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

450 posts in this topic

9 hours ago, qzen said:

 

First of all, thanks everyone for posting about this. I'm an American who's been in Berlin 7 years next month and am coming up on my final visa renewal in the next few weeks. I was planning to go for permanent residency as the best-I-could-hope-for and just learned about the possibility of dual citizenship via a different argument, something about needing to retain your original citizenship because your work is in both countries. (I haven't been able to find more details on that information yet, but given the source, I'd be confident it's accurate and can post more when I get it!)

 

My plan has been permanent residency now, then apply for dual citizenship after my 8 year anniversary here (June 2018). But what's this about 7 years with integration course?! I did that when I first arrived, so does that mean I can apply for citizenship now and use this too-expensive argument to go for it now already? I'm definitely not earning over their limit despite freelance contracts in various countries, so I could use that loophole...

 

According to the information on the local website, I would need a min. of eight years of residency AND a permanent residency permit to apply for citizenship. If no one can confirm this, I'll just try to speak to them in person ASAP and see what they say about my personal situation, I guess.

 

From what I've read, you don't need permanent residency to apply for citizenship. A NE is one of the residence permits that qualifies you to apply, but it looks like most work permits also are ok. I'd be interested in hearing if applying without an NE works in practice though.

 

I think you should be able to apply after 7 years. I saw a Reddit post from someone who got dual citizenship using the too-expensive argument with the reduced time requirement for spouses of Germans. So I would guess that it would work with the 7 year requirement too. But again, I'd be interested in hearing about how this works in practice. One other nuance to the 7 year option that I'm wondering about is if just passing the exam for the language portion of the integration course + doing the shorter integration course part qualifies. I saw something on info4alien that seemed to indicate that just passing the exam may not be enough to get this time reduction?

 

If you get more info on retaining citizenship due to working in both countries, please do post it. I'd definitely be interested in hearing about how that works.

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Well, considering my current visa expires June 15th, I'm still going for permanent residency as the immediate solution/extension (Daueraufenthalt-EU not Niederlassungserlaubnis, as the conditions suit me better), which means one more gloriously early morning at the Ausländerbehörde, and I'll meet with the person at my Bürgeramt ASAP to suss out what I'll need for citizenship according to her/him.

 

Can you clarify what you mean by the shorter vs longer/other immigration course? The way I did it, I took language classes and completed the B1 exam at the end, then took an "Orientierungskurs" and the test for that. This was completed already in 2012. I'm not entirely sure what it is that you're saying earns a reduced requirement, as I'd not come across that option before.

 

Thanks! And yes, I'll post about the work region argument as soon as I learn more.

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On 1/4/2017, 3:03:54, pianostar69 said:

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.

 

Would you mind sharing the contact information for the translator you used? (Thank you so much for posting about this!)

 

Also, it looks like you only need B1 certificate according to https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/318998/.

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1 hour ago, qzen said:

Well, considering my current visa expires June 15th, I'm still going for permanent residency as the immediate solution/extension (Daueraufenthalt-EU not Niederlassungserlaubnis, as the conditions suit me better), which means one more gloriously early morning at the Ausländerbehörde, and I'll meet with the person at my Bürgeramt ASAP to suss out what I'll need for citizenship according to her/him.

 

Can you clarify what you mean by the shorter vs longer/other immigration course? The way I did it, I took language classes and completed the B1 exam at the end, then took an "Orientierungskurs" and the test for that. This was completed already in 2012. I'm not entirely sure what it is that you're saying earns a reduced requirement, as I'd not come across that option before.

 

Thanks! And yes, I'll post about the work region argument as soon as I learn more.

By shorter integration course I mean the Orientierungskurs component (sorry for the vague reference, had forgotten the name). According to some posts on info4alien, simply taking the exams is not enough to meet the 7 year requirement and one needs to actually take part in the course itself. It's unclear to me if taking the Orientierungskurs + B1 exam is enough, or if one also needs to take part in the German course. I would hope that it is enough to just take the Orientierungskurs, and I haven't looked into it much, but it's one of the things I have in my head as a possible unknown in the process.

 

And yes, when I say NE I mean also (and primarily) the Daueraufenthalt-EU. From what I understand, this is a specific sort of NE. If you have all the requirements met for an NE already (including pension), that could definitely make sense to apply. In my case, I've been looking into if it is possible to get citizenship without an NE because a NE requires a pension and it looks like citizenship does not.

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7 minutes ago, Zeitbuch said:

By shorter integration course I mean the Orientierungskurs component (sorry for the vague reference, had forgotten the name). According to some posts on info4alien, simply taking the exams is not enough to meet the 7 year requirement and one needs to actually take part in the course itself. It's unclear to me if taking the Orientierungskurs + B1 exam is enough, or if one also needs to take part in the German course. I would hope that it is enough to just take the Orientierungskurs, and I haven't looked into it much, but it's one of the things I have in my head as a possible unknown in the process.

 

And yes, when I say NE I mean also (and primarily) the Daueraufenthalt-EU. From what I understand, this is a specific sort of NE. If you have all the requirements met for an NE already (including pension), that could definitely make sense to apply. In my case, I've been looking into if it is possible to get citizenship without an NE because a NE requires a pension and it looks like citizenship does not.

 

Ok, now what do you mean by "the German course" you'd need if the Orientierungskurs is not enough? Einbürgerungstest? Or just a language course that preps you for the B1 test?

 

VERY interesting about the pension info. You're right, though; I don't see it here as one of the things needed to qualify: https://www.berlin.de/ba-friedrichshain-kreuzberg/politik-und-verwaltung/aemter/amt-fuer-buergerdienste/staatsangehoerigkeitsbehoerde/artikel.165501.php.

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2 minutes ago, qzen said:

 

Ok, now what do you mean by "the German course" you'd need if the Orientierungskurs is not enough? Einbürgerungstest? Or just a language course that preps you for the B1 test?

 

VERY interesting about the pension info. You're right, though; I don't see it here as one of the things needed to qualify: https://www.berlin.de/ba-friedrichshain-kreuzberg/politik-und-verwaltung/aemter/amt-fuer-buergerdienste/staatsangehoerigkeitsbehoerde/artikel.165501.php.

By the German course I mean the official 6-month one connected with the integration course. It may be ok with just the Orientierungskurs though- I'm not sure. Probably best to ask on info4alien as this is something they would likely know (or search there for posts about the integration course, the answer may already be there, I just saw a post in passing that seemed to indicate that just the exams weren't enough).

 

And yes, I'd really like to confirm somehow that a pension isn't required. It definitely looks like it isn't required, though there is a section on the citizenship app that asks about a pension, and I'm sure it is useful for proving a secure living situation (especially with the too-expensive loophole for retaining dual citizenship). But if a pension isn't required for citizenship in practice as well as theory, it seems like it may be the best route for me not to apply for an NE and to wait a year and apply for citizenship. But I still have a few years to figure that out.

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Well, I got a letter today from Kreis Pinneberg in Schleswig Holstein. My application was approved and my Einbürgerung ceremony is on the 20th of June!

 

Here's my info that may be relevant for some of you:

-7 years in Germany + Integrationskurs (the six month language course + Orientierungskurs)

-Received Niederlassungserlaubnis four years ago, no one asked me about a pension.

-I earn under $2350 a month. I work part time. If I were to work full time, I'd earn more than that.

-My German husband earns quite a lot of money. I had to report his income, but it must not have counted.

-I didn't have to have anything translated. I was born, went to university and married in the US.

-I was required to report that I have a mortgage, but no questions about investments, savings etc.

-Employed in Germany since 2011, unbefristeter Arbeitsvertrag since 2012, I believe.

-As grounds for keeping my US citizenship, I copied pretty much word for word the reason Pianostar69 gave somewhere in this thread (thank you :D).

 

I hope this helps. As I posted before, I asked both in Hamburg (because I figured they would have more experience) and in Schleswig-Holstein (because I live there) about my eligibility before I applied. According to the rules in Hamburg, I'd be SOL (because part of my husband's income would count). But in Schleswig-Holstein, they only counted my income. So it appears that the rules are different in each Bundesland. I was very clear when I called that I wasn't going to bother if I was throwing 250+ Euros away, and everyone I spoke to was helpful. 

 

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Congratulations @Wackeldackel! That is great news.

 

I had some wind taken out of my sails when I went to the Bürgeramt to start the process today. Successful completion of the Integrations-/Orientierungskurse do make you eligible at 7 years already, and my agent was quite nice, but the advisor of my agent (agent is new) was pretty adamant I'd have to give up my American citizenship (that the many Americans that go through the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg office in Berlin want to keep it but must renounce it). I told her I wasn't sure about that because of the cost involved, and she suggested that were it cheaper to return to the US to give it up, I'd have to. I confirmed with American Citizen Services at the US Embassy in Berlin today by email that the cost for renunciation is indeed $2,350 and furthermore that it's not possible to do that process from the US; "In Germany, all renunciation cases are handled by the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt am Main." (https://de.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/citizenship-services/?_ga=2.25633149.1766241755.1495453848-146402945.1490770475) I still think I can make the argument re: cost, but I'm also investigating investing in a lawyer to side-step this potential road-block of a woman.

 

I did confirm that one doesn't need a permanent visa to apply for citizenship, but they did ask me for confirmation about Rentenversicherung. This last point seemed like there could have been some wiggle room, though, because she was just going down a list, crossing off what I'd need to provide. Maybe there's a way around that, but I meet the requirements, so I won't be investigating it further.

The other point to mention is that my Integrationskurs certificate counts for the reduced time but is otherwise invalid. I guess there's a new version of the test since 2012 that they want me to take. Then there's an Einbürgerungstest that costs 25€, and there's a prep course that you're not required to take (but passing the test will effect your eligibility). I'm not clear on the costs for the course yet.

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5 minutes ago, qzen said:

Congratulations @Wackeldackel! That is great news.

 

I had some wind taken out of my sails when I went to the Bürgeramt to start the process today. Successful completion of the Integrations-/Orientierungskurse do make you eligible at 7 years already, and my agent was quite nice, but the advisor of my agent (agent is new) was pretty adamant I'd have to give up my American citizenship (that the many Americans that go through the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg office in Berlin want to keep it but must renounce it). I told her I wasn't sure about that because of the cost involved, and she suggested that were it cheaper to return to the US to give it up, I'd have to. I confirmed with American Citizen Services at the US Embassy in Berlin today by email that the cost for renunciation is indeed $2,350 and furthermore that it's not possible to do that process from the US; "In Germany, all renunciation cases are handled by the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt am Main." (https://de.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/citizenship-services/?_ga=2.25633149.1766241755.1495453848-146402945.1490770475) I still think I can make the argument re: cost, but I'm also investigating investing in a lawyer to side-step this potential road-block of a woman.

 

I did confirm that one doesn't need a permanent visa to apply for citizenship, but they did ask me for confirmation about Rentenversicherung. This last point seemed like there could have been some wiggle room, though, because she was just going down a list, crossing off what I'd need to provide. Maybe there's a way around that, but I meet the requirements, so I won't be investigating it further.

The other point to mention is that my Integrationskurs certificate counts for the reduced time but is otherwise invalid. I guess there's a new version of the test since 2012 that they want me to take. Then there's an Einbürgerungstest that costs 25€, and there's a prep course that you're not required to take (but passing the test will effect your eligibility). I'm not clear on the costs for the course yet.

 

It sounds like she didn't really know what she was talking about there. The cost to renounce or relinquish citizenship is the same no matter where you renounce, as you know. I don't know if you really need a lawyer yet, if the law is on your side the burden is on them to prove it isn't.

 

Regarding Rentenversicherung, I wasn't asked about it, but considering I've been working here for six years, I just became eligible for it recently. It was implied through my paperwork, I suppose, but I don't remember there being any specific requirement.

 

The Integrationskurs counts to reduce your time in Germany, from 8 years to 7. I also had to show that I had up to B2 level German, forgot to mention that! The Integrationskurs only tests to B1, so you may want to just take the B2 exam. I finished the Integrationskurs and exam in September 2010. I think I had B2 finished in January 2011 if my memory is correct. So maybe they meant the Integrationskurs was okay to reduce your time living in Germany, but it's not enough to prove adequate language skills.

 

The Einbürgerungstest was super easy, I can tell from your writing that you don't need a course. There's a question bank with 350 or so questions, all the questions come from there. There are 33 questions, you need 18 right, I believe. I got one wrong, I forgot what "mahnen" meant and so didn't really understand the question. 

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Great! I'm jealous, but happy for you.

 

Just went to the Rentenversicherungsbehörde today and had to explain my life from the age of 17, which I don't understand - I just need the last 36-ish months of social security documented! I now have to get my partner's signature to agree on sharing the 'Kindererziehung' times, which I don't really understand, but whatever, and then show proof of my school and university dates, and times in other countries. WTF. I want this thing NOW!

 

Still waiting for a letter from a friend in my country of birth stating that I cannot get a birth certificate from there, at least not easily - he tried. Then need to get stuff translated and then just apply. At this point I just want to submit things, and if it works, then great. If not, then fuck it.

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On 28.4.2017, 16:22:48, onemark said:

You might be able to keep your US citizenship if you can prove that you have pension/Social Security and/or inheritance rights/expectations in the US.

However, you would need solid documentary evidence of this which would probably entail the use of a German lawyer specialising in such issues, which would not be cheap.

Just a thought.

 

 

Hi, All,

 

I am new to this thread. As with most of you, I want to obtain German while keeping my USA citizenship. I have the 8+ years, my German is good, but I earn more than the $2500 per month (or whatever the limit is).

 

I have many really good reasons why I would need both, but need to find a lawyer who specializes in this field. I have not yet found a competent lawyer for "dual" citizenship.

I live in Frankfurt. Can anyone recommend an appropriate attorney? I live in Frankfurt.

 

 

 

 

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Does anyone know an accredited translator who translates a lot of US vital records like birth and marriage certificates? I'm being quoted between 200 and 350 for my San Francisco marriage certificate! According to an unaccredited translator friend of mine, this is likely because these people don't already have a template for the certificate, but that there should be those who have done it before and therefore have a template (which means less work=quicker translation=cheaper).

 

If I do end up paying like 4-500 for my translations, i wonder if I can add that to the financial hardship claim. I mean, could I add that to the USD2350 renunciation fee? I mean, really it would make sense :)

 

For reference, here is what a San Francisco marriage certificate looks like: https://www.google.com/search?q=san+francisco+marriage+certificate&safe=active&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj25Y3-_6jUAhVEbFAKHZ72AE0Q_AUICygC&biw=1536&bih=799#imgrc=r8lq-e7PH8M1PM:

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I just got my SF birth certificate translated for far less than that. It's not as involved a form but still. The best rates I found were with @Kilkenny (message her on here) and redtapetranslation.com here in Berlin.

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4 hours ago, kaffeemitmilch said:

Does anyone know an accredited translator who translates a lot of US vital records like birth and marriage certificates? I'm being quoted between 200 and 350 for my San Francisco marriage certificate! According to an unaccredited translator friend of mine, this is likely because these people don't already have a template for the certificate, but that there should be those who have done it before and therefore have a template (which means less work=quicker translation=cheaper).

 

If I do end up paying like 4-500 for my translations, i wonder if I can add that to the financial hardship claim. I mean, could I add that to the USD2350 renunciation fee? I mean, really it would make sense :)

 

For reference, here is what a San Francisco marriage certificate looks like: https://www.google.com/search?q=san+francisco+marriage+certificate&safe=active&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj25Y3-_6jUAhVEbFAKHZ72AE0Q_AUICygC&biw=1536&bih=799#imgrc=r8lq-e7PH8M1PM:

 

Yeah, that is way too much. I had similar length documents when I got my German citizenship for €70-90 for official certified translations. If the people in qzen's post can't do it, I would suggest looking at language schools, they often have teachers who are official translators as well as a side income so they are not so overpriced.

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5 hours ago, kaffeemitmilch said:

Does anyone know an accredited translator who translates a lot of US vital records like birth and marriage certificates? I'm being quoted between 200 and 350 for my San Francisco marriage certificate! According to an unaccredited translator friend of mine, this is likely because these people don't already have a template for the certificate, but that there should be those who have done it before and therefore have a template (which means less work=quicker translation=cheaper).

 

If I do end up paying like 4-500 for my translations, i wonder if I can add that to the financial hardship claim. I mean, could I add that to the USD2350 renunciation fee? I mean, really it would make sense :)

 

For reference, here is what a San Francisco marriage certificate looks like: https://www.google.com/search?q=san+francisco+marriage+certificate&safe=active&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj25Y3-_6jUAhVEbFAKHZ72AE0Q_AUICygC&biw=1536&bih=799#imgrc=r8lq-e7PH8M1PM:

 

You can find accredited local translators by means of the search tools of either the Bundesverband der Dolmetscher und Übersetzer e.V. (German federal association of interpreters and translators) or this official Federal Ministry of Justice site which lists only those translators and interpreters who are legally accredited to work within the German court system.

 

Note the linked searches list both Dolmetscher ([oral] interpreters) and Übersetzer ([written] translators).

 

HTH

 

2B

 

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Yah, I cross-referenced the Justiz-Dolmetscher website with the US consulate's list of translators, and I emailed about 15. I've got several quotes, and finally got one for 99 plus VAT for my birth and marriage certificate. It's so weird the wide range of prices. So, if anyone needs someone, you can try Kordula Willberg in Frankfurt.

 

Once I get the translation back, I think I'm ready to submit!!!

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Hello,

I am new to the forum and I must admit I have not yet read through every post on this thread, so if I am asking a question that has already been asked, please let me know! My situation is that I am a British citizen applying for dual citizenship, mainly prompted by Brexit. I did the tests, gathered together the relevant documentation and submitted it at my appointment - only for the Beamtin to notice I had an American father. It hadn't occurred to me that this would be a problem as I was born and brought up in the UK and have never applied for US citizenship, despite having a claim to it. But apparently there is no way of proving that I am NOT a US citizen, other than applying for US citizenship and then renouncing it. Obviously I am keen to avoid this complicated process, and wondered if anyone has been in a similar position and knows of another way of proving my non-citizenship?

Thank you very much.

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59 minutes ago, AnnaAmalia said:

Hello,

I am new to the forum and I must admit I have not yet read through every post on this thread, so if I am asking a question that has already been asked, please let me know! My situation is that I am a British citizen applying for dual citizenship, mainly prompted by Brexit. I did the tests, gathered together the relevant documentation and submitted it at my appointment - only for the Beamtin to notice I had an American father. It hadn't occurred to me that this would be a problem as I was born and brought up in the UK and have never applied for US citizenship, despite having a claim to it. But apparently there is no way of proving that I am NOT a US citizen, other than applying for US citizenship and then renouncing it. Obviously I am keen to avoid this complicated process, and wondered if anyone has been in a similar position and knows of another way of proving my non-citizenship?

Thank you very much.

There are some rules regarding which Americans are able to transmit citizenship. If your father was just born in the US and left at a young age, or was born to Americans and never lived in the US, you should be able to prove you aren't an American.

 

But if your father was born in the US and lived there over x number of years, my understanding is you are out of luck. In that case, I think you are American whether you applied or not.

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I'm filling in the naturalization application, and I have a couple of questions.

 

Section 8 Aufenthalt (Hier bitte Auslandsaufenthalte und inlandsaufenthalte angeben.)

 

von Geburt___________bis____________in (bitte das Land angeben)____________

 

and then four more rows of this.

 

I guess I can add information using an additional sheet? I've lived in a LOT of places. Also, would a general month be sufficient, or can I just put down the year? I don't know how much detail they want. Given that there is very little instruction, I am leaning toward the assumption that they just want a general picture of my life. What do you think?

 

Section 11 Wirtschaftliche Verhältnisse

 

Under this, they ask for income, etc., but then Bezug von Leistungen nach dem Zweiten oder Zwölften Buch Sozialgesetzbuch, ja oder nein (Leistungsart z.B. Arbeitslosengeld).

Then there's Sonstige Leistungen, ja oder nein (Leistungsart z.B. BAföG, Wohngeld).

 

I did receive unemployment, but I know there are more than one type. Would regular unemployment be ja for the first or second question? We (my partner specifically) get Kindergeld and we also got Elterngeld. Do these count for either of the questions?

 

Finally, there's the question Haben Sie Familienangehörige, denen Sie zum Unterhalt verpflichtet sind (z.B. Kinder/geschiedener Ehegatte)? Wenn ja, wem und in welchem Höhe?

 

I have a partner who works, but who might be out of work from September, and a daughter. I guess I am verpflichtet for my daughter? What technically would constitute this?

 

Thanks guys.

 

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