules on residence permits.

Under the new measures, immigrants found living under a false identity would be denied an unlimited or permanent residence permit. The law would make "the clarification of identity and nationality" a prerequisite for attaining permanent resident status.

Immigrants could still attain a time-limited residency permit, but the permanent resident status is required for German citizenship.

Read more: Descendants of Nazi victims want German citizenship

How to make it in Germany

Withholding citizenship from children

The German government's plans also have a direct impact on children of foreign nationals — even if they were born in Germany.

Until now, babies born in Germany to two non-German parents can typically become citizens if one of their parents has been living in the country for eight years.

Under the new rules, children would only be granted German citizenship if their parents prove their identity and nationality.

The Interior Ministry's draft law is currently being reviewed by the other ministries and must gain their approval before moving on to parliament.

The German Basic Law: citizenship

rs/rt (AFP, dpa)

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