Germany brings in new rules to make it easier to get nationality

New laws came into force in Germany on Thursday making it easier for people living in the country to gain German citizenship without having to renounce their existing nationality.

The change is expected to prompt thousands of requests to become German – especially from Turkish people who moved to Germany for work.

"I expect 50,000 applications per year," Gökay Sofuoglu, chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany, told the news website RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland.

"People have now fully taken in that there will be dual citizenship. And many are now applying as quickly as possible."

The law, formally passed in March, comes nearly three years into the reign of the centre-left coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and the Free Democrats.

The reform will bring Germany into line with other European countries such as Italy, Sweden, Ireland and France who allow dual citizenship.

Before the changes, dual citizenship was possible only for European Union and Swiss nationals as well as children in a couple where one of the parents was from abroad.

Israelis and refugees threatened with persecution in their home country were also allowed to hold two passports.

Citizenship 'precious'

The opposition centre-right Christian Democratic Union has argued against any amendments to the laws.

Anyone in this category will not need to take a formal language or citizenship test.

Read more on RFI English

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