town hall
Procedure descriptions

Apply for naturalisation as a foreigner without a naturalisation entitlement

Naturalisation into German citizenship without a specific entitlement can be considered if there is a public interest in naturalisation.

You can apply for this "discretionary naturalisation" if you do not meet the requirements for naturalisation with a claim to naturalisation or for co-naturalisation.

Responsible department

the naturalisation authority

The naturalisation authority is

  • if you live in a city district: the city administration
  • if you live in a rural district: the Landratsamt (district administration office)



  • You have been legally resident in Germany for at least eight years without interruption.
    Your stay must be of a permanent nature. The period is reduced to seven years if you have successfully participated in an integration course. You must prove this with a certificate from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.
    In the case of special integration achievements, the time limit can be reduced to six years.
  • Your identity and nationality have been clarified.
  • You and your family members lead an independent household in Germany. The main focus of your life is in Germany.
  • You are 16 years of age or older at the time of naturalisation: You are committed to the free democratic basic order of the Basic Law. This also includes a declaration against anti-constitutional or extremist aspirations.
  • You finance the livelihood of yourself and your dependants without being entitled to public funds (e.g. social welfare, basic income support for job-seekers). Receiving child benefit or a pension from a German institution does not prevent naturalisation. If you receive other benefits to which you are currently entitled for less than one year, e.g. unemployment benefit I, parental allowance, maintenance payments, sickness benefit, housing benefit, educational assistance, a prognosis decision is required. This decision refers to whether you will be able to secure your livelihood in the future without receiving such benefits.
  • You give up your previous nationality. If you have the nationality of another member state of the European Union or Switzerland, you can retain this nationality. The Nationality Act allows multiple nationality by way of exception if certain conditions are met.
  • You have sufficient knowledge of the German language. You meet the requirements of the language examination for the Zertifikat Deutsch B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or have acquired sufficient knowledge of German through corresponding school attendance or school-leaving qualifications.
  • They have knowledge of the legal and social order and living conditions in Germany. You can prove this either by successfully passing a naturalisation test or by presenting your school-leaving certificate from a German general school (at least Hauptschule). The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees provides further information on the naturalisation test. Addresses and dates of the adult education centres in Baden-Württemberg where you can take the naturalisation test can be found on the pages of the adult education centres.
  • You have integrated yourself into German living conditions, i.e. you accept the elementary principles of the social and legal order applicable in Germany.
  • You are exempt from punishment.
    Not to be taken into consideration: Educational measures or disciplinary measures according to the Juvenile Court Act, fines of up to 90 daily rates, imprisonment of up to three months which have been suspended and remitted after expiry of the probationary period.
    Convictions for an unlawful anti-Semitic, racist, xenophobic or other inhuman act are never disregarded.

Naturalisation is ruled out if there are tangiblethere are factual indications that you are pursue or support anti-constitutional or extremist endeavours, or have done so in the past and cannot credibly show that you have turned away from the previous pursuit or support of such endeavours.


You must submit a written application for naturalisation. You can obtain the application form from the competent office.

You are obliged to cooperate in the further procedure. If criminal proceedings are currently being conducted against you, the competent office will await their conclusion.

It will carry out the necessary investigations and involve

  • the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution
  • the police
  • the Social Welfare Office
  • the Federal Employment Agency and
  • other offices.

If all the prerequisites for naturalisation are fulfilled except for the necessary renunciation of your previous nationality, you will receive a temporary confirmation of naturalisation.

You must then apply for renunciation of your previous nationality. As soon as you provide proof of this, the naturalisation authority will issue you with the naturalisation certificate.



Required documents

  • valid identity document (passport, travel document or similar)
  • Proof of civil status
  • Photograph
  • Proof of income, assets, health and long-term care insurance as well as sufficient old-age provision

The naturalisation authority responsible for you may require further documents.

Seek advice from the naturalisation authority about a naturalisation procedure at an early stage.


  • per naturalised person: EUR 255.00
  • for minors to be naturalised who have no income of their own: EUR 51.00

Note: If you withdraw your application or if the competent authority rejects it, the fee is reduced.

Additional costs may be incurred for

  • for the submission of civil status certificates,
  • for proof of civic knowledge or language skills,
  • for the renunciation of the previous nationality.


Special regulations for certain groups of persons

Facilitations may be considered for the following groups of persons under certain conditions:

  • for stateless persons who did not cause their statelessness themselves
  • for homeless foreigners pursuant to § 1 of the Act on the Legal Status of Homeless Foreigners in the Federal Territory
  • for holders of a travel document for refugees
  • in the case of reparation for National Socialist injustice to persons affected if they are not entitled to naturalisation
  • for former German nationals, descendants of German nationals or former German nationals
  • for German-speaking applicants from Austria, Liechtenstein and other German-speaking areas (e.g. Switzerland)

Note: There are many exceptions and special features to these basic naturalisation requirements which cannot be described here.
The naturalisation authority responsible for your place of residence will advise you on these.

Release note

  • 27.10.2022 Innenministerium Baden-Württemberg


Bürger- und Standesamt (Bürgeramt)
Grabenstraße 15
89522 Heidenheim an der Brenz
Fax (0 73 21) 3 23-33 32