1.11.2009 | Von:

What characterises the current debate?

Exclusion as the main reason for refusing dual citizenship

For practical reasons or reasons of identity, the obligation to renounce their former citizenship may deter immigrants from applying for naturalisation in spite of their already being integrated into Germany. [4] In fact, any ban on multiple citizenship leads to the non-naturalisation of a large group of immigrants and thus to their exclusion from participatory rights in their country of permanent residence.

Acceptance of dual citizenship by naturalisations between 2004 - 2007Acceptance of dual citizenship by naturalisations between 2004 - 2007 Lizenz: cc by-nc-nd/2.0/de (bpb)
The third hypothesis states that for many critics it is not a matter of preventing dual citizenship as such, but of making naturalisation more difficult. [5] Such attempts at exclusion are not directed equally against all people of different origin, but first and foremost against the prototypical example of "the foreigner" described above. As the figure and the Table illustrate, there are large differences in the acceptance of multiple citizenship. The complete recognition of dual citizenship for EU citizens introduced in August 2007 caused no controversy. It can be assumed that the debate would have been a very different matter if the same acceptance were to be extended to Turkish citizens, for whom, for the time being, the ban persists. Thus, in 2007 only 17% of naturalised citizens of Turkish origin were able to retain their former passport. A tendency to exclude certain sections of the population also becomes apparent if we consider the arguments, outlined in the next section, that are levelled against the naturalisation of certain groups of people in discussions on dual citizenship.

Details of naturalisations for different groups of immigrants
Former citizenshipNumber of natural-
Proportion of the total natural-
Average quota of natural-
isations [6]
isations with dual citizen-
Average age at natural-
Average duration of residence at natural-
%in years
Annual Average 2003-2007Annual Average 2005-2007
EU-Member States [7]12.3349,70,686,236,218,4
Former Soviet Union13.35711,12,756,535,89,2
Russian Federation4.1903,52,366,036,79,6
Former Yugoslavia12.86811,01,652,828,716,1
All countries125.544100,01,848,330,515,1
Source: Naturalisations Statistics, Central Register of Foreigners, Federal Statistical Office


Firstly, if people lose their nationality they might be excluded from the right to own property or to inherit. Secondly, in such cases migrants may need a visa in order to travel back to their former homeland, and any definite or latent plans to settle there in their old age may be made significantly more difficult. In addition to pragmatic considerations, often identity-related questions make people refrain from giving up their earlier citizenship, since in many cases there is the feeling that by doing so they would betray their roots, cf. Hammar (1985:441); Green (2005:923); Böcker and Thränhardt (2006:124).
Opponents of dual nationality prophesy the dissolution of the nation through "mass naturalisations" and the associated redefinition or "substitution of the state people (Staatsvolk)" (Bandulet (1999)). As Böcker and Thränhardt (2006) show, as early as the 1960s the debate on reducing Turkish migrants put an end to the discussion about dual citizenship.
The quota of naturalisation reflects the proportion between naturalisations and foreign citizens reported by the Central Register of Foreigners in one year
2003: EU15; since 2004: EU25



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