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

446 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,


I submitted my citizenship application yesterday (Berlin-Kreuzberg) and, like many others in this forum, petitioned to keep my US citizenship, invoking the "unzumutbare Bedingungen" argument. I'm self-employed, so the gross/net distinction gets to be murky, and the legal provision leaves room for interpretation. One immigration lawyer I contacted wouldn't even meet with me about it. Another basically just told me that there is, indeed, a gray area in my case but that my chances would be greatest if my income puts me somewhere hovering around Sozialhilfe level. He recommended I simply present my arguments from my perspective and involve a lawyer only if an appeal were to become necessary. Obviously, I'd like to avoid that to begin with.


So, I wrote up a detailed argument explaining that my gross profit (Reingewinn) isn't comparable to the gross monthly income (Brutto-Einkommen) of a salaried employee. If nothing else, my 'Vorsorgekosten' (health insurance + retirement) are double since I have to pay the 'Arbeitgeber' half as well (approx. 18.5% total). I also pay voluntarily into the state retirement scheme and private Rürup fund (again, including the 'Arbeitgeberanteil') because this was a) a condition of my application for permanent residence and b)) is to avoid poverty in old age (which you would think the state would applaud). This is another roughly 18.5%. And because I'm not entitled to any state disability coverage in the event of an accident etc., I also pay for a private disability policy. I also pointed out that building reserves is especially important when you're self-employed. In my situation, a gross profit of around EUR 3,000 would net me roughly what a salaried employee with a gross salary around the 'unzumutbar' cutoff of EUR 2,100 would have, give or take a hundred euros or so.


The case worker appeared unimpressed. After patiently reading through my explanation, she said she doubted I would succeed but that I was more than welcome to try. I mentioned that my average income had decreased significantly compared to the previous fiscal year. She said that could, in fact, work in my favor but that would be determined later when they start processing my application and review my current financial situation again based on the most recent 12 months of income. She still seemed confident that my business profit would be treated exactly the same as an employee's gross salary, which I find a little hard to believe.

My question is basically how much gross profit a freelancer can earn  -- especially one who has statutory health insurance -- for the bureaucrats to take this argument seriously. Thanks for your help.




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It has to be under the amount that the USA currently charges for nullifying US citizenship. I had netted 1950/mo. the year before (luckily a low income year, haha) and it went through fine. If the cutoff is 2100, you should show that the amount you were taxed on the year before averages out to under that amount. As to whether they judge the previous year as the only evidence, or if your income thus far THIS year plays a factor, I don't know... if last year's is too high, best wait it out, submit your taxes for 2020 in January, and give it a go as soon as you have your Steuerbescheid back. Only a suggestion, but before you do it based on 2020 income thus far you'd best find somebody with evidence that current year income would work too.


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