How to get German Citizenship and retain (dual) US Citizenship

534 posts in this topic

4 hours ago, Darko_in_Berlin said:

and I WILL NOT REPLY to their comments any more. 

 

This is your 4th aggressive and whiny posting in a row, basically self talk. No one bothers to comment, so you shouting "I WILL NOT REPLY any more" is really bizarre. 

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6 hours ago, mako1 said:

88% of US Americans who took German citizenship in 2016 managed to keep their US citizenship.

https://www.destatis.de/DE/Publikationen/Thematisch/Bevoelkerung/MigrationIntegration/Einbuergerungen2010210167004.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

page 142 (only 1000 or so took citizenship).

 

That's an interesting read. Also telling, is on page 25, where it shows that only 869 Americans took German citizenship between 2009 and 2016. Relinquishment of US citizenship stopped being free some time in 2015.

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And then there are some people like Boris Johnson who had both EU and US citizenship from birth and can't wait to get rid of the US citizenship to avoid having to pay US tax on things like a profit from your main residence (which is something that neither the UK nor Germany tax): https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/08/boris-johnson-renounces-us-citizenship-record-2016-uk-foreign-secretary

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 I am low income and so is my German husband but we own two paid off homes and have two  Harz-IV renters (at the moment). My bottom line question is really if it is of any benefit to hurry up and get a dual citizenship? I am confused about the dual citizenship thing because at first it says here you can apply for dual citizenship based on low income (e.g. not being able to pay the fee to renounce US citizenship, this is now I think over 1,000 USD). But then, I am following kaffeeundmilch's story, where it seems he is needing to proove he has enough income in order to be Einburgered. His income on Arbeitslosgeld I is 1300 Euros. My husband and I combined earn about that each month. How can you on one hand be so poor you can have a dual status/or at least apply for it and yet be denied the German citizenship based on your lack of enough income? Am I missing something here?

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On 2/10/2018, 2:32:39, cybil said:

 I am low income and so is my German husband but we own two paid off homes and have two  Harz-IV renters (at the moment). My bottom line question is really if it is of any benefit to hurry up and get a dual citizenship? I am confused about the dual citizenship thing because at first it says here you can apply for dual citizenship based on low income (e.g. not being able to pay the fee to renounce US citizenship, this is now I think over 1,000 USD). But then, I am following kaffeeundmilch's story, where it seems he is needing to proove he has enough income in order to be Einburgered. His income on Arbeitslosgeld I is 1300 Euros. My husband and I combined earn about that each month. How can you on one hand be so poor you can have a dual status/or at least apply for it and yet be denied the German citizenship based on your lack of enough income? Am I missing something here?

It's a fine line. You need to be poor enough to make under $2350 a month, and also make enough to support yourself. The amount you need to make is enough to not qualify for Hartz IV, which can be calculated with this calculator http://www.hartziv.org/hartz-iv-rechner.html. The number after Anspruch at the bottom should be negative if you don't qualify for Hartz IV. 

 

Though this calculator may not work as well for freelancers, or possibly in general. I may be missing something, but it seems to do something weird with the Werbungskosten line sometimes, so if you use it as someone with income from sources other than employment it may be best to subtract all business expenses, health insurance, pension yourself to get the Netto number yourself. Which mostly seems to work properly, except then it randomly deducts around ~200-300 euros from income for no apparent reason. At first I thought that may be tax, but that's more than tax at those income levels. Does anyone have any idea how this actually works and what that extra deduction from netto is?

As example #s: If someone had brutto 2000 Euros income, 200 Euros Werbungskosten, 500 Euros health insurance+ pension, so 1300 total net pre-tax, I would expect income after tax to be ~1175 Euros. But the calculator says it is 854.67 Euros if 200 is listed under Werbungskosten and 1300 under netto, and 1000 Euros if nothing is listed under werbungskosten and 1300 under netto. I thought that netto is post-tax, so I'm struggling to figure out why they are deducting additional money from netto income.

 

Generally though, the formula is rent+health insurance+~416 euros (for a single person, this last number varies by year and is different for couples and people with children). And on top of making sure you are between those lines for an extended period of time, you need to also keep track of how currency exchange rates impact the upper limit in dollars.

 

There are still a couple questions I have on the exact calculation of the lower limit, which maybe someone in this thread has experience with-

1. The Hartz IV calculator includes heating costs in addition to rent, which I assume means gas + electric in most cases. But are people who don't have heating costs included in rent asked for heating costs in practice along with their citizenship application?

 

2. For freelancers, they presumably calculate these upper and lower limits based on profit. But I wonder how they handle a home office? This reduces total profit, but also covers a portion of rent in the process. So does the profit still need to be high enough to cover full rent + everything else post tax or just the part of rent not deducted as a business expense? 

 

3. Is the amount paid for a pension per month included in this formula? If someone were actually in a tough enough situation to need Hartz IV, I could see them not paying pension contributions for some time. But for citizenship I assume that they want people to be in a bit of a better financial situation than that and some sort of Rentenversicherung is considered part of a secure Lebensunterhalt.

Though a note here: while a pension is needed for citizenship, the requirements for total amount and payments seem to be more lax than for an NE in many cities, and tied to age+work situation rather than a single standard for everyone. Still not sure if these contributions are included in the lower-income-limit formula though.

 

Of course, to be safe it would be ideal to have an income that fell between those upper and lower bounds regardless of any of the above factors. But in practice there may not be lots of wiggle room between those bounds, so it is helpful to know what precisely the bounds are.

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An offer: If some of those unknowns in the formula can be figured out definitively based on regulations or (ideally multiple people's) actual experiences, I will build a calculator to help people determine eligibility for dual US-German citizenship, factoring in current currency exchange and tax rates etc. But I need more info on how certain financial factors are handled first, as well as what other financial unknowns would need to be considered. One other obvious one that comes to mind is how different places handle income of spouses, as that is very location based. We have some data on that on this forum that could be factored in, but we need more on more places.

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While Zeitbuch's idea is great and generous, I am afraid the devil is in the details. Any algorithm would need the rules for each state in Germany since they seem to vary. And to be thorough, the interpretation of the unzumutbare bedingungen exception rule by the locals, including (to name a few listed in this thread) rental income, ALG1, freelancer income...

The overall rules are clear: you don't have to give up your old citizenship if your monthly income is;

greater than 2500DM (approx 1200Euro)

but less than the cost of giving up old citizenship (2350dollars for US citizens).

And it probably helps if you can back up the request (for dual citizenship) with a solid reason in your application.

But this and other threads serve as a kind of database for peoples' success or attempts and costs for applying (255), withdrawing (63, 127, 190), etc.

Consolidating/summarizing this data would be useful.

Online the Bavarians have no more information on the unzumutbare bedingungen than the information here.

 

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7 hours ago, mako1 said:

While Zeitbuch's idea is great and generous, I am afraid the devil is in the details. Any algorithm would need the rules for each state in Germany since they seem to vary. And to be thorough, the interpretation of the unzumutbare bedingungen exception rule by the locals, including (to name a few listed in this thread) rental income, ALG1, freelancer income...

The overall rules are clear: you don't have to give up your old citizenship if your monthly income is;

greater than 2500DM (approx 1200Euro)

but less than the cost of giving up old citizenship (2350dollars for US citizens).

And it probably helps if you can back up the request (for dual citizenship) with a solid reason in your application.

But this and other threads serve as a kind of database for peoples' success or attempts and costs for applying (255), withdrawing (63, 127, 190), etc.

Consolidating/summarizing this data would be useful.

Online the Bavarians have no more information on the unzumutbare bedingungen than the information here.

 

Yes- I'm thinking that such a calculator would also highlight known uncertainties, such as states that there weren't anecdotes for, factors where we don't know how they are handled, etc. It would be a way to not only simplify the calculation, but to tell people the unknowns and possible issues based on anecdotes that directly pertain to them. And to encourage more discussion that could help expand coverage and sort out unknowns. There's a lot of variation in individual cases and different places, but some people on this thread have pointed out that it does ultimately come down to the income calculation. So while how this calculation is handled sometimes varies by situation and location, we can probably figure out some of the main ways it varies even if not all of them. 

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Thought experiment here...

 

My wife and I are both US citizens and are coming up on being eligible to naturalize here in Germany. There’s no chance we could retain our US passports through the income barrier, so if we wanted to naturalize, we’d have to renounce our American citizenship. This is pretty much a deal-breaker, at least for my wife, who wants to retain the ability to go back to the US at any time and stay there indefinitely should our situation bring us there.

 

Hypothetically, say only I renounce— would I still have the ability to live and work in the US through my wife? And would she easily be able to live and work in Europe through my future DE passport? I understand visas would still be necessary, but in my limited research, it seems quite easy for a spouse of a US citizen to get a visa and vice versa (at least here in Germany).

 

Our future plans are still up in the air, so l really would like to keep as many doors open as possible for us. Could this then be a solution for at least having the right to live in both places?

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not sure how much freedom of movement you're looking for - have you looked into the requirements for spousal visas in the US?

 

here is the first link I found - https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/family-immigration/immigrant-visa-for-spouse.html

 

the part that would make ME nervous is that the sponsoring spouse (ie your wife in this case) would have to be "domociled" in the US prior to petitioning for your visa.  That might be a bit sticky logistically?   I doubt she'd qualify for the exemption of having a temporary residence abroad, if you've been over here long enough to naturalize.

 

if you wanted to move back permanently it's probably worth the hassle, but I don't think it's so cut and dry if you want to have the freedom to flit back and forth between countries?  I'm interested to know if this would work, too - it's an interesting solution.

 

eta:  are you already clear on what rights you actually have under a spousal visa?  Meaning, I am personally not sure that means you are permanently entitled to stay in the US as it's not equivalent to a green card.  I had a friend in Boston who was French, her husband American, they had been married for 8 years or so before moving to the US and it was not quite "simple" for her to get all of her permits.  I distinctly recall writing a letter to the immigration office testifying that I sincerely believed they were a "real couple", which had to include explanations and examples of why I believed that to be so.  That may have been part of her green card application but I honestly can't remember.  Anyway it was quite a bit of work for them, and that all took place before the recent anti-immigrant sentiment that seems to be growing in the US.

 

I do think spousal visas are indeed easy in Germany, but I'm not so sure about the US.

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Thanks for your input, Lisa. I have been doing a bit more reading, and yeah it definitely does look like it’s not so easy to get a visa to live in the US. I guess I am also rather overestimating how many times I actually would be moving back and forth. It’s not like it’s really that easy to uproot your life every couple years...

 

I just know that if we do leave Germany in the future and go back to the US, my doorway back to Europe is then pretty much shut for good. That is a pretty depressing thought.

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At this point, it is fairly easy for a US citizen to bring a spouse to the US as long as the US citizen has enough assets/expected US income. If she doesn't/won't at the time of immigrating, someone else like a family member in the US can be the financial guarantor. The domicile issue mainly means that the US citizen will also have to move to the US, and the non-US citizen cannot move without the US citizen. Finally, I also say at this point, because laws change. However, I would like to say I am fairly certain that at least this immediate relative category will still remain an easy one, unlike bringing other relatives like parents or siblings, which, as we can see at the moment, is precarious.

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 A bit off topic from the last couple posts and regarding my personal situation again but here goes..

 

Has anyone had any experience with moving cities and states while your application was already handed in?
 
I handed my app in in July 2017. I spoke to the Einbürgerungsbehörde in Erfurt in December 2017, at that point they were working on Anträge from March/April 2017.
Today I spoke to them again and they are working on Anträge from April/May 2017. That means in 3 months time they haven't made very much progress. I'm assuming that means they haven't even looked at my application yet.
 
They told me once they reach my application they will write to me to submit up-to-date info on income etc and then if everything is fine (not even considering any issues with the dual citizenship aspect) it might take up to 3 months after them writing to me to finish all the info-gathering from all the other offices until I get granted citizenship.
 
So I'm wondering if I should make the move to a city (have ties to Berlin anyway) where it's been known to go quicker. Someone here posted she was finished within 3 months in the second half of 2017 in Schöneberg, Berlin.
 
Anyone have any immediate opinions on A) if in Berlin it's still quite quick and/or B ) if moving during the process could cause problems? I mean, the application probably hasn't even been looked at yet I'm assuming meaning a move probably wouldn't cause much problem if at all even.
 
It's quite important to me to get this taken care of ASAP due to the fact that jobs I am applying for in my profession mostly only allow employment with a European passport.
 
Thanks everyone... ?
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Just got asked to pay the 255€ fee after putting in my application at the beginning of Feb. They told me at the Ausländerbehörde in Darmstadt that it would take 6-12 months in total. I wonder if it will be done in time to vote in the Hessian Landtagswahlen at the end of October...Provided it gets accepted, of course. I heard it takes a few months to be put in the Wahlregister once you get citizenship.

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Hi Everyone!

I'm sure this has been discussed (sorry if I didn't find it in all the posts), but I thought I'd see if anybody else is going through this experience recently? I've lived here for 12 years (American). Last January (2017) I applied for dual citizenship. The Landratsamt LOST my initial application (actually, they just left it in a drawer and forgot about it for 5 months...  and I called to check on the status at some point and they realized their mistake. I could go on about this... but can't change it... I lost 5 months.) -so I had to update it and they claimed they sent it in May 2017. Long story short I'm still waiting 10 months later. I realize it can take 10-12 months. I'm just curious how long other people waited? At this point it just seems sooooooooooooo long and I feel like I will never receive anything? I have the chance to be "verbeamtet" and it would be greater sooner than later!!!!!!!

 

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27 minutes ago, norcal said:

Hi Everyone!

I'm sure this has been discussed (sorry if I didn't find it in all the posts), but I thought I'd see if anybody else is going through this experience recently? I've lived here for 12 years (American). Last January (2017) I applied for dual citizenship. The Landratsamt LOST my initial application (actually, they just left it in a drawer and forgot about it for 5 months...  and I called to check on the status at some point and they realized their mistake. I could go on about this... but can't change it... I lost 5 months.) -so I had to update it and they claimed they sent it in May 2017. Long story short I'm still waiting 10 months later. I realize it can take 10-12 months. I'm just curious how long other people waited? At this point it just seems sooooooooooooo long and I feel like I will never receive anything? I have the chance to be "verbeamtet" and it would be greater sooner than later!!!!!!!

 

I handed in my documents on 17Jan2017 (I am in Munich) and received my "Einbürgerungszusicherung" on 09Jun2017, so it took about 5 months. I had to then apply to renounce my Canadian citizenship (which took few months) before my German citizenship certificate was issued.

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On 13.3.2018, 13:51:40, herrdebonnaire said:
So I'm wondering if I should make the move to a city (have ties to Berlin anyway) where it's been known to go quicker. Someone here posted she was finished within 3 months in the second half of 2017 in Schöneberg, Berlin.
 
Anyone have any immediate opinions on A) if in Berlin it's still quite quick and/or B ) if moving during the process could cause problems?

 

In Berlin you have to apply in the Bezirk in which you live. In certain areas it takes months to even get an appointment (for example, Mitte). You don't just have to move to Berlin, you'd have to move to a Bezirk that is quick (which is kind of risky).

 

21 minutes ago, norcal said:

Long story short I'm still waiting 10 months later. I realize it can take 10-12 months. I'm just curious how long other people waited? At this point it just seems sooooooooooooo long and I feel like I will never receive anything? I have the chance to be "verbeamtet" and it would be greater sooner than later!!!!!!!

 

I've actually heard that it can take longer than a year in Munich.

 

On the other hand, have you mentioned it at work that you are applying for citizenship and it is being delayed? Maybe someone in your Dienststelle knows someone at the EBH (the Beamte seem to all know each other)? Or they would be willing to make an informal call...

 

1 minute ago, aries6 said:

I handed in my documents on 17Jan2017 (I am in Munich) and received my "Einbürgerungszusicherung" on 09Jun2017, so it took about 5 months.

 

How did you get yours in 5 months? I've heard that there are many waiting over a year in Munich!

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10 minutes ago, engelchen said:

How did you get yours in 5 months? I've heard that there are many waiting over a year in Munich!

 

How should I know?:P

I had the appointment and handed in all my documents. Everything was in order (i.e. nothing was missing or had to be "nachgereicht"). I was told it could take between 6-12 months, but I got my Einbürgerungszusicherung after 5 months.

I did have to wait 7 months to get the appointment to hand in all my documents. I was actually ready with everything in June 2016, but the first available appointment at that time was in Jan2017.

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@ norcal:
Just so you know you're not alone. 
I applied in Munich, submitted all my documents end of March 2017. As of now one year later I am still waiting for the Einbürgerungszusicherung. I can't have dual citizenship and so it will take some more months (even year) to renounce my current citizenship.
Oh and I also had to wait 7 months to get the appointment to hand in all documents.






 

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