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How to get German Citizenship and retain (dual) US Citizenship
pianostar69 posted a topic in Visas/permitsIf you are a US citizen living in Germany for at least 8 years with a residence permit, have a net income of less than $2,350 per month, and have a B2 or higher German language certificate, you probably qualify for German citizenship and are exempt from having to give up your US citizenship. There has been much discussion on Toytown Germany and other sites with a lot of conflicting information on how a US citizen can get German citizenship and simultaneously retain US citizenship. I turned in my application for German citizenship (Antrag auf Einbürgerung) in July 2016 and today (4 January 2017) received the confirmation letter that my application was accepted — and I am not required to give up my US citizenship. I am a native-born US citizen, single (previously divorced), have lived in Berlin since 2004, and already have a permanent residence/work permit in Germany. Some of the hurdles required by the Bürgeramt included getting notarized translations of my birth certificate and divorce decree, but if you shop around you can find an inexpensive certified translator. You have to have a B2 language certificate (or higher) in German in order to qualify. You will also have to take the Citizenship Test (Einbürgerungstest), which I managed to pass with 100% and which, despite 300 or so possible questions, is pretty easy if you study up beforehand. The loophole that only in recent years made it possible for US citizens to get German citizenship without giving up their US citizenship (as Germany generally does not allow dual citizenship) is the fact that several years ago the US Government raised the price for annulling US citizenship to 2,350 dollars. German citizenship law (paragraph 12, line 1.3) considers it "unreasonable" (unzumutbar) to require anybody to have to pay more than 1,278 euros to give up their citizenship. You must furthermore earn less than the required annulment fee of 2,350 dollars per month in order to qualify for retaining your previous citizenship. Although the law stipulates you are not allowed to earn more than the annulment fee amount as gross (brutto) income, it appears -- at least for a freelancer like myself -- that they actually only look at net income, as the last requirement the Bürgeramt contacted me about was to provide them with a statement showing my net income (gross income minus expenses) from 1 January to 30 September 2016. The key statement in the application form (Antrag auf Einbürgerung) for retaining US citizenship is number 11 on page 6 (at least in the Neukölln application, there may be slight variances in other municipalities): Avoidance of multiple citzenship (Vermeidung von Mehrstaatigkeit). The statement reads: Ich bin bereit, meine bisherige(n) Staatsangehörigkeit(en) aufzugeben, und verpflichte mich, nach schriftlicher Zusicherung der Einbürgerung, die erforderlichen Schritte zu unternehmen. (Roughly: "I am prepared to give up my previous citizenship(s) and am obligated, after written confirmation of naturalization, to take the required steps in doing so.") Here you have to check NEIN.. Under reasons (Gründe), I wrote to see the attachment (siehe Anhang). In the attachment I stated the reason I checked NEIN to question 11 is: Roughly translated: I think it is unreasonable to have to give up US citizenship, because the US Government requires a fee of $2,350 to annul US citizenship. According to Paragraph 12, line 1.3 of German Citizenship Law, such a fee is to be considered an "unreasonable condition" for giving up previous citizenship. According to the guidelines of the German Office of the Federal Government for Migration, Refugees, and Integration, if such a fee is higher than 1,278 euros, as is the case here, and requires more than you earn gross in one month, which is again the case, it is not required to give up previous citizenship. Other sites state incorrectly that applying for a foreign citizenship will automatically annul US citizenship because it shows the intention of giving up US citizenship; in addition to this statement being wrong from a legal standpoint – it is only possible to give up US citizenship by formally renouncing it at specific US Embassies and paying the $2,350 fee — by answering NO to the above statement on the application you are stating in no uncertain terms that you have no intention of giving up US citizenship. I would encourage any US citizen who has lived in Germany for 8 years or more and earns less than $2,350 monthly to go down to your local Bürgeramt as soon as possible and apply for German (dual) citizenship. If you don't have the B2 German certificate yet, then maybe it's about time you get that together ; ) The process requires some paperwork and getting a lot of personal documents together, but all in all it has cost me less than 500 euros and maybe 10 days of work and running around. I wish all of you the best of luck!