I read many times that the minimum requirement for period lived in Germany is 8 years and can be dropped to 6 years (I am talking about non-married to German citizen). My question is, can this be by any mean less than 6 years even by 2 or 3 months? And when can I start the process of application?

  • It is indeed possible. I like your user name. The answer to your second questions is as soon as you qualify.
    – ouflak
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 12:03
  • So, does that mean I can obtain a citizenship certificate after for instance 5 and a half years?
    – ouba2
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 13:02
  • Sorry, misread your question. I can't find any way to obtain German citizenship under 6 years unless you were born stateless in Germany and lived there the entire time. I had to check the German language legal sites to be sure.
    – ouflak
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 9:27
  • 6 years is the minimum, though one can indeed start the process and get into contact with the Bürgeramt a few months before that already. If you need to renounce your previous nationality (i.e. you're non EU), that will be the part that takes a lot of time.
    – xji
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


Exceptions to the normal eight year residency requirement include:

  • People who have completed an integration course may have the residency requirement reduced to 7 years

  • If an applicant is especially well integrated and has a higher command of German than the basic requirement for German citizenship (i.e. C1 or C2) they may have residency requirement reduced to 6 years. (Comment: a well paid job or high qualifications in chore subjects are also "helpful" establishing desirability)

  • The spouse of a German citizen may be naturalised after 3 years of continual residency in Germany if they have been married at least 2 years.

  • Refugees and stateless persons may be able to apply after 6 years of continual residency.

The majority have an eight year residency requirement minimum, so the lower limit is already a huge reduction and concession. No way would an application be accepted before the minimum. You will have to fulfil all the requirements including citizenship test and language exam to B1 (minimum) in the same way, so even if one of the above categories is applicable, the information is widely available in German and there will be a requirement to be proficient enough to read and understand everything at the time an application is submitted. To be sure a six year residency requirement is going to be accepted, you should ask beforehand to avoid disappointment.

Q: "And when can I start the process of application?"

A: As soon as all the residency and other requirements are fulfilled. You will need two to three months collecting and translating all the necessary paperwork before you submit the application and it is my experience you need 4-6 weeks to make a preliminary appointment to see a case worker, so applicants can certainly start the ball rolling before their time/date requirement is up. A police check is also done before papers are finally submitted by your case worker. I have been through the whole process myself this year and was helped and advised well at the Bürgerbüro in my local Rathaus. Each town and state is different, but in Berlin applicants should make a personal appointment at the Staatsangehörigkeitsbehörde where they will be advised about an application relevant to them and their country of origin. A good starting point for research is Wikipedia German nationality law A lot more information is available via local Einbürgerung services and via their web pages, which are sometimes in English. Be careful of companies or web sites which claim they will expedite applications. Applicants will also have to have a certain amount of interaction with authorities in their country of origin, depending on where and whether they will be required to renounce citizenship. My application was submitted and dual citizenship (I'm from an EU country) granted within three months in Schleswig-Holstein, but waiting times vary a lot from state to state.


I'm assuming you were not stateless and born in Germany. In which case, No.

Exceptions to the normal residence requirements for naturalization include:

  • persons who have completed an integration course may have the residence requirement reduced to 7 years
  • If a person shows that he/she is especially well integrated and has a higher level of command of the German language than the basic requirement for the German citizenship (i.e., higher than CEFR level B1) may have the residence requirement reduced to 6 years
  • refugees and stateless persons may be able to apply after 6 years of continual residency former German citizens

Six years seems to be the minimum possible time frame depending on circumstances.

  • That is very useful but my question was if I can be qualified in a time shorter than the 6 years.
    – ouba2
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 13:04
  • Ah I see. I think I read your question wrong. Then the answer would seem to be 'No'. I'll have to update my answer, but I want to do a bit of research first, just to be sure.
    – ouflak
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 9:14

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