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I am a non-EU citizen, I moved to North-Rhein Westphalia and studied Computer Engineering.

Also:

  • I have lived on a student visa for 5 years (because of part-time work).
  • The official study duration is 7 semesters (roughly 3.5 years)
  • For 4 years I have worked in the study-related field as a working student and contributed to the statutory pension insurance fund.

My question is, how many years are counted towards naturalisation?

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The law says

Wer seit acht Jahren dauerhaft und rechtmäßig in Deutschland lebt

Which means you have to live in Germany continuously and legally for 8 years. I see no exceptions based on type of legal basis. The only exceptions are exceptions that work in your favor and shorten the timespan.

Please note that having lived here continuously for 8 years is not the only requirement.

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  • §10 (1) StAG: A foreigner who has been legally ordinarily [gewöhnlichen] resident in Germany for eight years and.... The residence permits issued must not be temporarily in nature (unabsehbare Zeit (unpredictable time)). Some states (such as Sachsen and Bavaria) still consider a student resident permit to be issued for a specific timeframe (to the end of studies). I couldn't find a straightforward answer for NRW. Sep 13 '21 at 20:14

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