Berlin government wants to speed up German citizenship process

Two men recieve German citizenship documents in Berlin
Two men recieve their German citizenship documents in the Berlin district of Neukölln. Photo: picture-alliance/ dpa/dpaweb | Miguel Villagran
Berlin's returning SPD, Greens and Left government has laid out plans to grant more than double the current number of citizenships per year.

In their next term, the coalition plans to ramp up the number of citizenships granted to 20,000 per year – a significant jump from the current annual figure of 7,000.

To achieve the new annual targets, the parties say they will make the process of gaining citizenship both quicker and more digital for applicants.

Announcing the plans on Monday, the Social Democrat’s state party leader Franziska Giffey revealed that around 400,000 permanent residents of Berlin currently meet the conditions for obtaining German citizenship.

However, many face long waits due to the current speed of processing applications, which often varies depending on the district.

Giffey also hinted at Monday’s press conference that the next administration could also transfer responsibility for granting citizenships from the borough to the city level – though this has not yet been confirmed.

Such a move would help standardise waiting times for citizenship applications regardless of where people live within the city.

“We want a functioning city for everyone who lives here,” said Bettina Jarasch, state party leader of the Greens. “That also applies to those who don’t yet have a German passport, and those who have immigrated here.”

The news of the citizenship targets in Berlin comes as Germany’s likely next government thrashes out a coalition agreement that could see them liberalise citizenship and naturalisation law.

If coalition talks between the SPD, Greens and FDP succeed, the residency requirements for citizenship could be shortened in Germany – a change that could see a greater number of people become eligible for citizenship in the coming years.

In addition, the parties have laid out initial plans for ending the ban on dual citizenship.

READ ALSO: What Germany’s coalition plans mean for immigration and citizenship

Migration advisory council

In the course of their next term, the Berlin coalition also plans to set up a new council that will tasked with advising the government on the potential room for manoeuvre in German immigration law and migrants’ right of residence.

They also plan to agree a quota for accepting refugees in need of special protection, such as mothers with children. This number would be in the “low three-digit range”, according to Giffey.

Following the state elections on September 26th, the SPD, Left and Green parties have been in talks to form another so-called red-red-green coaliton, named after each of the parties’ colours.

On Friday, they will be thrashing out a shared policy on the hotly debated topic of affordable housing, the parties also revealed.

READ ALSO: Berlin’s super election day: What does it mean for the city’s housing shortage?


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