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Is your income enough for German citizenship? Here’s how to find out

Income for German citizenship. Life in Germany. One of the key requirements to qualify for a German passport is being able to support yourself financially. This can be confusing because many people think there is a specific income amount needed. However, the law is more flexible. Section 10 of the nationality law says that applicants must show they “can support themselves and their dependents without claiming benefits.” This means your income should be enough so that you are not relying on state help, like long-term unemployment benefits. Here’s how to find out if your income is high enough for German citizenship.

What income do you need to be able to obtain German citizenship?

According to Fabian Graske, an immigration lawyer, around €1,500 gross per month for a single person is usually enough to live on in Germany. However, determining if your income is sufficient for citizenship involves several factors that the caseworker at the naturalization office will also consider. Here are some important questions to ask yourself:
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How high is the cost of living?

In Germany, the cost of living is very different from one area to another. For example, someone living in Munich needs a lot more money for rent or a mortgage than someone living in cheaper cities like Halle or Leipzig. So, it’s important to consider if what you earn is enough to cover basic living expenses in the city where you live.

Are you alone or with family?

If you’re single with no children, the authorities may be more flexible with a lower-than-average income. However, if you have dependents like children or a non-working spouse, you’ll need to ensure your income can support the entire family. Any income your spouse earns will also be considered, so if your partner supports you, the authorities will take this into account as well.

Do you have a stable job?

When applying for citizenship, the security of your employment contract is crucial. Having a long-term contract and having passed your trial period puts you in a stronger position compared to someone still in a probationary period. This doesn’t mean you can’t apply for citizenship if you’ve just started a new job, but the authorities might delay processing your application until you’ve completed your trial period and secured a long-term contract.

A similar rule applies to those applying for Arbeitslosengeld I (ALG I) or unemployment insurance. While receiving these benefits doesn’t disqualify you from citizenship, it might delay your application until you secure stable employment.
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Are you relying on social security payments to get by?

A key aspect of German naturalization law is determining if you will rely heavily on the welfare system. While everyone needs help sometimes, claiming benefits like long-term unemployment benefit (Bürgergeld) or housing benefit (Wohngeld) can prevent you from participating in the naturalization process. It can also make it harder to qualify in the future. Fortunately, this does not apply to all types of state support – benefits like Kindergeld, ALG I, and Bafög do not count, according to

How old are you?

Age can influence how financial stable you are in Germany, though it’s not easy to measure precisely. Young individuals starting their careers are considered to have good earning potential, so authorities might be more lenient with their current income. Conversely, older individuals nearing retirement may face stricter scrutiny. It’s important to demonstrate sufficient retirement savings or other forms of future security, like homeownership or substantial savings, to strengthen your application.