Unsuccessful Test in Court – Turk Cannot Qualify for German Citizenship

Language qualifications are normally something of tests at schools or universities. Recently, a 41-year-old Turkish restaurant owner in Stuttgart had to prove for more than 90 minutes in the highest administrative court of Baden-Wurttemberg his command of the German language.


This person talked hardly interrupted and explained to the astonished judges, for his 13 year-old daughter he was willing to marry and look for a wife. This turned out to be very amusing for the judges: They presented him for a test a letter from a fictive female vacation acquaintance from Austria, which they had drafted. The naturalization applicant was to draft a response to this letter.

He wrote a letter with very many orthographic mistakes, that this unfamiliar lady would best come by train to Stuttgart. He would pick her up from the train station and is looking forward to her arrival. The judges did not accept this letter as a proof of “sufficient command” of the German language. He therefore was not eligible for German citizenship.

This leading judgment ruled that not only oral command but also written command is needed to have “sufficient command”. However, the judges obligated the administration to redecide this case reconsidering another rule in citizenship law. §11 StAG rules that a foreigner has no claim to be naturalized if he does not have “sufficient command”. This means the authorities can decide using discretion if the applicant for citizenship does not meet all requirements entitling him to obtain German citizenship. This presented case shows the applicant’s economical, social and personal situation give reason to naturalize him.

However clarifying this case might be, in attorneys’ circles this hearing was heavily criticized for the indecency of the judges approach to test the applicant’s command of German.

Published on the old CMS: 2006/8/2
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 4.753 reads

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