How early to apply for citizenship/Einbürgerung?

8 posts in this topic

Please forgive me if this specific question already exists, I have tried searching through old threads. 
 

How soon can I begin the citizenship application process?

 

For example, if someone would be eligible after eight years of residence:

- do they begin the process with Erstberstung only after the eight years have passed?

- OR, can they already start/complete most of the process maybe during the seventh year of residence and then the Amt simply grants/activates the citizenship right after the eight years have passed and they officially meet all the requirements?

 

I’m asking because of course I’d like to get through the process as soon as possible. I have lived here for three years already and will marry my German spouse in September, so then I’d need another two years. I wonder if I could already start everything in around 1-1.5 years from now so that after 2 years from the marriage have passed I can get the passport with as little delay as possible. 
 

Hope it all makes sense, as said please point me to other relevant threads if this question has already been asked and answered. 

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I would imagine this will be handled differently from case to case and from place to place too. I guess officially when your application is examined if you fail to meet the minimum residency, they could just reject it and tell you to start again but in my experience they don't operate like that at all and would put it on ice to let it "mature", but also in my experience it's far more likely that the application is already more than mature by the time they get to process it! The ONLY people who can advise you with any certainty are the people in your local foreigners' office. You should make an appointment and just ask them when it would make sense to formally submit the application. 

 

Perhaps something to consider though, as you have been here for three years already and you are not marrying until September and then waiting a further 2 years (5.5 years in all), it might be worth waiting a touch longer and applying for citizenship in your own right. It will reduce the quantity of documents you need to submit and that is always a good thing because if one document has the wrong stamp on it....

 

https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/stag/__10.html

 

Quote

(3) Weist ein Ausländer durch die Bescheinigung des Bundesamtes für Migration und Flüchtlinge die erfolgreiche Teilnahme an einem Integrationskurs nach, wird die Frist nach Absatz 1 auf sieben Jahre verkürzt. Bei Vorliegen besonderer Integrationsleistungen, insbesondere beim Nachweis von Sprachkenntnissen, die die Voraussetzungen des Absatzes 1 Satz 1 Nummer 6 übersteigen, von besonders guten schulischen, berufsqualifizierenden oder beruflichen Leistungen oder von bürgerschaftlichem Engagement, kann sie auf bis zu sechs Jahre verkürzt werden.

So with a bit of effort on the language front and maybe doing a bit of charity work at the Tafel or something you can apply in your own right after 6 years instead of the 5.5 years through marriage!

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Agree with everything murphaph said above, it really will depend on your local office and your case worker.

You might also consider that some-time during this session of parliament they are allegedly going to re-work the rules to make it easier to naturalise and one of the proposals I saw recently was that the minimum requirement could be dropped to 5 years (or even 3 with special integration), so it might even be quicker than you think.

 

I would say don't worry this far out about 'how early' just work on getting all the other requirements sorted like the language skills and the citizenship test knowledge, then watch for changes in the legislation.

 

About 3 to 6 months before you are qualified (Or as soon as the law changes if you qualify under the new rules), make an appointment to discuss the requirements, then they will give you the latest accurate details of what you need, which may well have changed from now.

 

In the meantime, get your B1 German qualification anyway (it will always be a help), study more German if you can, download the questions and study for the naturalisation test, it's easy to pass and even if they change the requirements it will be good knowledge.

 

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Thanks both for your detailed replies. You’re right that it’s not necessary to worry too much about the timeline at this point since it’s still a couple years away. 
as far as the requirements, I think I’m fine since I have a good job, Niederlassungserlaubnis and speak German quite well. I don’t have a certificate yet but I think I can do B2 fine. Also in Berlin the “expedited”/well-integrated 6 years citizenship is available as soon as you have B2 so maybe the best thing is to just go ahead and have the certificate in case they lower the number of years required bundesweit at some point. 
 

Is there any expiration for the credentials especially the Naturalization Test? If not maybe I could go ahead and prepare for that and try and pass in the next year just so one other thing is already done. 

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There is nothing specific in the law which covers this. The problem is that the requirement in Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz (StAG) § 10  (1).7  is

 über Kenntnisse der Rechts- und Gesellschaftsordnung und der Lebensverhältnisse in Deutschland verfügt

The official translation gives that as  " possess knowledge of the legal system, society and living conditions in the Federal Republic of Germany;"

 

This is then clarified by saying that   As a rule, the requirements of subsection (1) sentence 1 no. 7 are met if the foreigner has passed the naturalisation test.

So yeah in general the test shouldn't expire, but they might re-write that bit of the rules and/or re-write the test before you come to apply, and then you would need to argue your case with your case worker.

Most of this law is written to give the caseworkers a lot of leeway about what they are allowed to accept and a little bit about what they "must" accept, but it's very open.

 

So do the test and get the certificate if you want to.

Worst case the knowledge is still helpful and you wasted some cash on a test you didn't need. Best case you save a few weeks waiting for a test result.

Personally I wouldn't bother but it's up to you. 

 

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I would say the naturalisation test cert has an extremely long shelf life as would any German language test cert. My own was at least two years old by the time I received citizenship here.

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3 hours ago, murphaph said:

My own was at least two years old by the time I received citizenship here.

 

Mine is already two years old, and i am planning to use it at the application intended for next year.

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Thanks again for the feedback. 
 

Good to hear anecdotes on both sides about how long the language and integration tests are (potentially) valid. 
 

There doesn’t seem to be tons of activity on this or a conclusive answer about when is the soonest I can apply/start the process. I will write an update sometime with my experience if I learn anything new somewhere else. 

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