Student Research Projects

The Effect of Dual Citizenship on Germany's Democratic Legitimacy

Student Carolina Solms-Baruth
Department Political Science


In 1999, Germany had a population of 7.3 million foreign residents, which made up 8.9% of the country’s total population. In 2000, a new citizenship law was passed which made German citizenship more accessible for migrants; however, this citizenship reform made dual nationality virtually impossible to attain. For this reason, many of the foreign residents who have the ability to become German citizens have decided not to naturalize, fearing the loss of their prior nationality. Unfortunately, this has lead to major obstacles on the road to integration. Approximately one million people have naturalized between 2000 and 2006, but the foreign resident population in 2006 still remained around 6.7 million. Since the reform, children born in Germany with one parent having lived in the country for eight years can retain dual citizenship until their 23rd birthday. By this time they must choose between the two nationalities. How would the granting of dual-citizenship to migrants affect the legitimacy of democracy in Germany?