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Getting married in DE with dual nationality

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Hello,

 

The future wife and I have decided to get hitched. She is a German. I am an Irish and, more recently, also a German citizen. My intention was to get married as an Irish citizen, not for any particular reason but nationality and sense of Heimat don't always have to make sense, do they? So, off we went to the Standesamt and presented our documents. The lady there checked them all, including the document (Meldebestätigung) which stated that I am deutsch/irisch. We were then instructed to get a certificate that attested my capacity to marry. This set us back 100EUR and several hours of waiting around the embassy. Then, to my annoyance, when we went there again today with all of the documents, a different member of staff decided that I was German, that this nationality has precedence and that I have no choice in the matter.

 

The very nice chap in the Embassy had not come across this situation and could not really help too much.

Does anyone have an idea of the legalities or at least a hint of where I might begin to search to find these? Are dual German-something else citizens obliged to marry as Germans? Is there not an EU free-movement argument to be made that I should be entitled to decide which nationality applies.

 

Many thanks,

kili

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Have you asked the head of the department at the Standesamt? Their office should have this kind of information available, although not necessarily at their fingertips.

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Hi,

 

Thanks for your reply Sarabyrd.

 

We dealt this morning with the Amtsleiter and he was adamant that German law or rather my German nationality takes preference in this instance.

He was also adamant, however, that any children would have to take my name according to Irish law. Not strictly related, I know, but there is in fact no Irish law on this. It is common law and his big red book of rules was not accurate on this, so maybe you can understand why I am a little bit skeptical of his knowledge on these issues.

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Then, to my annoyance, when we went there again today with all of the documents, a different member of staff decided that I was German, that this nationality has precedence and that I have no choice in the matter.

That is true. German Beamter generally know the law, but only for typical situations. In non-standard cases like yours they tend to make mistakes, so to avoid "annoyance" you should have familiarized with the law yourself.

 

On German land you are German. On Irish land (Embassy included) you are Irish. So, forget about Irish embassy in Germany for anything but renewing your ID/passport.

 

You cannot marry in Germany as Irish and you cannot marry as German in Ireland.

 

There is no law about dual citizens in Germany, but StAG clearly defines German as someone who has German nationality. Those who do not have German nationality are foreigners (also according to other laws). So, dual German-Anything citizen is treated as German citizen, so only German law applies to OP's marriage.

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Thanks for your reply. I appreciate with the benefit of hindsight that it would have been wiser to explicitly point out the fact that I am a dual citizen but as it was stated on the forms that we submitted I did expect that the Beamtin ought to have made us aware of that.

 

I accept the point you are making about being German in Germany and Irish in Ireland but does that then mean that I de facto relinquish my second nationality when I am in the other country? It still leaves me wondering about free movement within the EU. I suppose the situation would be different if I were dual Irish, German, trying to marry in France. Then I could probably choose the nationality that applies. Correct?

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I accept the point you are making about being German in Germany and Irish in Ireland but does that then mean that I de facto relinquish my second nationality when I am in the other country? It still leaves me wondering about free movement within the EU. I suppose the situation would be different if I were dual Irish, German, trying to marry in France. Then I could probably choose the nationality that applies. Correct?

 

Yes, correct. You can only enjoy additional benefits of dual nationality in a third country.

 

I didn't understand you question about the EU. You have two EU citizenships, both give you a right to free movement. In addition to this you have a right of indefinite unconditional stay in two countries, while in other EU countries the right to free movement is subject to conditions.

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Yes, correct. You can only enjoy additional benefits of dual nationality in a third country.

 

Not necessarily. It depends on what the countries in which you hold citizenship decide. For example, the US will not assist dual nationals in a third country if they entered that third country with a non-US passport. Of course that has to be somehow verified but could if the country in question requires a visa.

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I second the advice about the Standesamt. I am currently in the process of getting the documents together for our marriage. I'm German / Australian and my fiancé Brazilian. Regular email contact with the Standesamt has been the only way to navigate the maze!

 

I would have thought it was less a question of which nationality you want to apply, but which set of requirements you are able to comply with. The main document I had to provide (being born in Germany) was the extract from the birth register (Abschrifft vom Geburtenbuch) which shows that I am not married. If you were born in Ireland I assume you can't do this, even if you are now a German citizen. Did the staff member who told you the German requirements take precedence explain what you needed to do?

 

It seems to always boil down to proving you are capable (geschaeftsfahig) and not currently married. As the standesamt explained it to me, if you don't have the abschrifft, you need an Ehefaehigkeitszeugniss from your home country, which sounds like exactly the document you got from the embassy. (Count yourself lucky - Brazil does not issue such a document, which means you need to apply for a 'Befreiung' from the requirement to have it, which involves sworn notary statements, legalizations from the consulate and a 3-8 week wait while the court considers your request)

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The citizenship applies to the country your in and who's citizenship one has.

 

I was drafted in Germany because of that (not that I minded) but my dad thought it was total legal to switch nationality with each step I took. My brother took his advice and was eventually charged with AWOL.

Both are thick heads to this day... <_<

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I am almost certain the thing about the names is wrong. When you fill out the forms for the marriage you can choose between following German law, in which case you can choose between sharing the husband's name, sharing the wife's name and each keeping your names, or following a foreign Namensrecht, in which case you can simply write down what you would like the same to be. (I gather this can be challenged if the name does not follow any law). With the children I am certain you will have the same choices.

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The point about the EU is that citizens, dual or otherwise, have the right to free movement. By treating me as a German only, notwithstanding the fact that I have another EU nationality, the argument might be made that it amounts to restricting the scope of the Irish nationality. I am afforded the full scope of rights as a German living in Germany but I am prevented from exercising my right as an Irish citizen. I realise that this argument might seem a little facetious or contrived but I am just wondering what the logic is for preventing this.

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The difficulty or "annoyance" as I see it, Sampa, is that I can comply with both sets of requirements.

As a German, I simply needed a Meldebescheinigung (stating that I am single), birth cert (albeit an Irish one) and my I.D.

As an Irish, I needed all of the above and the certificate de coutume or Ehefähigkeitszeugnis, which we procured once the lady in the Amt told us this is what we needed.

 

Off topic: Just on the names issue, I am sure that we can apply Irish law on this and Irish law allows children to have double-barreled names. The Embassy is willing to certify this, as the useful link provided by Sarabyrd states. (Although I wouldn't necessarily agree with the sentiments in that discussion that all those with such names are pretentious arrogant ahems! ;-))

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Ah, I see your point is more philosophical than technical. For what its worth, I don't really see which of your rights as an Irish citizen you are being denied by being allowed to marry without producing an extra certificate.

Also, I'm not really sure there is such a thing as marrying as an Irish person, or as a German. Regardless of citizenship, you have to meet the same requirements to marry in Germany (be unmarried, old enough, opposite gender to the person you wish to marry etc); the documentation is just the way the Standesamt asks you to prove that you meet the requirements. I think your rights are identical.

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I am afforded the full scope of rights as a German living in Germany but I am prevented from exercising my right as an Irish citizen. I realise that this argument might seem a little facetious or contrived but I am just wondering what the logic is for preventing this.

 

The logic is that in Germany, you are only a German citizen. In Ireland, you are only an Irish citizen. Anywhere else in the world you get to choose. The legalities are based on international public law.

 

For example, even though you also have Irish citizenship, if you were married to a non-EU citizen, your spouse would fall under the laws for the spouse of a German citizen and you would not have been able to take advantage of the lower requirements for the spouse of an EU citizen.

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I accept the point you are making about being German in Germany and Irish in Ireland but does that then mean that I de facto relinquish my second nationality when I am in the other country? It still leaves me wondering about free movement within the EU. I suppose the situation would be different if I were dual Irish, German, trying to marry in France. Then I could probably choose the nationality that applies. Correct?

 

The general principle is that you are subject to the laws of whichever country you happen to be living in. When you move to another country, you don't carry with you the laws of your country of origin.

 

That said, if you are a foreigner (i.e., not a German citizen) living in Germany, then your foreign citizenship may partly determine some aspects of the family law applicable to you, especially those regarding marriage, conditions for divorce, rules regarding the names of children, etc. Obviously, this does not apply in your case since you're (also) German.

 

This German approach of taking citizenship into account is rather exceptional, though, and I don't think there are many other European countries that follow this practice. Across the pond in the US and Canada, things are much simpler: the laws that apply are the laws of the state/province you are currently a resident of, period. Whether you are originally from a different state/province or from another country altogether makes no difference.

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The point about the EU is that citizens, dual or otherwise, have the right to free movement. By treating me as a German only, notwithstanding the fact that I have another EU nationality, the argument might be made that it amounts to restricting the scope of the Irish nationality. I am afforded the full scope of rights as a German living in Germany but I am prevented from exercising my right as an Irish citizen. I realise that this argument might seem a little facetious or contrived but I am just wondering what the logic is for preventing this.

 

I don't know which rights are you referring to, but are you prevented from moving freely within Germany and the EU? No.

 

Do you know that you do have more rights as a EU citizen in Germany, in particular a right to keep Irish citizenship after getting German?

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As far as I understood it, if you have a duel or triple citizenship, in a country that you’re in it only matters if you are a citizen of that country. That means, in Germany for all concerns and purposes you are German and German law applies to you. In Irelands, you are Irish and Irish law applies to you. But I am not a lawyer so maybe I misunderstood something when collecting all my passports :)

 

As it happens I am getting married next week and similarly to you, I am a German citizen. So, since in Germany, I am just German, they only wanted to have the exact same documents as they would want from any German:

1. Proof od identity (Ausweiss, Passport etc.)

2. Original of your birth certificate. If not in English than with a certified translation or in an international form.

3. Original of any previous marriage certificates. If not in German or English, then with an appostille and a certified translation.

4. Original of any divorce judgements.

5. Address confirmation from Meldeamt (they get it themselves online).

 

Once the Standesbeamte decides that all documents are all right, they send you to a different Standesbeamte to register your intent of marriage. This is by appointment only. You basically have your documents checked again, decide on a last name, sign a bunch of documents and you’re good to go.

 

If one of you decides to take on the partner’s last name after the wedding, you declare that intent at the registration appointment and once a confirmation comes back from Standesamt with your wedding date, 10 weeks before the planned wedding date you can apply for a new ID and passport. They will be given to you once you bring the wedding certificate.

 

Overall, the process is a major pain in the neck if you compare it with an American standard but once you collect all necessary documents, everything is straightforward and simple :)

 

I can recommend a very good wedding planner around Freiburg :)

 

Good luck!

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As has been said, when you're in Germany, you'll be considered German only. Otherwise, there'd be mayhem when dual citizens decide to choose which citizenship to exercise.

 

Also as been mentioned, fly to NY for a week, get married (in 2 days with just your passports), and be done with it. You'll also get a little break. You can choose whichever passport you like.

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I am almost certain the thing about the names is wrong. When you fill out the forms for the marriage you can choose between following German law, in which case you can choose between sharing the husband's name, sharing the wife's name and each keeping your names, or following a foreign Namensrecht, in which case you can simply write down what you would like the same to be. (I gather this can be challenged if the name does not follow any law). With the children I am certain you will have the same choices.

 

Not true, or at least we didn't manage it. The Beamter at the Standsamt in Munich were clear that since I'm also German only German law applies - which means that against our original wishes my wife/son also got my mothers maiden name, since it's part of my name as stated in my German passport. It's stupid too, since my father's name is already a double name, which means my wife/son now have three last names instead of the German Ideal of one. Hurray for idiots, and luckily we don't give a damn.

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