FAQ on naturalization in Germany from abroad

As part of my very popular series of legal FAQ, I now address a question that I get asked very frequently: it’s about the possibility to get naturalized as a German citizen without living in Germany.

I have also posted FAQ about divorce in Germanychild custody law in Germanyinheritance law in Germany, a general overview of German citizenship law, about international child abduction, constitutional complaints in Germany, the right to freedom of movement within the EU and about how to work with me as your lawyer. You can see the full list of FAQ on my website.

1. Can I become a German citizen without living in Germany?

Yes. There are several possibilities to do so: (1) you may already have German citizenship due to German descent, (2) re-instatement of previously lost citizenship, (3) adoption by a German citizen as a minor, and (4) naturalization in accordance with § 14 StAG. These FAQ only deal with naturalization from abroad, the other options are covered in another FAQ.

2. What are the requirements to get naturalized as a German citizen without living there?

You have to meet all the normal criteria for naturalization. Only the requirement of residence in Germany (typically between 3 and 8 years) will be waived if you can show “ties to Germany that justify your naturalization”. I will cover these requirements in the following paragraphs.

3. Do I need to speak German?

Yes. This is an essential requirement, so don’t even apply before you have reached at least the B1 level in German. Because you would be applying for a naturalization which you are not entitled to but which is in the discretion of the German government, a higher level of German would be even better.

4. How do I show my ties to Germany?

There are many ways to prove these ties, and the more ways in which you can show your ties, the better is your case: marriage to a German citizen, employment by a German company, longer and frequent visits to Germany, ownership of real estate in Germany for your personal use, ownership of a business in Germany, contributions to the German pension system, visits of German schools or universities, academic interest in Germany and anything else that you can think of.

5. What are the other requirements?deutscher Pass

The same as with a naturalization within Germany: (1) You need to be able to support yourself financially without recourse to welfare. Because you would be eligible to move to and live in Germany, you need to show that you could also earn a living in Germany. (2) You shouldn’t have a criminal record. Traffic tickets pose no problem. (3) You need to pass the citizenship test. It’s a multiple choice test about life in Germany, the German constitution and things like the colours of the flag. You get 33 questions, of which you have to correctly answer 17 within a maximum of 60 minutes. You can take this test at a German consulate or of course on one of your visits to Germany. All the possible questions are online, so it’s easy to prepare yourself.

6. Do I need to give up my existing citizenship?

Usually yes. Germany unfortunately does not believe in dual citizenship and thus requires applicants for naturalization to give up their previous citizenship. There are however plenty of exceptions, but that’s the topic of a different set of FAQ.

7. When do I need to fulfil these criteria?

You need to meet these and the other criteria at the time of the application. Because you decide when you apply, you can really prepare yourself for such an application, even if it may take a couple of years. If you book a personal consultation, I will assess your situation and your personal circumstances and suggest several ways in which you can improve your chances. Of course I will also be happy to help writing your application essay.

Once you will receive German citizenship, you don’t need to prove anything anymore. You can also keep German citizenship if you never take up residence in Germany. Even if you would subsequently become dependent on welfare or commit crimes, your German citizenship cannot be withdrawn.

8. How is this option connected to German citizenship by descent?

It shouldn’t be connected at all, because citizenship by descent and naturalization are two completely different matters. But Germany now uses this naturalization according to § 14 StAG to rectify an old problem: Children who were born to a German mother and a non-German father before 1975 often did not receive German citizenship by descent. This obvious discrimination against the maternal line of descent is now being rectified by allowing these children to apply for naturalization under this clause. The difference to completely foreign applicants is that this group of applicants do not need to give up their primary citizenship. Also, if you have minor children they will usually be naturalized as well.

9. Do you have some special trick that you want to share with us?

Always. If you work in the Iranian nuclear programme for example and you are ready to disclose certain information to the German Intelligence Service, your application will be viewed very favourably.

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a journalist, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in German Law, Germany, Immigration Law, Law and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

347 Responses to FAQ on naturalization in Germany from abroad

  1. Pingback: 10 FAQ on citizenship law in Germany | The Happy Hermit

  2. I clicked on personal consulation, it came up empty. Say my Dad was born in the Sudetanland, now CZ, CZ sent him to E Germany after the war when they expelled all the Germans. He escaped, made it to W Germany, and then to the US to join his Father. He gave up citizenship (Czech as it was listed) at 18 in favor of US. Odds of him being able to get German citizenship back? I suggested to him to go to a Rathaus in DE near the border of CZ as they may be more familiar. Thoughts?

    • Thanks for that, I repaired the link.

      If your father had German citizenship at the time of his naturalization in the US, then he lost it in the process (§ 25 I StAG). If he had Czech citizenship, it depends on Czech law what happened to that.
      § 13 StAG allows the re-instatement of a previously lost German citizenship, but if this application is made from abroad, the requirements detailed above apply, including the requirement to give up his US citizenship.

      • Thanks! I think he will settle for getting CZ removed as his country of birth. He has a lot of resentment towards them and HATES it on his passport. He´s working on it.

  3. Hans Mueller says:

    Yes, exactly, wanna get German Citizenship, then give up US Citizenship. Tough choice for some, but it’s a fair deal. Although I would not want to become a citizen of Germany if I am not planning to live there. Another thing is when you are a born citizen and live elsewhere but keep your native citizenship. Or those who have EU country’s citizenship, then they automatically can live in Germany, I suppose, without the need to get German citizenship. Is that correct?

    • Yes, any EU citizenship is as good as the other. I have German citizenship for example, but I have lived in the UK, in Malta, in Lithuania and am about to move to Italy. Without any need of a residence permit, no paperwork, nothing.
      That’s why I personally would prefer the citizenship of any EU country over that of the USA, because it allows you to live in 28 countries, among them beautiful places like Croatia. And the number of countries who are members will probably grow.

  4. Can you clarify something on point number 4? If I’m showing my ties to Germany, what colours does Germany prefer – the gold, red, and black, or something more neutral? :D
    (My apologies for being a wise-acre. You may delete this if you wish. I’ll find a more appropriate place to annoy you. ;) )

    • You already passed the test by knowing that the third colour in the flag is gold, not yellow.

      • I always thought it odd that under the rule of Emperors (Kaiser), who were usually thought of as hugely rich, the top colour was white. Yet in the period without monarchy, a “pure” rule time which should reflect the purity of the colour white, it became gold instead. (We’ll just kinda bounce over that whole “red and black” period. Schickelgruber had LOUSY taste in design – among MANY other things. ;) )

      • By the by, do you realise that on the Eastern front during WW1, it was Caeser versus Caeser? Both Kaiser and Tsar/Czar trace their roots to the title of Caeser. One for you etymological freaks. :D

  5. Brenden says:

    Your last point made me laugh!

  6. Very interesting and also amusing. Thanks Have a good day. Best regards

  7. JoV says:

    I don’t think I will ever apply for a naturalisation in Germany but your effort to put out a FAQs here is commendable. Well done and thank you.

  8. Kavita Joshi says:

    I liked the last point

  9. ron says:

    I have read your blog with great interest.
    You will have to tell me what is your favourite cigar or maybe i will have to tempt you with some good South African wine.
    My great grandfather died the 4 May 1934 in East London South Africa
    His South African death notice says he was German born in Germany.
    According to the shipping records when he arrived in South Africa in MAY 1878 on a ship called Papa from Hamburg with his parents and siblings he was 9 years old.

    my grandfather was born is south africa in 1895 died 1974
    my father was born in 1928 in south africa died 1993
    i was born in south africa in 1965

    I have contacted the German embassy in Cape Town south africa with regards to obtaining German citizenship by means of a German bloodline Jus sanguinis.

    The reason for doing this is that members of the German embassy frequent my restaurant and the topic of heritage and where we come from came up. One of the embassy workers on hearing my family history convinced me to look into my German bloodline and he said that if i had a direct male line to Germany then it would be easy to obtain German citizenship albeit the paperwork between Germany and south africa might take some time.

    I subsequently spent many hours in the various archives looking up my family history which was very interesting for me.
    When i took all the information i had gathered to show my bloodline Jus sanguinis to the embassy Cape Town ( this was an informal meeting at the embassy) they came up with a curve-ball which was…….
    pss the curve ball greater than what gomez would shoot

    My great great grandfather would have had to register at a German mission in south africa to have been able to retain his citizenship back in the late 1800’s.
    of course if he had retained this citizenship then it would be ok
    The only problem is that there was no official German mission or offices in south africa that i can find.
    I have contacted the German embassy in Pretoria and they are adamant that there were no official German offices in south africa until the mid 1930s.
    by then my great great grandfather was dead and his tombstone reads ‘ Hier ruhet in Gott”

    So therefore my conundrum which maybe you can help me (for those cigars or south african wine)

    Do you think they are messing me around or would i by some chance have an entitlement to German citizenship?

    Ps my great grandfather and father were fluent in german and ich spreche ein bischen

    Your help would be greatly appreciated

    • Aureus Aurarius says:

      Why would you want to move to Germany? South Africa is such a beautiful country, I lived there for a year and half of Western Cape are now related to me… I wish I could move down there again. I was born the same year as you.

      • ron says:

        i think as you have mentioned before. To have the joy of freedom of movement without having the constrains of visa restrictions. Cape town is beautiful and i don’t think i am going to move soon.:) or maybe ever. Where did you stay and how long ago were you here. Probably time for a new visit. Well i am in june. Do u think there is any hope? me getting the right to travel?

      • Aureus Aurarius says:

        I lived in 1997-98 in Cape Town in Khayelitsha, Bonteheuwel, Mannenberg… just joking… I was at Pinelands, Mowbray, Bishopscourt, Table View. Yet I’ve had been to all the “dangerous” areas as well, many times, even at night. I enjoyed the sound of helicopters and cars chasing and machine gun fire at night, sometimes hitting walls of my house in Mowbray. Love the drive to Knysna. Never been to JHB. They said not worth it. You can get a EU passport if you try really hard. I got one. Also got one for the USA. I’d love to live in ZA if I had some business opportunity there. Never been to a more beautiful country than Suid-Afrika. Perhaps Japan? China? Brazil? What countries can you visit visa-free with a ZA Passport?

  10. Aureus Aurarius says:

    Those must be Italian Stone Pines ({Pinus pinea) in the header photo.

  11. Shania says:

    Hello Andreas!

    This is Shania from Hong Kong, You’re so generous and resourceful.
    Thank you so much for sharing so much useful information here really!

    May I ask more about the non-EU naturalisation application…
    Does the years of obtaining student visa (studying a M.A degree program in Germany) be also counted into the “3-8 years” requirement of residence in Germany?

    I’m learning Germany in my living place now, If i obtain above B2 german language level when i’m in Germany, will it help shorten the time a bit?

    Last question is, I saw it said people who earn 44800 euro in Germany annually will get Blue Card, is it also a standard for naturalisation, or it is ok to get a job lower than that 44800 euro a year if I want to apply?

    Thanks many and many!!!!!!! ;-D
    all the bests,
    Shania

    • Hello Shania,
      1) Yes, the time that you spend in Germany as a student will count. It is also no problem if you receive a scholarship or other student support, as this is not considered welfare.
      2) Yes, the better your German skills, the better your chances.
      3) No, the income level for the Blue Card is higher than the one for citizenship. For citizenship you can earn much less, as long as you can show that you can pay all of your expenses. Thus it also depends a bit on where in Germany you live. If you move to an area with lower rent prices, a lower income will suffice.

      • vanaufwp says:

        Hi Andreas,
        As I’m still researching about the issue “if studying time counts. Most of the sites I’ve been reading they still mentioned that residence permit for purpose of studying does not meet the requirement?
        “In order to be entitled to acquire German citizenship, you have to be in possession of a settlement permit or a special residence permit. As a general rule, the residence permit must have been granted for a reason that normally forms the basis of permanent residence. Thus a residence permit for the purpose of studying or for humanitarian reasons does not meet this requirement.” – http://www.migrationsrecht.net/european-immigration-migration-law/citizenship-german-nationality-through-naturalisation.html

      • This does NOT concern the time requirement, but the type of residence permit you will hold at the end of the 8 years.
        I assumed that you wouldn’t study for 8 years, but would by then be in employment or self-employed or have a business.

      • vanaufwp says:

        For my bachelor it would take me 4 years and also another 2 years for Master, I have the Auffenhaltstitel annually so im not sure the type of my residence permit. hmm…
        At the moment Im self-funding and I will get a parttime job soon or so but is that having employment (tax paying) is a plus for the applying process?
        And do i have to NOT leave Germany at all for 8 years? :-/ could i like travel or visit home in a short time or so?
        Thank you so much,

      • Of course you can leave Germany in between. Absences of up to 6 months are no problem.

        Yes, registered employment increases the chance of obtaining a permanent residence permit which is one of the paths to citizenship.

      • vanaufwp says:

        thank you for the reply, so helpful! I’ve did some researches and I got to know that after my education i would have to get a job in my field (aka pay tax) and start paying for retirement insurance for 60 months to get “unbefristet Beschäftigung”, then i can start to apply for citizenship after. Is that true? Cause I work in graphics design and it’s quite usual to change after the trying out time or working freelance so im a bit confuse how would that gonna be with the paper work. thank you thank you again and looking forward to hearing from you as always.

      • Salas says:

        Thank you, thats exactly the answer I’m looking for.

      • Salas says:

        Dear Andreas,

        According to this:

        “This does NOT concern the time requirement, but the type of residence permit you will hold at the end of the 8 years.
        I assumed that you wouldn’t study for 8 years, but would by then be in employment or self-employed or have a business.”

        Let’s say, I study a Bachelor Degree in Germany for 3.5 years then Master Degree for another 1.5 years. Got B2 in German Language. (wikipedia says B2 in german reduce the period from 8 to 6 years) Got a job after graduate.
        So its 3.5+1.5 = 5 years + 1 more year working = 6 years. If its this scenario, will I be getting the citizenship after 6 years?

        Thank you,
        Salas

      • Possibly, but it will depend on the law in place at the time of your application, so let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

  12. Elena says:

    Hello Andreas,
    thank you for all info posted here. Short question: in order to get the citizenship are requested 8 years. These years should without break in De? I have 4 years now, will move next year in other country, but I am quite sure I will return.

    thank you for feed-back.
    regards.
    Elena

  13. HB says:

    Has anyone here been successful in getting German citizenship outside Germany? I live in the UK, and am not sure whether to apply in London or whether to move back to Germany for a bit just to apply.

    Will birth in Germany be enough to justify ties? What about if you’ve studied German at a UK university for three years and spent one year in a German university? Will that help?

    Does it matter what sort of job one currently does? As in, does it matter if I’m just doing unskilled work?

  14. Sam Lee says:

    Hi Moser,
    Thanks for very useful information.
    I have a question regarding naturalisation in Germany.
    I am from Singapore and I lived in Germany for six years (2006-2012). I have PhD from German University and then moved to UK from mid 2012. currently I have job offer with good salary from Germany. so I am thinking of moving back to Germany from mid 2013. Is it possible to count the six years (2006-12) for the 8 year requirement to naturalization? or I need to stay for next eight years in Germany to get German passport? is it possible for fast track naturalisation procedure with BLUE card?
    Thanks in advance for your info.

    • Good news: 5 of your previously spent 6 years can be counted towards naturalization (§ 12b II StAG).
      The 8-year requirement can be reduced to 7 or 6 years, depending on your level of German.

      • Sam Lee says:

        Thanks Moser for immediate reply.
        last question before I stop bothering you.
        I am gud in German and can easily clear B1.
        so in principal if I move back to Germany with a job, I can get citizen ship in 2-3 years?
        Thanks for StAG document (I googled it and is very useful)

      • Yes, if you are at B1 level in German and you pass the integration course, you will only need another 2 years. If you could get to B2 level, you will need another 1 year.

      • BK says:

        Hello Andeas,
        I have come across your website in google search for my einbürgerung. I have reacently applied for Citizenship and submitted all the documents,but at the end the case worker said that as my certificates are not form Germany and all in English she asked me to pay 350€ for the verification of my certificates. Is it normal in the case of Einbürgerung. Please let me know.
        Thanks,
        BK

      • Which certificates?

      • BK says:

        Hello Andreas,
        The certificates are my birth certificate, my marriage certificate(I am from India I got married in India only), my passport copies and educational documents. So, is this a normal precedure. Please reply
        Thanks,
        Bala

      • Sounds like a silly request to me. If you have already been living in Germany for a while, you probably have a residence permit. In order to issue that residence permit, the Ausländerbehörde had to check your identity and whether you are married already. So it’s not like they have any doubt about the authenticity of the documents.

        I would ask them how they could issue you a residence permit based on the same papers without any problems, and what which of these documents they doubt. If they have a doubt about your birth certificate for example, they can call the city in India which issued the birth certificate.

        This kind of stupid bureaucracy makes me angry.

      • BK says:

        Hello Andreas,
        Thanks for the reply. Even I found it to be silly, but they said that it is different for different cases, could you advise me what to question them regarding my process for naturalization.

        Thanks,
        BK

      • See the arguments in my answer above.

  15. PENNY says:

    only some questions get answered maybe the other questions are too difficult

  16. Robert Miner says:

    Dear Andreas,
    Thank you so much for your very helpful and insightful presentation.
    I really only have one question concerning the points 2 and 4 above.
    My situation, in brief:
    US citizen, living in Jordan, married, 60 years old.
    As a young man, aged 14, I moved with my parents to Hamburg in 1968 and attended Gymnasium there. Since that time my periods of residence in Germany have been a patch work of different locations (Hamburg, Loerrach, Heidelberg) and times. I’ve calculated the total of my German residence permits to be 18,4 years (as recorded in my passports).
    I’m fluent in German, studied psychology in Vienna, theology in Basel (both in German), and linguistics in Strasbourg (in French, Dr. phil). I’ve been in Jordan for 24 years and teach christian theology in Arabic.
    Since 1986 I’ve been employed by the “Deutsche Missionsgemeinschaft” (in Sinsheim) and have paid into the German welfare system, as I now continue to do.
    I think I fulfill all the requirements to apply for German naturalisation according to your presentation, except living the last 6 to 8 years uninterruptedly in German.
    Do you think this will be a problem?
    Thank you in advance for your advice on this matter.
    Robert

    • Hallo Robert,
      Dein Lebenslauf ist der Paradefall für die Einbürgerung als Deutscher aus dem Ausland nach § 14 StAG. Die Anzahl, Dauer und Tiefe Deiner Bindungen an Deutschland sind meiner Meinung nach absolut ausreichend.
      Alternativ könntest Du nach Deutschland ziehen, wo 5 Jahre Deiner früheren Aufenthaltszeiten auf die 6-8 Jahre angerechnet werden.
      Die einzige Hürde ist wahrscheinlich, daß Deutschland die Aufgabe Deiner US-Staatsbürgerschaft verlangen würde.

      • Robert Miner says:

        Vielen Dank für die rasche Antwort. Ich habe nur deswegen auf Englisch geschrieben, damit alle anderen mitlesen konnten.
        Ich würde liebend gern die US-Staatsbürgerschaft aufgeben, wenn ich die deutsche erhalten könnte. Absolut keine Reue!
        Um auf die Zeitrechnung zurückzukommen, falls die geforderte Länge des Aufenthaltes auf Grund der Sprachkenntnisse von 8 auf 6 Jahre verkürzt werden könnte und auf Grund meiner früheren Aufenthalte 5 Jahre angerechnet werden könnten, würde es dann bedeuten, dass ich nur ein Jahr in Deutschland sein müsste, um die Einbürgerung zu erlangen?
        Danke nochmals im Voraus.
        Robert

      • Genau so ist es. Nach § 12b II StAG können bis zu 5 Jahre des früheren Aufenthalts (egal wie lange er zurückliegt) angerechnet werden. Die Verwaltungsvorschrift zum StAG verlangt, daß dieser Aufenthalt “integrationsfördernd” war, was bei Studien- oder Arbeitsaufenthalten generell der Fall ist und ja auch durch Deine beeindruckend guten Sprachkenntnisse belegt wird.
        Wenn Du also in nächster Zeit mal für ein Jahr nach Deutschland kommst, würde ich diesen Weg empfehlen, weil Du dann anders als beim Antrag nach § 14 StAG nicht die besonderen Bindungen darstellen mußt und nicht auf eine Ermessensentscheidung angewiesen bist, sondern einen Anspruch auf die Einbürgerung hast.

  17. Robert Miner says:

    Nochmals, ganz herzlichen Dank!
    Letzte Frage: Sind Deine Buecherwunschlisten (Engl. und Deutsch) noch aktuell und ist die Adresse in Italien noch gueltig?
    Haettest Du gern ein paar Buecher ueber unsere Nachbarschaft hier im Nahen Osten?
    Du bist ganz offensichtlich ein Bibliophil!

  18. Robert Miner says:

    Grazie per il numero e per tutto il vostro aiuto. Sto inviando tre libri da Amazon e ti manderò un paio di miei scaffali qui in Giordania. Have a nice day!

  19. charlie mac says:

    Thank you so much for your information. I’ve been wondering about the law that seemed discriminatory towards children born of a German Mother and American Father, since I was born in 1965. What was that law about anyway? And I think you said the law changed, can I now apply? Unfortunately, I don’t speak German due to not seeing my mother since I was three.

  20. Dayana says:

    Hello,

    Thank you so much for putting this page it really helps a lot.

    I have one question:
    I’m Lebanese and been married to a German Citizen for 2 years and already obtained my A1 certificate and applied for the residency visa. My question is how do I apply for the German Reispass and is B1 enough? I heard there is something called orientierungkurse need to take for one month and then there is an exam if I pass I only need that paper to get the passport?! please advise.

    Many thanks

    • Yes, B1 is enough. The Orientierungskurs or Integrationskurs is a course about life in Germany. If you live in Germany, you are entitled to take part in these courses for a nominal fee or no fee at all.

  21. Bobo says:

    Hey Andreas,
    Thank you so much for this page. It really helps. I have a question i cleared University and been here for 7 years now. While i was studying i was working part time and even now after i cleared am stilling working at the same place. I want to apply for a German passport and i dont know if i quaify or should i look for a fulltime job even though have 2 Jobs and can pay my Bills.
    Another question if i get married outside Germany a church wedding even though am not German then later on i get German passport will my marriage be recognised???. And what if i got marriage when am already a German citizen but still not in Germany is it recorgnized ???
    I will appreciate your help.

    • You should be fine with the part-time jobs that you have. The requirement is that you can provide your own income without recourse to welfare. If you show that you have consistently been able to pay your rent and that you have health insurance, there shouldn’t be a problem.

      Because these threads tend to get very long, I would like to keep the different legal questions separate. I will be happy to put up a list of FAQ on marriage in Germany. All I ask for is that someone mails me one of the books from my wishlist to do so.

  22. Shirin Chamas says:

    Hello,
    Very helpful blog. I married an EU citizen last April and I currently live in Lebanon while my husband lives in Qatar for work. Do I need to wait 3 yrs before I can get a job in Germany? I currently do not have a job in Lebanon, but will it help me if I also work while waiting for my German citizenship?

    • You haven’t mentioned anything about having any ties to Germany, as far as I can see.

      • Shirin Chamas says:

        Sorry about that. He is a Dutch citizen, and I was told that I can obtain German citizenship since both countries are EU members. From what I understand I have to wait for 3 yrs marriage before I can obtain a permit or certificate for me to work in Germany.

      • Whoever told you that told you crap. You should kick that person from me, for wasting both your and my time.

        Incredible. Do people really believe that there is a path to German citizenship by living in Lebanon while being married to a Dutch citizen who lives in Qatar?

      • Shirin Chamas says:

        Actually, it’s an arranged marriage. He’s my cousin (my father and his mother are siblings) and we share the same last name. We just did this so I can obtain German citizenship. (I already have a “green card” because I’ve stayed in Germany for 6 months and have relatives there).

      • Without living in Germany and speaking German, this marriage is unfortunately not very helpful for obtaining German citizenship.

      • Austin Powers says:

        Shirin’s question is really in the wrong place as this trhead is about naturalisation.

        But it’s worth noting that POTENTIALLY she has lots of rights to work and live in Germany, but these rights are under DIrective 2004/38.

        They are derived rights.

        In other words they are derived from the Dutch spouse’s right to freedom of movement. She would be what is known as a ‘third country national with a derived right of residence under the Treaty.

        However .. tn the circumstances she describes, the rights are — at this time — fairly thin, because the EU national does not appear to have any form of residence (primary or secondary) in Germany.

        But the rights coud be made real by taking certain actions that are her your control (not in the discretion of bureaucrats) and then she can rely on them.

        Essentially, provided the husband can effectively take up a residence in Germany she CAN get a job and live in Germany (in fact in any EU country except Holland) under EU rights (Note that EU law applies in all States except the country of his nationality).

        This could even be so if her husband works abroad PROVIDED you establish a genuine residence in the EU country for both of you.

        If the EU spouse has no connection to the EU country and never comes home to the family apartment, that would almost certainly raise some difficulties and it is quite likel the right would not arise. Do, nonetheless, bear in mind that in Germany things are often proved by having the right certificates from the right office (“mehr Schein als sein?”).

        Ssome EU countries would fairly relaxed about this as they want to encourage people to work there (e.g. the Baltic states who are suffering depopulation of skilled workers to other EU states) while on the other hand some countries try to discourage even entitled EU nationals (e.g. the UK) and give third country spouses a hard time.

        Germany’s approach seems to be somewhat in the middle, as far as I can see.

        So, in practice

        1. Can your spouse establish a residence in Germany? (Get a flat, register at the Einwohnermeldeamt)
        .
        2. Can you (the family) support yourself without reference to the German social security system. (i.e. show he is either a jobseeker, has a job, or is economically self-sufficient)?

        3. Do you have medical insurance. (Easily arranged).

        It’s easy enough, but requires some effort to tick all the boxes, and spending some time (not just a few days holiday) in Germany.

        If he can’t spare the time to do this, forget it.

  23. Maya says:

    I lived in Germany for a while in 1993, had a German boyfriend for a number of months and got pregnant. I moved back to Canada before my baby was born because of a breakdown of the relationship. My daughter is now 20, and is very interested in living and working in Germany someday. Can she get German citizenship to be allowed to live and work there? She was born in canada but I did not put her German father’s name on the Canadian birth certificate at the time, just left it as “unknown” because I was afraid he might want to come and try to take her. We believe he would sign whatever is needed to help her out, we are just not sure what it is we have to do. Can you offer some suggestions to get started, thanks.

    • Your daughter will need to officially establish her father’s paternity, either by him declaring an official affidavit of paternity or by getting a court order. As you assume that he is cooperative, the first option is of course much more preferable.

      I will soon put up a separate FAQ on establishing paternity under German law.

      • ppittman2014 says:

        Thank you so much for such a fast reply :)
        I have one more question, how does he declare the official affidavit of paternity? Can he do this in Germany and send us whatever we will need to apply from canada?
        Thank you

      • All of this will be in the FAQ on paternity.

  24. Atawy says:

    Hi, According to the law number 14 StAG it is mentioned that german nationailty can be obtained from abroad, if rules of law number 8 StGA and 9 StGA are verified.
    When i had a look on Law number 8 StGA, i found that it is written that the applicant has his/her own appartment or place to live in Germany.
    Is that means, that the applicant iwho is livining outside Germany, has to have also a flat ( own or rented) in Germany, to be able to apply for the citizinship? Even he lives abroad?

    • Because the § 14 naturalization is a discretionary naturalization, it does of course help if you already have a property or a place to live in Germany.
      But it’s actually not a requirement. In these cases, the requirement is understood to mean that you have sufficient income or funds to be able to live in Germany if you move there.

      • Linda Passwaters says:

        I was born in 1949 in the US. My Mother was a German Citizen at the time and my father an American. I have many family members in Germany and can speak and understand German at B1. My mother is 87 and very ill. I am interested in obtaining German citizenship so I can travel and stay for longer lengths of time with my German cousins. I am 65, retired and have my own income and health insurance. I am only interested in maintaining my German heritage. My father is also of German heritage so I feel very much German. Do you think there might be an avenue for me to gain citizenship. Thank you, Linda

  25. Label Sanoo says:

    Hi Andreas,

    I have a couple of question and I really hope you can help me out.

    My x wife is German
    We have been Married for about 3 years now.
    We moved to England as soon as we got married at this point in time I had no residence permit in Germany.
    I am a non EU citizen.
    We have a daughter who is 4 years old, She is German
    I got my residence permit for Germany April 2013, since then I have been living in Germany till date.
    My level of German is A1, but looking to achieve B2
    I have completed the integration course as well

    My Question is:

    1) Does the 2 years of marriage for naturalization still count even though my wife and I are now divorced ?

    2) Would I have to wait for six years before I can apply for German citizenship ?

  26. Label Sanoo says:

    Correction to my last post

    1) Does the 3 years of marriage count towards applying for a German citizenship even though we are now divorced.

    2) Is it possible to apply for German citizenship if I complete the 3 year residence period

    or

    3) Will I have to reside for six tears before I can apply for German Citizenship ?

    Many Thanks

    • Because you are no longer married, you would need to wait for the normal period, the exact duration of which depends on your personal factors, especially your level of German.

  27. Win says:

    Hi Andreas,

    Thank you for this write up. My wife and I have been trying to get more information about gaining German residency or citizenship for me ( NON- EU). Just a general brief about our situation.

    My wife ( German citizen ) and I got married in Germany in 2010 but we do not live In Germany since we were both working abroad.

    Since our marriage; we have been working in Qatar and are now in Cyprus; we do visit Germany every year without fail since my mom in law lives in Koeln.

    My currently have a 5 year residency permit from Cyprus ( Greek controlled ) but we are thinking of moving to Germany since it has been hard for me to get a job since the Cyprus economy is quite bad. My wife has been the sole income earner since our arrival in Cyprus.

    I have a B1 certificate from Geothe Institute. Will all this; what in your professional opinion are my chances to either get permanent residency or citizenship in Germany.

    Can you also kindly advise me your fees if we decide to apply for citizenship from Cyprus.

    Best Regards

    Win

    • If your wife will move to Germany with you, you will very easily get a residence permit (section 28 AufenthG).

      Yor ties to Germany as described are not enough to warrant naturalization from abroad. But after living in Germany for 3 years, you could then apply for naturalization.

      • Win says:

        Thank you for your prompt answer Andreas. Yes…my wife and I will both move together to Germany. With regards to the residency; will I get the non settlement residency or the settle residency in your opinion. Thanking you in advance.

      • Only after 3 years could you get a settlement permit. Until then, you would get a residence permit for 1 or 2 years which would be extended if you will still be married and living together.

      • Austin Powers says:

        I presume that s.28 AufenthG contains the right of a German to have their spouse live with them in Germany?

        There’s also another right in this sort of case.

        It’s under EU law (2008/38/EC), and it’s an exception to the normal rule that an EU-national spouse is not entitled to the benefit of EU free movement law.

        Becuase you lived together in a residence in an EU Member State OTHER than the state of the spouse’s nationality, you would be entitled to the same EU law free movement rights in Germany that you would be entitled to in all the other EU states.

        This is called a ‘Surinder Singh’ case, after the name of the person who established the right in the European Court of Justice.

        http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:61990CJ0370:EN:HTML

      • Austin Powers says:

        (for 2008/38 read 2004/38 – it’s a typo)

  28. Win says:

    Sorry.. I meant … Settlement Permit or Normal residency.

    Thank You

  29. Bobo says:

    Hallo Andreas,am really greatful for what you do here truly its a blessing to have you. I have lived in Germany for the last 7 years but under student-visa. I graduated last year and i got a full-time job but not in the field of what i studied, i also have a 400Euro basis job of the field i studied . I need to change my Aufenthalterlaubnis since am still under paragraph 16 for student-visa, but am afraid to go to the auslaenderbehoerde for the fear of what if they deny me the visa with the grounds i need a full time job of what i studied. can i be able to change my visa with the job i have even though its full time but not in the field i studied or for me to be able to change my visa title i need to get a job of my field?.
    Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Because this thread on naturalization is already getting quite long, I’d like to keep questions about visas and residence permits separate. I’ll put up a separate set of FAQs as soon as somebody mails me one of the books from my wishlist to motivate me.

      But as you have been living in Germany for 7 years already, you might want to consider applying for German citizenship if you fulfil the language requirement.

  30. Bobo says:

    Hallo Andreas thanks for quick reply. Well i would consider applying for the German citizenship but i need to change my visa first coz i still have a studentvisa. If i know how i can change it to paragraph 18 then i would apply for the citizenship. my wish is also to apply for the citizenship.

  31. Ashraf says:

    I am Egyptian with 2 kids and I am getting married to a German. We will not be living in Germany would the kids get the German citizenship if I get mine? (Considering the above mentioned requirements, German literacy, exam, etc.)

    • It’s possible, but it’s not automatic. Naturalization according to § 14 StAG requires strong ties to Germany, and it’s usually harder for children to have formed these ties. As a minimum, they would be required to go to German schools and speak German.

  32. Mohsin says:

    I came here in Germany 2 years before with my wife and daughter as a Asylum Seeker from Pakistan. Now after 2 years our asylum case is passed and we have got Aufenthaltserlaubnis for 3 years. My other family members lives in the UK and we want to go to the UK and live with them. My questions are:
    1. I have read that refugees can apply for nationality after 6 year of legal continued residence. Is our time as asylum seekers also includes as legal residence.
    2. How many minimum years or months we have to work without welfare help to get citizenship.
    3. I have read that if one from husband or wife is capable of getting citizenship and apply it, his or her dependents can get citizenship without fulfilling other requirements like not have to stay in Germany for 8 or 6 years. What other requirements can be avoided. Is language course B1 and no welfare help also includes this.

  33. Csilla says:

    I am hungarian citizen living in germany since 2011 but legally started working , paying insurance, etc from 2012 ..
    My question is how long do i need to live in germany to nutrealise for german citizenship ?? I have no problem with my german language ability .
    Thanks for your answer in advance

  34. hamza says:

    I’m married to German citizen for 2 years but we live abroad .
    my level in German is B2.
    Can I apply for citizenship after one year ?

  35. Denise says:

    Hi Andreas,

    Well it appears from the info from your blog that my hopes for a dual citizenship are not possible. I was born in West Germany to American parents living as ex-pats in Germany. My parents lived in Frankfurt for 26 years. When I turned 18, I was presented with a document to choose my nationality. I was too young to understand what to do and did not really understand the options, so I kept my American passport rather than give it up. Back then, the US did not accept dual citizenships.

    I took 14 years of German (a little rusty now, but fixable). I was hoping to be able to run my business and live in both the US and the EU. Not sure that is possible now. I have a professional friend – a photographer – who is German, now living here five years with two passports. She told me it was easy especially if my birth certificate states West Germany. All I had to do was go to a consulate. Hmmmmm….

    Denise

  36. Denise says:

    I forgot to add that I lived in Germany until age 20. Went to Switzerland for one year of college and then transferred to a university in the U.S.

    Thanks,

    Denise

  37. Andreas – I am a US Citizen but first generation American. Both my mother and father immigrated to the US as young adults. All my relatives live in Germany on both sides… Do I qualify to get German Citizenship? If yes, can you tell me if there is a qualified, trustworthy company that helps with this process?

    Also – If I qualify, could my US born children qualify under me?

    • I can’t say for sure because you didn’t mention when you were born and what citizenship your parents held at the time of your birth, but I strongly suspect that you will find the answer to your question in my more general FAQ on German citizenship law.

      There is no need to get any company involved. It’s usually a waste of money, as they wouldn’t do anything that you can’t do yourself.

      • Andreas — I was born in 1966 in US. My mother got her US Citizenship in the late 70’s.. so she was a German citizen when I was born. My father also immigrated but my mother does not remember when he got his US citizenship – if it was after we where born or before since as a German he worked with the US military. He died when I was 4.

      • If your father was still German in 1966, you automatically received German citizenship at birth.
        If he was not, then no. 8 of the above FAQ addresses your case exactly.

  38. Thank you Andreas – one last question … I just found out my father got US citizenship in 61 – 5 years before I was born. Will this now make it hard? Should I not try?

    • The answer is in no. 8 of the above FAQ. You qualify for naturalization without living in Germany and without having to give up your US citizenship. Typically, the language test is one of the biggest hurdles. But then you can work on your German, as there is no time limit for you to apply.

  39. Roslyn Daniels says:

    I am applying for a German Passport for my son who was born in South Africa, father is German however – I was married for 5 years to his father who lives in Berlin and is married again. Can I apply for a German passport for myself as well?

  40. Angela says:

    Hi, I have been married for 20 years, my husband is German but did not grow up in Germany he does however have German citizenship, my three sons also have German citizenship even though they have never lived in Germany. We are currently living in Norway. So my question is this, if I learnt to speak German would I be able to apply for German citizenship even though I am not living in Germany? Thanks for your time!

    • As mentioned in the FAQ above, speaking German very well is a minimum requirement. In addition to that, you would need to show very close ties to Germany (as a country, not to your German family members).

  41. Rimal says:

    Hi Andreas Moser,
    Its me Rimal from Essen. I am living in Germany since 8.5 years. I completed my Bachelor in Electical Engineeing from Germany in German medium. Right now i am doing Master in Electrical Engineering and working 20 hrs per week at Electrical company, ABB Group in Germany. I have contributions to the German pension system since last 63 monthe. I am financing my self since i came to Germany, no welfare has taken.

    My question is, can you please suggest me about naturalization of Citizenship in Germany. How much possibility do you see that i am qualified to apply for German citizenship? How much chance do you see in my case ?

    My Visa is going to expire by coming july. There is no problem in further extension. But i am thinking if i am qualified on naturalized citizen in Germany, then i should apply.

    Your advice will be really helpful.

    I am looking forward to listen from you.

    Thank you

    regards
    Rimal

    • Hello Rimal,

      you will find more information on my general FAQ on obtaining German citizenship. (This page is only for the special case of applicants who don’t live in Germany.)

      It sounds like you meet all the requirements. You would still need to pass a citizenship test and provide proof that you speak German at least at the B1 level. With your experience, I assume that this should not be any problem.

  42. Lala says:

    Hello Andreas, thank you for all the information, I live abroad and my husbands is German citizen working directly with the Government. How long do you think it will take me for getting the citizenship after applying? We have 8 years marriage and good knowledge of German language. Thank you.

  43. Adelie says:

    Hi Andreas,
    My husband has German citizenship because his mother was German, although he was born and lives in the U.S. We’re considering moving to Europe. Will I be able to apply for German citizenship from the U.S.? I have never been to Germany and I do not speak German.
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and advice.

    • Without any ties to Germany and without any language skills, there is no chance for naturalization from abroad.

      But as the wife of a European citizen, you can stay with him in any EU member country without any further conditions (EC regulation 2004/38).

  44. MOHAMMED says:

    Hello Andreas,

    Could you please evaluate my case and let me know the probability of getting a German citizenship and how could you help me with it.

    1. I ve been living in Germany for the past 4 years (50 months to be exact).
    2. I am employed at a German company and I have a blue card.
      3.I did my MSc(Master of Science) from German University and I have been working as a student, intern and thesis ever since I came to Germany.

      1. I also have a B1 certificate and I believe is better than B1 currently.
        5 . I have also passed the Einburgerungstest with a good score 27/33.

    Do I need to wait for two more years to apply for citizenship or can I apply within few months? Youe advice will be very much appreciated.

  45. Mona says:

    Dear Andreas,

    God bless you and thank you for sharing all of this information.

    My husband has recently got the German Citizenship with my new baby born. He now has an entsendung for two years to Dubai from his German company.
    I have been living in Germany for a year and have passed the Integration Kurs exams (B1 level and Orientierung). The ausländerbehörde luckily told us that these two years will be counted for my citizenship. However, they refused to give me a bestätigung for two years when they knew my passport will finish in a year and a half. They gave me a bestätigung for one year only meaning I have to come next year to apply again for the residency.

    How can I apply again for residency if my husband will have to do abmeldung in Germany before leaving?

    If we can’t, will this year of residency at least be counted for me later on when we come back?
    What do you think?

    • The easiest thing would be to get a new passport which will be valid throughout the 2 years of your husband’s stay in Dubai.

      Does your child have German citizenship? If so, you can always extend your residence permit based on your child as long as he or she remains in Germany.

      • Mona says:

        Thank you Andreas for your prompt response.

        Unfortunately, I still have a year and half validity :)
        I contacted my embassy and being a Syrian citizen, I can only renew my passport when I have 6 months of validity.

        As for my child, he has the German citizenship but he is coming with us.

        Two more questions please:

        1) You said that this is the easiest way, what difficult options do I have?
        We thought of coming again next year to do anmeldung for one month only because we can’t afford paying taxes for a whole year, that would be too much…do you think this is possible? We are just not sure it would work.

        2) I hope I understood correctly, I have read your previous responses and learned that years of residence are usually counted even when a residence permit is over and later renewed. Is this true in all cases?

      • Oh, I misunderstood the situation at first. I thought your husband will go to Dubai and you and your son will remain in Germany.

        1) You can actually return with your son only. As he is a German citizen, he can come to Germany anytime, you can get him registered and you can stay with him even if your husband is not there (§ 28 I Nr. 3 AufenthG). This way your husband would not have to pay any taxes in Germany.

        2) Yes, § 12b II StAG states that up to 5 years of previous residence are counted towards the residency requirement for obtaining German citizenship.

        As to the time that you spend in Dubai, usually your residence in Germany is interrupted if you leave for more than 6 months (§ 12b I 1 StAG). If you wish to stay away longer and have it count towards residence, you need the permission by the Ausländerbehörde according to § 12b I 2 StAG, which is hopefully what you received. In this case, you can stay in Dubai for the year that they permitted and you only need to come back towards the end of that year, apply for a new Syrian passport and renew the permit for another year. Then you can join your husband in Dubai again.

      • Mona says:

        Andreas, your response is very helpful.
        I didn’t know i can use my baby’s name for registration and residency permits.

        God bless you a million times.

        Had the situation been better, I would’ve invited you over for a tour in beautiful Syria.
        But anyway, if you like adventures, feel free to contact me for that anytime :)

        Have a nice day!

      • Thank you very much!

        I am very sorry about the situation in Syria. Actually I am not only sorry, but really angry that the world is not doing anything to support what started as a peaceful revolution against the dictatorship of Bashar Assad. They waited for a few years and now use the presence of Islamists as an excuse, although these Islamists might never have shown up (or become so influential) if we had helped the people in Syria earlier.

        I have actually been to Syria once, but only for a few days in Damascus. I have very fond memories of the old city and of Umayyad Mosque. I have always wanted to return to Syria and it makes me angry to see how much of it will be destroyed when/if this conflict will be over.

  46. Mona says:

    Happy to know there are still humans out there who have feelings at all towards whats happening.
    Exactly! As you said, they waited then found an excuse.
    Or perhaps waited for the excuse to be well cooked…isn’t that politics?

    It is devastating for me to see my country’s human resources and its great heritage being destroyed. As if the scenario was perfectly planned by the regime from the beginning especially with the emergence of so called ‘Daesh’ Group.
    I keep wondering why the regime keeps bombing and shelling civilians and rebels but never bombs Daesh! On the other hand, Daesh slaughters civilians or rebels but nothing significant is done against the regime. What coincidence is that?

    Wherever the truth is, I personally find it ironic the way the Regime feels comfortable to use ‘Islamists’ (in a country of muslim majority) as a scarecrow to people and the International Community. More ironic is that the international community doesn’t feel embarrassed to use it as an excuse. Again, it is politics. No shame whatsoever :)

    As for your visit to Damascus, the old city in Damascus is actually the most interesting in it. If you have seen it already then you haven’t missed seeing much elsewhere.
    Unless u decide to live in it, Damascus really has a very ambiguous charm and a unique lifestyle to experience. You are talking to an admiring local.

    Yet, Syria in general has much to see. Aleppo, Latakia, Palmyra, Daraa, Idlib, Homs..etc.
    All of them are interesting but unfortunately easy access to charming places has not been developed in the last 40 years. Not to mention the sad destruction we have now as you posted in your link.

    Anyway, there is always hope. You are a citizen of a country that got destroyed after a world war. As a believer in Divine Justice, I know oppressors don’t stay for long.
    Thus, I will reserve your right to contact me anyway whenever things get better :)

    • I think I know what you mean about Damascus. It was really a stark contrast between the old city and the new city. I tried to spend as much time as possible in the old city. :-)

      I wanted to go to Palmyra and had even managed to get a bus ticket (with the help of a friendly customer of the travel agency who could translate), but then I overslept the next morning and missed the bus. :-(

      • Mona says:

        Dear Andreas,

        I asked you about my residency permit last year and the years that count towards nationalization from abroad. I had a couple of problems then and you gave me a great solution that advised I can go back to germany again this year with my 1 year old german baby, register him and renew my residency without the need for my husband to be with me. You told me that this way my husband will not have to pay taxes from abroad. SInce it’s only his baby who he registered in Germany and not personally him.

        My problem now is that my husband is very hesitant to make this step because he is not 100 % sure that the Finanzamt will not charge taxes on him in case of the registration of his son.

        Is there any law reference clearly stating that no taxes are charged on the father in this case. Who do you think I should ask to make sure? My husband is also asking if we need a lawyer for this, can you hold this case and sell us your time and efforts?

        We would also be very happy to have you as a guest in Dubai if you ever passed by and needed a residence.

        Waiting for your kind reply I remain.

        Mona

  47. Georg says:

    I’m German & my wife is Lebanese. Can she get the German passport without living in Germany? We are married since 1997

    • Genau das hoffe ich in den obenstehenden Fragen und Antworten zu beantworten, aber natürlich hängt alles vom Einzelfall ab. Die Einbürgerung aus dem Ausland ist eine Ermessensentscheidung.

  48. Rhonda Jackson says:

    My husband and i are American. My daughter and son were born in 1993 and 1995 in Heidelberg Germany . My husband moved to Germany with his family when he was 15 (his father was a contractor with the United States) He was not in the military. My husband ended up working for a German company and was a resident in Germany, holding a residency and work permit when my children were born. Do my children qualify for German Citizenship? My husband and i no longer live in Germany , however he is still with the same company after all these years he just works for the American side of the company now.
    Thank you for your help,
    Rhonda

    • Your children might have qualified for German citizenship based on their birth in Germany (see no. 4 of my general FAQ on German citizenship), but the deadline for them to apply ended in the year 2000 (§ 40b StAG).
      That leaves your children with the option of naturalization if they meet all the criteria outlined in the FAQ above.

  49. Carmen says:

    Hi Andreas,

    By chance I landed in your blog when I was looking for naturalisation in Germany. In the 10 FAQ page you mentioned, ‘For the spouse of a German citizen, this requirement is usually 3 years (of which you need to have been married for the last 2 years).’

    My German husband and I (non-EEA national) is now residing in the UK since 2008. Previously I was a student studying at a university in Germany for 5 years (2002 – 2007) with a student visa and spouse visa. The degree I did at university was taught in English but did my German language course before studying in Germany up to C1 level (obtained in 2002). In 2005 we were married (not in Germany) but the marriage certificate is recognised through “Apostille” and was accepted by the local town hall where we used to live in Germany. In 2008 we moved together from Germany to the UK. My question now is, can I naturalise as a German through “marriage”? Can this be applied outside Germany, e.g. the UK?

    I am a bit concerned as I am not sure that 3 years residence requirement – whether or not I must have been married for 3 years or it could count before marriage?

    Many thanks!

    • If you apply for naturalization from outside of Germany, it is completely up to the discretion of the immigration authority. There is no specific time required, but you will have to show extremely close ties. In your case, you may be asked to show that you have closer ties to Germany than to the UK despite living there.

      Given the time you have been living in the UK, it might be easier to apply for naturalization in the UK.

  50. Diana says:

    Was wondering if you could answer a question, I am a dual citizen from birth as my mother is a German citizen and my father an American citizen. My mother has always told us that my children will be a dual citizen as well, but my grandchildren would not. I cannot seem to find any documentation online that proves or disproves that. I have a 2 year old and currently pregnant, am planning on making a trip to the German mission (consulate) after his birth to see what I need to do to renew my passport and get them set up, but until then thought I would throw the question out there and see what sort of answers I get.

    Thanks for you time.

    • First of all, your grandchildren’s citizenship will depend on the laws that will be in place when they will be born. That sounds like it’s very far in the future, so the laws may change a lot. Secondly, it will also depend on the citizenship of the other parent (which nobody knows yet) and on where the child will be born (which nobody knows yet).

      Based on current German citizenship law, if the German parent was born outside of Germany in the year 2000 or later and gives birth outside of Germany, then German citizenship is not passed on automatically (§ 4 IV 1 StAG). This could apply if one of your children will ever have children.

      They will be able to avoid the fate of losing German citizenship if they register the birth with the German consulate within one year after the birth (§ 4 IV 2 StAG). Make sure they don’t forget that!

  51. Suresh says:

    Hi Andreas,

    I ‘m living in Germany with my wife and 2 kids. I came to Germany on study visa and then after my study finished and I got the Job and then in Oct 2012 I got German nationality. My wife came to Germany in September 2009, she is still Indian national (we married in India and she came to Germany on family reunion visa ). My both kids are also German national. We also bought a house in Germany.

    Now due a project my employer is sending me to Poland for 3 years assignment with family. It is not problem for me and my kids because of German nationality. My wife has German residence visa till march 2015. My employer will arrange residence permit of Poland for my wife (India national).

    My wife is preparing to get B1 German certificate, so that she can apply for German nationally. But still she don’t have B1 certificate, so she can’t apply. Now if we shift to Poland, can she still apply for German nationally? As we will leave German residence for 3 years (we will still keep our house in Germany and will visit frequently). We are afraid that after 3 years assignment, when we will come back to Germany, she again need to wait 3 years before she can apply for Germany nationality .

    What are best options for her to get German nationally? Which rule will apply for her? Any help really appreciated.

    Many thanks for your help.
    Suresh

    • The time that your wife already stayed in Germany will still count, despite the interruption: § 12b II StAG. Therefore she won’t start at 0 when you will return to Germany.

      So you have two options:
      – She can wait until you will return to Germany and apply then.
      – Or she could try to use § 14 StAG and apply for German citizenship while you live in Poland.

      Because the second option requires very strong ties to Germany and is only granted by discretion, and because you know that you will return to Germany in 3 years, I would probably go for the first option. Of course it would be useful for your wife’s chances if she uses the time to learn German and get the required certificates, maybe even higher than the B1. Depending on where you live in Poland, there will be a Goethe Institute or you might even find locals who speak German.

      • Suresh says:

        many thanks for the prompt response…
        My German is not bad, but the legal German is very difficult.

        So what 12b II StAG really say? For me very difficult to understand ;-) Specially the part “sich aus einem seiner Natur nach nicht vorübergehenden Grund”…

        (2) Hat der Ausländer sich aus einem seiner Natur nach nicht vorübergehenden Grund länger als sechs Monate im Ausland aufgehalten, kann die frühere Aufenthaltszeit im Inland bis zu fünf Jahren auf die für die Einbürgerung erforderliche Aufenthaltsdauer angerechnet werden.

        And If she try § 14 StAG (as her husband (I) and kid are German, we have house in Germany and she lived in Germany long time), in your opinion, usually how long this option takes for decision? And if she apply and get -ve decision, does this will have any impact on other options, like first option you described.

        (3) Unterbrechungen der Rechtmäßigkeit des Aufenthalts bleiben außer Betracht, wenn sie darauf beruhen, dass der Ausländer nicht rechtzeitig die erstmals erforderliche Erteilung oder die Verlängerung des Aufenthaltstitels beantragt hat.

        As we will keep our house in Germany and visit frequently, is this possible that she keep her residency further in Germany and also get her visa extended from Germany (so called hauptwohnsitz und nebenwohnsitz).

        many thanks for your help.

      • Using § 14 StAG usually takes a long time. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend it here. There is no point in trying it before your wife has a very high standard of German (preferably higher than B1), so it might take some time still anyway, and by then you will soon return to Germany.

        I also thought of the option of your wife keeping her residence in Germany, but I don’t know where in Poland you will move to and if that would be feasible. You cannot have a Nebenwohnsitz in Germany if your Hauptwohnsitz is abroad, so your wife would really need to remain in Germany (or at least pretend to).

      • Suresh says:

        Andreas God bless you and many thanks….

        i just want to add, i will be on expats contract, so this means that even i will go to Poland (exactly Krakow), i will still get my partial salary in Germany and i will pay the social security, pension, etc further in Germany and also in Poland (my company will manage it)…

        Does she need the permission by the Ausländerbehörde according to § 12b I 2 StAG before we go to Poland? As her Visa is only valid for march 2015, Can she come back to Germany and apply again for extension of visa with Ausländerbehörde before it is expired?

        Can ausländerbehörde give us presmission that these three years will be counted for my wife’s citizenship? should they give us in written form?

        sorry many question,

        many thanks and Gold bless you for this good work…

      • You could also ask for the Ausländerbehörde’s permission before your move to Poland. However, I am not sure they will grant it for 3 years. (The typical cases of § 12b I 2 StAG are students who go abroad for a year.) But there is no harm in asking.

        The Ausländerbehörde won’t provide any guarantee on citizenship, they can only give your wife a waiver from the 6-month rule in § 12b I 1 StAG. But the rule on citizenship is in the Citizenship Act, § 12b II, so there is no need to get a document about it.

        Krakow unfortunately is too far to pretend that you are still living in Germany.

        One other thing which might work is this: you all move to Krakow, but simply retain the registration in Germany. Because Poland and Germany are both in Schengen, the immigration authorities will never know where you really are. If you still receive a salary in Germany and pay into the German social security system, nobody might notice. (And nobody will look at it anyway, as long as you are not applying for a renewal of your wife’s residence permit.)
        If your wife is quick with her German course, she might apply for citizenship in March 2015 when her current residence permit will expire.
        But this would only work if you live in a larger city where nobody will notice that you are actually not there anymore. If you live in a small town and the immigration officer is your neighbor, then that won’t work of course.

        There are a lot of creative (or dodgy) solutions, but we should keep in mind that your wife’s citizenship application will not depend so much on how long she lived in Germany, but on her German language level and on your financial situation, as well as on other factors conducive to integration in Germany.

      • Suresh says:

        Hi Andreas,

        many thanks… we are a bit clear now concerning citizenship. so let put citizenship aside.

        One question relating to German residence permit.
        As her German residence permit will expire in March 2015, as we will be living in Poland (Schengen country), so she can simply come back to Germany let say in Feb 2015 and apply for extension of her German residence permit. Would this work?

        you gave an answer to Mona on 21 May

        “As to the time that you spend in Dubai, usually your residence in Germany is interrupted if you leave for more than 6 months (§ 12b I 1 StAG). If you wish to stay away longer and have it count towards residence, you need the permission by the Ausländerbehörde according to § 12b I 2 StAG, which is hopefully what you received. In this case, you can stay in Dubai for the year that they permitted and you only need to come back towards the end of that year, apply for a new Syrian passport and renew the permit for another year. Then you can join your husband in Dubai again.

        Can my wife do the same, ask/apply to renew the permit after March 2015?

        Our biggest Goal is that my wife keep all the time valid German residence permit, also during the time when we stay in Poland (3 years)… would it possible? if yes, how?

        many thanks in advance for your help.

      • Yes, you can try to get that permission from the German immigration office, although your wife will also get a Polish residence permit according to EC regulation 2004/38, which is just as useful as both countries are in the Schengen zone.

  52. Schi-baba Welter says:

    Hello Andreas,

    This is a very resourceful site you have here and you are really generous with your information.

    My situation is actually complex. I was adopted by my German Father in Nigeria as you can see from the name, but he did not pull the adoption through in Germany because he was misinformed by the behorde in hamburg. He was advised that he waits until i am 18 before he went ahead with the adoption. He is a man that had worked almost all his life in nigeria and had little or no knowledge about the laws of his own home land, so he fell for it. When we went back to the behorde when i was 18, it was told him that it was too late and i could not be adopted because i was already 18. This was like putting a hole in his heart because he has no natural kids of his own and he fell in love with me the moment he saw me as a baby in Nigeria.
    I have been traveling to germany since the age of 5 every 2 years with my adopted father. After my secondary school was the age i travelled with him back to settle down there and he would do the adoption. But unfortunately things went the way they went. I stayed in germany for close to 3 years, learnt the language and even got the KDS Diploma from Goethe Institute. I even started an intern program with Panalpina in Hamburg but after 3 months of work i was asked to stop work as i could not be paid because i did not have a work permit. We tried a couple of things then but could not get any head way. I and my adopted father decided i come back to nigeria and continue with my university education here. I also travelled back several times to visit my Adopted father.

    In the time now, i am a graduate of computer science and have worked as a Systems/Network Administrator and presently as a Maintenance Supervisor.

    My concern now is this, with the times i have travelled to Germany from birth, and also spent in germany, my ties as in Friends and Families i have made in germany and also being able to speak and write the language, can i apply for Residency through Naturalisation by Discretion? It gives me so much worries that every time i have to travel to germany to visit my Father in his old age, i always have to go through the process of applying for a Visa. Is there no other way around it, that i would not need a Visa to enter Germany when i am going to visit him? Would it be possible to apply for this, even if i would still be living and working in Nigeria?, would it still be possible to carry on with an adoption now in germany, even if i would not have the full rights of a german? Also would inheritance give me the possibility of having a residency?

    I would really appreciate if you can help out with your advice

    Many thanks in advance.

    • There is a possibility to perform the adoption even though you are already an adult because there seems to be a genuine father-son relationship. As you mentioned, this would however not bestow citizenship on you directly. But I think that it would – in combination with all the other factors that you have mentioned – provide a strong case for your naturalization as a German citizen.

      Because inheritance is only a concern once your father would pass away, I would recommend that we focus on the adoption instead.

  53. diaconur says:

    Hello!
    I was wondering what is the shortest period possible in which someone can become a German citizen, without being married to a German person? I intend to do a master and a PhD in there, learn the language, find a job and buy a house. Given this, is it possible to become German in less than 8 or 6 years?
    Your opinion will be very much appreciated.
    Thank you!

    • Well, how long will it take you to get both your intended degrees, find a job and become fluent in German?

      • diaconur says:

        Well the masters is 2 years and the PhD 3 years so it would be about 5 years. During this time I can learn German and I can find a job while I am studying for my master. Would they give me citizenship in 5 years if I do all these things?

      • Because a lot will change in 5 years, it’s really best if you contact me again then.

  54. Bernard Odendaal says:

    Guten tag Andreas,
    I was born in South Africa in 1960 – 254 years after Wilhelm Odendall (born 1685 Cologne, Germany) – the first Odendall (now spelled Odendaal) arrived in South Africa (in 1706). He lived in Keulen prior to his move to South Africa in 1705/06.
    He died on 19 January 1732 (although SA Genealogies erroneously date it as 29 January 1732).

    My question – would I qualify for German Citizenship? I deeply value my German Ancestral roots and am proud of it.

  55. Akinlolu Akinbobola says:

    Hello Moser,
    Thank you for your information. It’s very helpful. Pls I would like a little clarification about this German naturalisation from you. I am a nigerian but was given birth to in Germany in 1979 by Nigerian Parents whom as at that time were working and studying in Germany. My parents both came home in 1981, but I still have my Germans certificate of birth. I am a graduate of plant science and would like to go back to Germany for my master and Phd and at the same time would like to do the naturalisation stuff if possible. I have done A1 and A2 from Goethe. Kindly enlighten me more on it.
    Looking forward to hear from you soon.
    Thanks

  56. Alex says:

    Dear Andreas,

    I am married to a German citizen, but we don’t live in Germany; we live in Switzerland. Could I apply for German citizenship? You mentioned that there are certain situations in which it is possible to apply for German citizenship even though you don’t live in Germany, but I was not sure whether my situation was covered. I would greatly appreciate your advice. Best regards.

  57. Camilla says:

    Hi Andreas
    I am a German citizen living in Berlin. My grandmother, also a German citizen has been living in South Africa since December 1952 at the age of 20. I have recently visited her in South Africa and would like to bring her to live with me in Berlin to look after her in her old age. I was wondering what the chances are that she would receive a German state pension if she moved back to Germany now.
    Thank you and best wishes,
    Camilla

    • Because that has nothing to do with the topic of these FAQ, I’d recommend that you contact me directly for a consultation. I would need to know your grandmother’s and her husband’s employment history for that. I charge 200 EUR for an initial consultation.

  58. Farzad Mengal says:

    Hi, I came to Germany 21 Aug 2011, and my wife is German citizen, when i went to applly for German citizen they said to me when i have Perminent job then they give me a German cityzenship, do we need Perminent job for German nationality?

    best regards.

    • A permanent job is not required, but you will need to show that you consistently have enough income to support yourself.

      • farzad mengal says:

        Then how i prove that for German Nationaly there is no requrment for perminent job. Because they said to me when u have perminent job then you can apply.

      • I can send you an e-mail with the relevant sections from the Citizenship Law and from the immigration authority’s internal guidelines.
        Unfortunately I charge 200 EUR for an initial consultation.

  59. Lorna Hartmann says:

    Hallo Andreas,
    I have an intention to apply for a German Citizen from Canada. My situation is this: I am married to a German for over 30 years. I lived in Germany for 14 years and worked there for 9 years before my husband and my daughter and my self moved to the Philippines in 1998. In 2007, I moved to Canada to work until at present. Mean time my daughter has worked at the German Embassy Manila from 2007-2012 als Sprach Assistentin in der Verwaltung. In October 2012, She and her husband moved to Germany and found a good work in a family owned company, and while her husband ist Krankenpfleger in einem Altenheim. I have a work in Canada als Haushaelteirn und verdiene nicht schlecht. Bezahle alle Soziale Beitraege an der kanadishe Regierung. I’ve got 2 sisters in Germany too. Mein Mann hat auch noch Konto in Deutschland. Mein Deutsh kenntnis ist nicht schlecht. Wie steht meine Chancen fuer die Einbuergerung. P.S. Ich war letztes Jahr in Deutschland zum besuch aber nur 3 Wochen…Vielen Dank im voraus!!!

    • 1. It would have been easier to do this before 1998 when you still lived in Germany. :-)

      2. You might have a case. I would only be worried because your long stay in Germany has been so long ago and it would help if you are also engaged in some social, academic, political or economic activities related to Germany now in Canada. What your children are doing does not really count that much because they can apply for German citizenship themselves if they qualify.

      3. Do you have Canadian citizenship or are you planning to apply for that as well? If you apply for naturalization in Germany, Germany would require you to give up your Canadian citizenship (if you have it), which might make things more complicated for you if you plan to stay in Canada. If you don’t have Canadian citizenship yet, you would need to be present a case in which you have stronger ties to Germany than to Canada, which might be hard after living and working in Canada for 7 years.

  60. Abrar says:

    Hi, first of all it is a great job that you are doing here, thanks.

    My question will be about moving temporarily to overseas while holding German residence permit types. I am a Lebanese national and I have been living in Germany since 4 years and I am a holder of Blue card valid for next 4 years. My company is asking me to move to US for 2 years of time.

    I am interested to go but I do not want to lose my German citizenship chance which will be coming after 3-4 more years.

    How do you suggest to continue for me? Which of the residence permits among BlueCard/Niederlassungerlaubnis/daueraufenthalt-eg can be most useful for such purpose? (Visiting Europe would also possible for me for 1-2 time a year)

    • Usually a residence permit becomes invalid once you leave Germany for more than 6 months (§ 51 I Nr. 7 AufenthG).

      If you know that you will return to Germany after 2 years, the best thing would be to inform the Ausländerbehörde about your secondment to the US and ask for permission to maintain your residence status during that time (§ 51 IV 1 AufenthG). This will then also could towards your residence time when you will apply for naturalization in Germany (§ 12b I 2 StAG).

  61. eduardo gorne says:

    Dear Mr. Moser,
    Thank you for your time, patience and wonderful information. Best regards

  62. gkolivier@gmail.com says:

    Hallo Andreas
    I am asking out of interest. Would naturalization from abroad be considered under these circumstances? I am living in South Africa, having been married here to a German citizen for more than 8 years. My German is fairly fluent and I speak the language daily. I have done the German Abitur at a German school South Africa, and I work in a German company. When I was still unmarried I spent one year as an exchange student in Germany; later while I was married I lived with my family in Germany on a work visa for 18 months. I have also been in Germany on tourist visas on many occasions over more than 10 years to visit my wife’s family. I now have 2 children who have dual South African and German citizenship, the youngest of them was born in Germany. Perhaps the biggest problem is that I do not want to give up South African citizenship.
    Would it be a waste of time and money to apply for naturalization from abroad?

  63. Ali says:

    Dear Andreas,
    I’m a Syrian inventor living and working in Dubai, due to situation in Syria, I would like to apply for German citizenship. but because of my business in Dubai, im not ready to live in Germany.
    is there are any options for citizenship by investment? like to establish a business in Germany

    regards
    Ali

    • An investment might be enough for a residence permit, but then you would need to live in Germany to exercise it (otherwise you might lose it again after a while).

      The citizenship by discretion is possible if you make investments in Germany, but you would usually have to have other ties to Germany as well (like speaking German, having studied there, family ties).

  64. Saman says:

    Dear Andreas,

    Highly appreciate your all valuble information. I am Sri Lankan and did my Master in Germany ( 3 years) and now working as a Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin ( contributing German pension and tax system and doing my PhD ( still one and few months )in the university. I have about C 1 level German language and working and learning furthermore. Now, altogether I am living here about 4 and 3 months. I will do the Einbürgerungin Test next November. My question is, under my these conditions, can I apply for German Citizenship December 2014.

    Very much appreciate your great information.

    Saman

    • That would probably still be deemed too early. The internal guidelines of the Department of the Interior reduce the regular 8-year residency requirement to 6 years in the case of someone who is highly integrated and almost fluent in German, like yourself. Therefore you would probably still have to wait about 2 years.

  65. Saman says:

    Dear Andreas

    Many thanks for your prompt reply.

  66. Jenna says:

    Dear Andreas,

    Thank you very much for your valuable information. Truly appreciated. To keep it short so as not to waste too much of your time: I am a non-EU citizen married to a German. I went to a German school in my home country from Kindergarten up to the Abitur, which is recognized by the German government (so C2 proficiency). I lived in Spain for 3 years where I earned my degree and met and lived together with my husband there and then we moved together out of the EU for our job (same country). I occasionally teach in Germany on short term basis. Since we regularly visit Germany, I moved my residency from Spain to Germany at the time of our marriage and been keeping it on the basis of registering my place of residence on that of my husband’s family house (or at least that has been the case for the last 4 months).

    My question is: would my residence in another EU country and getting a European degree count towards anything? Would my German school education of 17 years count as ties (mind you that everything was taught in German and was on Germany)? Can I keep a second residence in Germany as a non-EU citizen while living and working abroad with my husband? Based on the above is naturalization an option any time in the future or only when we return to permanently reside in Germany?

    Many thanks in advance!
    JJ

    • What is your citizenship and where do you live now?

      • Jenna says:

        Thank you, Andreas, for the followup. My nationality is Egyptian and we both work in Lebanon.

      • Thank you!

        The factors that would count in your favour are the German education, your time spent in Germany, your marriage to a German, your fluency in German, and the knowledge about and interest in German affairs you might have.

        The time spent in Spain really does not help, nor does the university degree obtained in Spain unless it was in German studies, German language, German literature or something.

        Regarding the residence, I am not sure what you mean. If you both work in Lebanon, your residence is in Lebanon (unless you commute every day). Being registered somewhere else does not establish residence if you don’t really live there for the majority of the time.

        Overall, I think you might have a shot at naturalization according to § 14 StAG, especially if you continue teaching in Germany. Is your job in Lebanon related to Germany in any way? Do you engage in any Germany-related activities there? That would help further. How long are you planning to stay in Lebanon? One test would be whether you could show that your ties to Germany are actually greater than those to Lebanon, although you live and work in Lebanon (and as an Egyptian obviously also speak the language).

  67. Jenna says:

    Dear Andreas,

    Thank you very much for your very detailed reply. Really, thank you for taking the time for this. Your answer helps a lot! In fact, we are here to work on the refugee situation in Syria and given the fluid situation we cannot know how long our jobs are going to last…therefore we don’t know if it is a permanent job for us or not.

    As for the residency, I think I will lose it after 6 months of not living in Germany, but I wanted to confirm on this. I kept it given that we didn’t know if we will stay in Lebanon for over 6 months or not – again given the unpredictable situation. But we are slowly getting there ;) Hence, it will be visas for me every Christmas and Easter. I do however engage in teaching in Germany every year (at least up until now) and am thinking of working with Goethe in Beirut. So hopefully that would help for the future.

    A million thanks again and good day to you :)

    • Yes, if you could work for/with the Goethe Institute in Beirut or specifically with Syrian refugees planning to go to Germany, that would help a lot.
      It also helps in this context that your situation in Lebanon is not a permanent one.

      Keep up the good job! Viel Erfolg!

  68. Katja says:

    Hello Andreas,

    Would I be able to re-gain my German citizenship? I was born and raised in Germany and married a U.S. Citizen. I became a naturalized U.S. Citizen in 1990 before the law changed that now allows dual citizenship. Now that my spouse is retired, we would like to move back to Germany. While my spouse is not intending to work, I would like to work and understand that it is more difficult to get a work permit and job for U.S. citizens based on the “Vorrangprinzip” for EU/EFTA members.

    Your advice and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Katja

    • Yes, you can apply for re-naturalization in Germany, but you would be asked to give up your US citizenship.

      If you are not ready to do that, you could apply for a residence permit as a former German in accordance with § 38 AufenthG, which includes a work permit (§ 38 IV AufenthG), but – depending on your qualifications – it might be harder to get a job with the residence permit than with German citizenship, as you noted.

  69. harmonie00ie says:

    Hello I have a question…
    Well I was born in Cameroon and moved to germany witht he age of 5, where i was living with my cameroonian fatehr and hsi german wife.

    in 1999 I believe I bacame a german citizen and I had to give up cameroonian nationality so did my father.

    Now my question is my mother, which remain in Cameroon, is it possible for her to get the german nationality through me? I guess I am her german tie.

    Also I currently live and work in the UK I am not sure if that would be a problem.

    If you can pelase advise on this I would be gratefull.

    Thank you very much in advance

    • There is no way to sponsor anyone for German citizenship. The requirements need to be met by the person applying, so unless your mother has real ties to Germany and speaks fluent German, there is no chance.

      However, you as a German citizen living in the UK could possibly sponsor your mother to join you in the UK under EC Regulation 2004/38. See more about this on my FAQ on freedom of movement within the EU.

  70. red says:

    THANK YOU!!!! for the massive amount of information.

    I would greatly appreciate if you could give me some pointers. Will try to be brief!

    Born in Germany (on an American military base I believe) 1986, currently 28
    German mother, American father
    Moved to America by age of 2, have never been back to Germany
    Mother passed away while I was a teenager

    I am planning to visit Germany next year and am attempting to reach out to my family over there. I’m feeling the desire to move to Germany, master another language, and challenge myself in a new environment. While I visit, I plan to feel the country out and evaluate whether or not I would like to try living in Germany.

    I have been living abroad in Japan for 5 years and speak/read/write fluent Japanese, so I know how to study foreign languages and have experience abroad. I am studying German now and am working hard for fluency! Actually German was the first foreign language I studied, but only in high school courses (though I seem to have retained a good bit and have a good head start).

    1. Given that my “ties” to Germany seem to have been severed, how realistic is citizenship, and what can I do to increase my chances? (working on the language ability)
    2. If citizenship is too difficult to obtain in the meantime, does the law offer any advantages to “German birthright” individuals who simply wish to obtain a visa/residency? In other words, the ability to live and work in Germany, but not participate in politics etc.

    If the answer is very grey and difficult, any sort of help or general advice to keep me moving would simply be amazing as well. Thank you.

    • I may have good news for you: if your mother was a German citizen at the time of your birth and you did not apply for naturalization in the US (and I assume you got US citizenship from birth because of your American father), then you HAVE German citizenship ALREADY.

      In order to obtain a German passport, you would need to show that your mother was a German citizen in 1986 (her birth certificate, her old passport, old records from Germany) and that you are your mother’s son (your birth certificate).

      The FAQ above actually apply to you at all because you don’t need to apply for naturalization. After 1975, being born to a German mother made you a natural born German (§ 4 I 1 StAG).

      It’s good that you find out about this now instead of another 28 years later, I would say. :-) Enjoy Germany!

  71. Janet says:

    I am married to a German citizen since 1993. We are living in the Caribbean. We have to German children already adults. I speak German because I learned in the German embassy courses. But I have never lived in germany. Only in the Caribbean. Can I ask for German passport.? Which possibilities do I have? Thanks for your answers. Blesses

    • No. 3 and 4 of the FAQ above should be a good guideline, and then you have to decide if you think you have strong enough ties to Germany. There needs to be more than the marriage because that can be dissolved at any time of course.

  72. Petr Molnár says:

    I would like to ask you for help. My great-grandfather (born 1904), my great-grandmother (born 1904) and grandmother (born 1934) and also their ancestors was German they lived in former Czechoslovakia and did not lose their German nationality during their lives. My German grandmother married Czech grandfather in 1953, have a daughter in 1959 (my mother) and I was born in 1987 to Czech parents, there is any chance how to receive citizenship for me or my mother?
    I think my mother has a chance to get German citizenship through naturalization (§ 14 Stag) as a child that was born to German mother in 1959 but I suppose it would be limited only for my mother, so that I could not gain German citizenship from her, could I? The naturalization of s child of German mother (born from 1953 to 1975) means it gains German citizenship from date of birth or from date of receiving an official certificate of naturalization?

  73. Praveen Thomas says:

    Hello Andreas,
    I have two doubts related to citizenship eligibility.
    1. My wife has completed the integration course and she is not working as well.If she continues till B2 level, whether she can file citizenship application in 6 yrs residence completion?
    2. We are not getting any un-employment benfitis since my salry range is above the limit.We are in public health insurance paid by me as well. In this case, Is it mandatory that she also should work while filing citizenship application in 6 yrs (integration + B2) or 7 yrs with integration course level?
    Reason is school authoruty told that she needs to study atleast C1 level to work here.I don’t know if it is just for shcool business or reality.After integration course the money I need to invest should be worthly, that’s why.

    Thank you for your feedback.
    Praveen Thomas

  74. Emanuel says:

    hi andreas
    I have romanian citizenship how much i would have to live in germany to get german citizenship
    How i have EU citizenship i think that it will take less than 8 years
    Thanks

    • There are no special rules for other EU citizens, unless you come from a country/region where German is the first language and it is your mother tongue.

      • Emanuel says:

        So the time for me will be 8 years ,thanks for the answer
        By the way dont you know about austrian naturalisation or where i can find about it
        And i would like to know if in Austria there is no special rules for other EU ,if the time to live there would be shorter
        Thanks

  75. Pablo says:

    Dear Andreas,
    Vielen dank für diesen blog und deine hilfe.
    Ich habe deinen ganzen Blog gelesen und wollte nur gerne ein paar Fragen stellen.
    My mother’s side of the family (including her) were all born in Germany. Nonetheless, by 1960’s, they all came to Brazil and my mother (aged 24) naturalized Brazilian due to job opportunities and later marrying my Brazilian father. I was born 6 years after that (1982) in Brazil and my grandparents never gave up their German citizenship. Currently, both my grandparents as well as my mother passed away and I hold a Brazilian and American passport; however, due to my career prospects in the UK and Switzerland, I would like to investigate the possibility of obtaining the German citizenship through my family ties.
    Glaubst du dass das möglich ist?
    Viellen dank,
    Pablo

    • Hallo Pablo,
      leider nein. Als Deine Mutter die brasilianische Staatsbürgerschaft beantragte und annahm, verlor sie dadurch die deutsche Staatsbürgerschaft (§ 25 I StAG). Sie war deshalb keine Deutsche mehr als Du geboren wurdest.
      Anders wäre es nur, wenn Deine Mutter die brasilianische Staatsbürgerschaft ohne Antrag erhalten hätte (z.B. automatisch mit der Heirat) oder wenn sie einen Antrag auf Beibehaltung der deutschen Staatsangehörigkeit nach § 25 II StAG gestellt hätte.
      Deine einzige Möglichkeit wäre also die Einbürgerung in Deutschland, aber dann müßtest Du die brasilianische und amerikanische Staatsbürgerschaft aufgeben.

      • Pablo says:

        Hallo Andreas,
        Noch einmal vielen Dank für Ihre Hilfe.
        Ich hatte es schon mir dashalb vorgeshtelt dass die Einbürgerung aus meiner Mutter die Ende der Linie war…, aber ich brauchte die ansicht von einem Experten zu hören.
        Alles gute in die neue Woche.

        Pablo

  76. Faraz says:

    I want my wife to have German Nationality, she is a Pakistani and we both live in Dubai. What are the chances of her naturalization abroad, and what can be done to improve the chances of her application getting approved? My mother is a German and lives in Hamburg while my father is a Pakistani. My family has strong ties with the German embassy in Pakistan having helped the embassy extract a German citizen who was being held against her will by her husband. My father was also contacted by the embassy when they were looking for a local architect to provide support to a German company for the construction of a school. These ties are, however, my parents ties to the embassy and don’t prove that my wife has any ties to Germany.

  77. Petr Molnár says:

    Hello Andreas,
    I would like to ask you if you could explain me how ethnic
    German emigrants become Ethnic German resettlers in Germany and what
    are the conditions to do so. I have found out that Ethnic German
    resettlers need to speak at least at level B1 of German language (from
    2008 also their family members) and after they resettle to Germany
    they have to stay there permamently (or at least a half year)
    according to § 4 Bundesvertriebenengesetz and § 116 odst. 1 of German
    constitution.
    Petr

  78. Claudio Supode says:

    Hi,

    I’m married to a German citizen, speak fluent German, have a business in Germany, a bank account, a car and pay taxes. I’ve been living here for only 6 months, but I feel very integrated already. If I apply for citizenship now, is it likely to be denied? It takes more than a year to renounce my current citizenship(from a non-EU country). Do I have to wait until I’m stateless or it’s possible to send the papers to the embassy and get a document stating that I requested to renounce my citizenship and continue with the process of getting my German passport? If 6 months is too little, am I likely to succeed if I wait a year? It’s very important for me to get an EU passport since my country won’t issue me a passport because of military service.

    Thank you very much!

  79. Masha says:

    What are the exceptions to give up the existing citizenship rule?

    • There are so many that this would warrant a whole other article. I’ll write that as soon as somebody mails me one of the books from my wishlist in order to motivate me.

      • Masha says:

        This is an impressive list. I will be happy to help, although I am wondering how you plan to write anything with so many books to read :) Back to my question, maybe a bit of details will help. In my case the existing citizenship is Russian. I was wondering whether any of my rights in Russia would be damaged by losing the nationality. I can check it myself, but what could be the options? Right to work? Retirement benefits? Accession to the heirship? Thank you!

      • I will address all of these issues in the new FAQ (because this thread already has too many comments). – You have probably seen that there are some books by Russian authors or about Russia on my wishlist. :)

      • Masha Reid says:

        Yes I have seen that, and the Zwölf Stühle are on their way to you. It’s one of my favourite books. Please let me know when this new FAQ appears, I’m new here and not sure how to make sure I see it. Thanks!

      • Wow, thank you! I have wanted that book for years because so many people have praised it as the funniest book they have read. – I will e-mail you when the new FAQ are up. If you subscribe to my blog, you will automatically receive all new posts (but of course also those which are of no interest to you).

      • Masha Reid says:

        You are very welcome and thank you for informing me :) it’s masha.reid@gmail.com.

  80. bestjan bytyqi says:

    Ive born in germany in 1992 ive livedthere for about 8years my parents lived there for 10 years my question is do i have the right of citizenship in germany

  81. Mohammed says:

    Hello Andreas,

    Thanks a lot for your helpful information and support!
    I am from Palestine, which am considered as without nationality in Germany. I will finish my PhD in electrical engineering from Germany very soon. I am staying in Germany since April 2011. My wife is Palestinian, and have 3 children one of them was born in Germany. I finished B1 level. My question is that what is the minimum time required for my case in order to get naturalization?

    Thanks very much!
    Mohammed

  82. Yasmeen says:

    HI Andreas,
    Your effort is appreciated!
    I have arrived Germany since 4 years, I completed my PhD and I am working now in a company. I finished B2 language course. I asked about getting the citizenship in my city, they told me that I need at least 6 years of stay in Germany to get it. However, you wrote that the required time between (3-8) years, How can I benefit from this to get the citizen now without waiting another 2 years?

    Thanks in advance!
    Yasmeed

  83. Nikki says:

    Your website certainly offers a wealth of information. Thank you, very much, for sharing.

    My husband was born in the U.S. in 1967 to a German mother and American father. He has U.S. citizenship only since, at the time, having a German mother did not automatically qualify him for German citizenship (pre-1975). It seems the rule has changed and he will now be able to apply for German citizenship. He is excited to start this process, as he still has plenty of family still living in Germany, with whom he is very close. I am a US citizen and we have been married 25 years.

    My questions are, will our three children (born 1989, 1990 and 1994) be automatically eligible to gain dual-citizenship (German-U.S.) once he officially receives his German citizenship? Will our granddaughter (born 2014) gain dual citizenship, as well? Our daughter’s husband is a U.S. citizen.

    I thank you, in advance, for your help.
    Have a great day!

  84. Josefhabel says:

    Hello Andreas,
    My name is Josef Habel 16 years old and i have this question can i claim my kindergeld since i left Germany i left germany at the age of 3 i went to phillippines to my mothers parents which i am living in right now with my grandparents i didnt come back for 13 years beacause my passport got expired and my dads unemployed and my mother has problems and both of my parents are in europe but they applied me a kindergeld before i left and claimed some of it when i was still there by any chance can i get my kindergeld since im moving to germany next week to my mum thanks for your answer

  85. Hi, Thank you for sharing this very helpful information.

    I am a partner of a Portuguese Citizen, He had lived in Germany for 7 years, We just left the country to study here in Germany, Her mother lives in Germany and His Brother as well for the same time, Her brother is graduated by the high school and now he is doing a vocational course ( Ausbildung), Do you think my partner can apply for Germany Citizenship here in UK?

    We would like both of us to get german citizenship, and we had married in Germany, Is that a strong ties?

    Thank you very much.

    • Is there a reason why your partner did not apply for regular naturalization when he/she lived in Germany? 7 Years would have fulfilled the residency requirement if his/her language skills were good enough and he/she passed the integration course.
      It sounds like the easier way would be to return to Germany asap, so as not to lose the long period of residence, and apply for regular naturalization.
      I don’t see ties that are strong enough for a naturalization from abroad.

  86. Lansani Kone says:

    Hi i was born in Germany in 1992 .am i eligible to apply for citizenship?

  87. Tushar Sant says:

    Hi Andreas,
    I am writing this from Siegen, Germany. I stayed in Germany between Oct 2004 to Jun 2011, 6 years 9 months. I went back to my home country, India in Jul 2011 and returned back to Germany in May 2014. I have the proof of tax payed by me from German tax department for pension (Rentenversicherung) during 2004 – 2011 for 6 years and 9 months. I would like to apply for permanent residence or citizenship of Germany. Will they count my stay in Germany from 2004 to 2011?

  88. Yasmeen says:

    HI Andreas,
    Your effort is appreciated!
    I have arrived Germany since 4 years, I completed my PhD and I am working now in a company. I finished B2 language course. I asked about getting the citizenship in my city, they told me that I need at least 6 years of stay in Germany to get it. However, you wrote that the required time between (3-8) years, How can I benefit from this to get the citizen now without waiting another 2 years?

    Thanks in advance!
    Yasmeen

    • Only in very special circumstances. Naturalization with less than 6 years of residence is often granted to athletes or to big investors and sometimes to applicants who can provide useful information to the German Intelligence Service.

  89. Ferdinand Lott says:

    Hi Andreas

    I would like to know if i can get German Citizenship

    1) I was born in Namibia, Africa and have always lived here
    2) My Father is German
    3) My Parents were never Married
    4) I was born in 1979
    5) I have a “Belehrung vor Beurkundung der Anerkennung der Vaterschaft”
    6) I can speak/understand German not brilliantly but enough.

    The big reason for me to try and get a passport now is that i have recently married a British Citizen and she would like to move back to the UK and having a German Passport would make everything easier

    Thanks
    Ferdi

  90. waheed says:

    Hi Andreas,
    I would like to ask you some,
    Actually i am from Pakistan and also my nationality is Pakistani so my question is that i have decided that i want to study in Germany due to high ranking and better education system so
    when i complete my degree (3 years) then how many time to take for citizenship?
    (2) during the period of my study in Germany (3 years) is it count for this criteria?
    (3) if i want to marry there then how many times to take for citizenship?

    Your effort is appreciated
    thanks
    waheed

  91. Nicole says:

    Hello Andreas,

    I have found your information here very interesting and helpful. My question is: my mother was born in Berlin in 1926 and married my American father in Berlin in 1952? I was born in America in 1964. However, i have always wanted to move back to Germany and would like to live there while my daughter attends college in Germany. Do you think it would be possible for me to obtain German citizenship? I am a nurse but would consider other forms of employment in Germany if possible. I just really want yo return and instill my German heritage to my daughter as well.
    Thank you!

    • If you only want to live in Germany for a while, you don’t need German citizenship for that really.

      For naturalization from abroad, you would need stronger and closer ties to Germany and speak German very well.

  92. Strauss Western says:

    Question if was born in the US of two German Immigrants (From Hamburg and Cottbus) to the US following world war II. They met and married here, What would be the best way for me to apply for citizenship? To my knowledge both my parents renounced their German Citizenship. Speaking German is not a problem as that is what i was raised speaking.

    Thank you for this FAQ it has been extremely enlightening.

    • We would first need to find out if at least one of your parents still had German citizenship at the time of your birth.

      If yes, things will be easier. Even easier if your father had German citizenship.

      If not, you may of course apply for naturalization, but then you would be required to give up your US citizenship.

      • Strauss Western says:

        Awesome thank you so much! I will be skyping with my mother next week and will be sure to ask! thank you agian!

  93. Vanessa says:

    Hello my name is Vanessa. My father has lived in Germany for more than 30yrs an he is a Ghanian. He has his green card and all other documents. I have lived in Ghana all my life and I would like to join him in Germany. I am 23yrs old and I would like to know what procedures to take for me to join him. Can my dad help me come to Germany? Also, will I be able to get my green card and other documents? Please, what do I do? Thank you

    • You are too old for family reunion, so you would need to get a student/work/business visa. Your father can help indirectly, by offering you to live at his place.

      I won’t go into the details because it’s more a question about moving to Germany or getting a visa, not about citizenship. I will put up a separate list of FAQ on these subjects once someone mails me a book from my wishlist in order to motivate me.

      • Vanessa says:

        So Sir, can I follow him to Germany now that he is currently in Ghana so that he finds a school for me. My older siblings to are in Germany, will that also help?

  94. Vanessa says:

    Dear Andreas, Please I will like to know how one can get a green card in Germany. Does learning how to speak deutsch also help?

  95. Joshua Merchant says:

    Dear Andreas,
    Greetings from Jamaica.My grandmother had my mom from a live in relationship with a German man but they never got married. Later on my grandmother left him. We never had a chance to apply for German nationality and were brought up as Jamaicans. I would love to apply for German nationality but the problem being is that I have no documents of my grandfather proving his German nationality.However my mother’s baptism certificate says her father’s nationality is German.

    Would that Baptism certificate be enough for the German embassy to consider my case to give me and my mom german nationality or there will be no chance at all?

  96. Christian Von Der Rohe says:

    Good Afternoon Andreas
    I’m 19 years old , and i’m very interested in acquiring the German citizenship , my ancestor was born in Germany (I have his birth certificate) and in 1856 arrived in Peru where he had a son ( My great-great-grandfather) in which he passed him the German citizenship since they are both in the Register of Passports.Then,he had a son ( My great-grandfather) in 1891 but born outside marriage or “natural son” but i think he acknowledged him since i bear his last name,
    Is this a problem ? can i still get the German citizenship by this side?

    My mother is also a descendant of German immigrants ( Her great-great grandparents), through her mother. My Grandmother never did the paperwork to get the citizenship , she married a non-German in 1955 and had my mother in 1956. This looks like FAQ 8 , can you confirm me if this impedes me to acquire the citizenship?
    Thank you very much for the information! from Lima,Peru.

    • Hello Christian,

      for the first question, we would need to know if there was an official acknowledgement of paternity which would satisfy the laws in place in Peru in 1891.

      Regarding your mother, she would indeed fall under no. 8 of the FAQ if her mother (your grandmother) still had German citizenship at the time of your mother’s birth. It sounds like this was not the case, so that the chain of German citizenship was unfortunately broken.

      • Christian Von Der Rohe says:

        It’s going to be a tough challenge looking for that document , sad to know the chain of German citizenship was broken by my mother’s side.
        If i can’t get the citizenship through descent, Do you think i qualify for naturalization ?
        I have family members living in Berlin(with German citizenship), I have started learning German in the Goethe Institut, able to support myself financially, and I’m willing to give up any citizenship.
        I truly appreciate your time , Danke!!
        Ps: I recommend you to read our Nobel winner Mario Vargas Llosa or Colombian Gabriel Garcia Marquez , i can’t still get over how good Love in the Time of Cholera is.

      • Thank you for the recommendation! I have only read “One Hundred Years of Solitude” so far and I was blown away. Fantastic! I tried “The Time of the Hero” (“La ciudad y los perros”) by Vargas Llosa, but I honestly could not finish it.

        Naturalization from abroad is tough and your German would need to be fluent (plus other ties, like employment, marriage, academia). It’s usually easier to go to Germany as a student and then take it from there.

  97. Dear Andreas, i hope this find you well,
    I’m 39 years old, born in Germany in 1976 for a Syrian parents, i left Germany when i was 6 years old, i speak German like B1 level or little higher, i live in Dubai now, do you think i can apply for citizenship?
    Many thanks for your efforts.
    Firas.

    • Salam Firas,
      you would need to have continuing strong ties to Germany, like working for a German company, regular travel to Germany, studying with a German university (e.g. Fernuniversität).
      The time that you spent in Germany as a child was too long ago to be sufficient.

  98. Tra says:

    Hallo Andreas,

    I run into your site and find it very interesting.

    My husband is a German working in Vietnam and we have a 7 year-old-son who also has German passport. We are marrried for almost 8 years. Due to my husband’s job, we moved to Germany in 2012 and then headed back to Vietnam in 2014 (around 2 years and 3 months) and currently living Vietnam.

    I obtained already B1 and finished integration test (25 out of 25 questions). I checked with BVA in Cologne about the naturalization of whom living abroad. It is said it takes them 2 years before reviewing the documents. Coming back to the requirement of 3 year residency in Germany, I only need 9 more months,however, I could not move to Germany alone as my hubsband is working in Vietnam.

    Please advise if there is any other alternatives for my case.

    Thanks and look forward to hearing from you soon.
    Tra

    • I don’t really see any other alternative except the two options which you outlined. Of course you could always move to Germany with your son (he is German and you as the mother would receive a residence permit according to § 28 I AufenthG), but without your husband there, you would be required to stay for a total of at least 6 years in Germany before you can apply for naturalization.

  99. Ian says:

    Hi Andreas!
    I am trying to naturalise, thus denouncing my US citizenship. Let’s say I had been living in Germany for 2 years and decided to go back to the United States to visit my family for 2 weeks. Would I have to start over my 8 years when I came back? I guess a simpler way of saying this is, would I have to live in Germany for 8 years without leaving for any period of time in order to naturalise?

    • Ian says:

      Ich vergaß zu fragen, könntest du deine Beantwortung auf deutsch schreiben? Ich versuche zu üben. Danke!

      • Ian says:

        I have three more questions tat i forgot to put in there. #1 What documents are needed to become a german citizen (birth certificate, Visa, etc.)? #2 How can i show proof that i have been living in germany for eight years (I’m planning on going to college for six years in Berlin if that helps)? #3 I read that you need the “proper residency permit” but I also read that if you have an EU citizenship, you don’t need a permit. Could you explain if I need one or the other or both? If you could answer these three questions along with the question that i put this reply on, i would appreciate it very much!!!

    • Hallo Ian,

      Kompliment zu Deinen Deutschkenntnissen und dazu, dass Du üben möchtest! Das ist der beste Weg, um eine Sprache zu lernen. Wenn Dein Deutsch auf B2-Niveau oder besser ist, kannst Du auch bereits nach 6 Jahren die deutsche Staatsangehörigkeit erhalten.

      Du mußt Dir keine Sorgen machen wegen Besuchen in den USA. Aufenthalte im Ausland bis zu 6 Monaten gelten nicht als Unterbrechung Deines Aufenthalts in Deutschland (§ 12b I 1 StAG).

      Dein Aufenthalt in Deutschland wird nachgewiesen durch die Anmeldung beim Einwohnermeldeamt bzw. durch Aufenthaltserlaubnisse.

      Zum Zeitpunkt der Antragstellung kommt es darauf an, welche Aufenthalts- oder Niederlassungserlaubnis Du hast. Da das aber erst in 4 Jahren relevant wird und weil es Dutzende von Möglichkeiten gibt, mit denen Du die Einbürgerung beantragen kannst, klären wir das besser in ein paar Jahren. Das gleiche gilt für die notwendigen Unterlagen, vor allem weil sich noch so viel zwischen jetzt und dann ändern kann. Die Staatsangehörigkeit eines anderen Landes brauchst Du natürlich nicht.

      Viel Erfolg!

      • Ian says:

        Vielen Dank, Freund!

      • Ian says:

        Ich wusste nicht, daß ich die deutsche Staatsangehörigkeit nach 6 Jahren erhalten kann! Wie ist das möglich, muss ich erklären, daß ich besser als eine B2-Niveau habe?

      • Am einfachsten ist es, den Deutschtest zu machen und das Zertifikat vorzulegen.

      • Ian says:

        Über die Dokumente Frage, wenn verließ ich jetzt, würde meine Geburtsurkunde notwendig sein?

      • Ian says:

        Also about the naturalization, if I go for 2 weeks on a visit to the US, would time spent living in Germany just stop until I came back, or would it keep going, as if I had never left for 2 weeks?

      • Die Zeit für kurze Abwesenheiten wird nicht abgezogen. Die 2 Wochen zählen also zum Aufenthalt in Deutschland.

  100. Ian says:

    Ok, Danke!

  101. Kareem says:

    Hi

    I have been reading your blogs regarding the german citizenship. My sister who is originally Egyptian is now a german citizen living in germany for the past 10 years, married to a german guy before she moved there and have two kids. I do not live in germany but I am a frequent visitor. Am I eligible to the German citizenship or permanent residency somehow?

  102. mommyoftwo says:

    Been looking for a blog like this for a long time. I have been married to a German for 10 years. We live in the United States and have 2 kids who have duel citizenship. They hold both passports. My wife ( the German ) is a Green card holder in the U.S. I can transfer to Germany with my employer, but they will not sponsor me. I will need to be eligible to work in the EU in order to transfer. My question is, how can I obtain a work permit while not living there? I will need to wait for an open position before I can transfer, but I need to have this before applying for the position. Will this be possible while not living in Germany? Thanks for sharing you knowledge!!

  103. Ruchi says:

    Dear Andreas,
    I am a Indian National of 37 years. I have been staying in Germany from July 2007 and working since October 2007. I have a Deutsch B1 certificate and also have cleared the Einburgeriung test. My husband and 5 year old son have already got their German citizenship. Now I have to leave Germany and go to Sweden since my husband is working there. I also have a job in Sweden. I have already applied for german nationality. So what would happen to my application now. Can I still be granted the citizenship, when I am in sweden.

    Thanks alot
    Ruchi

    • Oh no, don’t go! Once you leave Germany, you fall under completely different rules which make it much harder for you to obtain German citizenship.

      Stick around in Germany, wait for the citizenship, and afterwards you can freely live in any EU country without any hassle for the rest of the life. It’s worth the wait.

      • Ruchi says:

        I know, but I have to go, my career is more important than the citizenship, but what will happen to my application and how will i get the citizenship (if possible).

      • Once someone notices that you are gone, your application will be denied because you are no longer a resident of Germany, which is one of the requirements.

        You can try again if you ever move to Germany again or apply for Swedish citizenship in the meantime.

  104. Ruchi says:

    i forgot to tell that I have daueraufthal-EG

  105. Pingback: The effects of FATCA? | The Happy Hermit

  106. shelley Ballin says:

    I am a naturalised German citizen. I have never lived in Germany. I was born and live in South Africa. I received naturalisation through my grandfather who was Jewish and born in Hamburg and left during ww2. Am I entitled to contribute towards the German pension fund and will I be able to receive a pension on retirement?

  107. Ian says:

    Hallo Andreas!
    Its Ian again. I want to make sure that my citizenship says I was born in Germany with the correct Date and everything, but I only have a birth certificate saying I was born in the US (My original was lost and I got a New one in the us). Is there a way around this or will it have to stay this way?

  108. Omar says:

    Hello Andrease ! I would like to ask you a question which hasn’t been answered for years but today I felt like asking you . Well , my father is from Afghanistan and used to live and work in Germany years ago at the time currency was Mark not Euro . He had German passport I mean Germany citizenship but I don’t know why he left the country went back to Pakistan and lost his documents since then he has been trying to get his documents back somehow contacting the embassy but he hasn’t been successful yet that’s why he is kind of hopeless now . Do you think that he could come back to Germany or Germany would find his documents and allow him to come ? As he’s really anxious about coming here and wants to work too . Hope to hear from you as soon as possible . Thanxxxx

    • It shouldn’t be any problem. He just needs to remember where his German passport was issued and get a confirmation from there. Then he can apply for a new one at the German embassy.

      • Omar says:

        Hi, it’s me again could guide me how to do that I mean if you could give me with embassy contact number or any web page that can have more helpfull info . One more thing suppose if he didn’t have the German passport but had only visa instead would he still been able to reapply ? Thanks

      • No, a German visa does not entitle to German citizenship. (That would be a bit easy.)

  109. Omar says:

    Could send me the embassy number plz or any website . Thanks

    • Mona says:

      Hi Omar,

      Andreas has been all the way generous enough to make this blog and share all of this information for all people to benefit. He doesn’t ask for money in return, he does however expect us to send one of the books he wishes to read as means of appreciation or as a ‘thank you’. He already has a wish list in which you can check out if you want to buy one. A book is a nice and reasonably priced gift.

      For example in my case, unfortunately I don’t have a personal bank account to use for online money transactions. Thus, I have to wait for my husband and ask him to pay for a book if he is desperate to be assured with an answer. Otherwise, to me a book doesn’t seem enough to thank him for what he is doing to all of us. You know information costs money these days. Have you tried talking to other lawyers before? :)

      Best of luck!

      • Thank you very much for your understanding, your kind words and for explaining it to others!
        Questioners should always consider that any minute I spend on answering their question I won’t be able to spend for myself, my hobbies, my interests. Therefore it’s not like answering questions doesn’t cost me anything.

  110. Sonya Motsch says:

    My father is native German, I m born 25.03.1971. in Serbia [Yugoslavia]. I still live in Serbia. I wish to know do i have right to get German citizenship? thank you for your time. Sonya Motsch, best regards.

    • Yes, if your father was German at the time of your birth, you automatically received German citizenship when you were born. If you never applied for any other citizenship since then (not counting the Yugoslav/Serbian one, which you also might have obtained at birth), you still have German citizenship.

  111. Avellis says:

    Hello Andreas,

    I did my Masters in Germany (2 years) as a student. I left the country to go to US for PhD. Now I am planing to come back after my PhD, get married to my German girl friend, and start working in Germany. How long would I have to wait to apply for permanent residence? Also, how long would I have to wait to apply for the German Naturalization/Passport? My German level is at A2. I can try to bump it to B1.

    Thanks!
    Cheers,
    Ave

    • For naturalization you would need to wait at least 3 years. Then it depends on your language level and the level of your integration. The better, the sooner.

      Permanent residence will depend on your financial situation, but even with temporary residence you won’t have a problem because it will get renewed as long as you will remain married.

      • Avellis says:

        Thanks :-) Do I first have to get the temporary residence, then permanent residence, and then Naturalization? Or are these all independent and I don’t have to wait for permanent residence to apply for naturalization?

      • All of these are relatively independent of each other.

  112. Avellis says:

    Thanks Andreas :-)

  113. Ricky says:

    Hello,
    My daughter was born in the United States. I am a American citizen and my wife is a German citizen. Can my daughter obtain German citizenship? She turns 2 in May. Also, is there a way I can obtain citizenship or a work permit?

    • Your daughter already obtained German citizenship at birth, due to her German mother.

      If you move to Germany together, you will receive a residence and work permit, due to your marriage to a German citizen (§ 28 I AufenthG).

      • Ricky says:

        Thank you andreas! I don’t know if this makes a difference but I forgot to add that my wife was born in American to a German citizen. My wife and her mother moved to Berlin when she was very young. Again, thank you!

      • Ricky says:

        Oh, and my wife has a German passport.

  114. Younes says:

    Dear Andreas

    Thank you very much for your helpful information. I always doubted if my studying period would count but now im very possitive about setting new plans for my career in Germany.

    Thanks again

    Wish you a sunny day

    Johan

  115. Ammar says:

    Hi Andreas,

    Thanks a mill. for the wonderful summary and the effort to answer so many queries.

    My question is regarding the ‘citizenship through a German spouse”. What if the spouse in this case didn’t have German citizenship at the time of marriage and only became German after 4 years of marriage. Can spouse’s partner in this case apply for citizenship immediately? or do the partner need to wait for another 2 years?

    Thanks in advance
    Ammar

  116. Gernot D. says:

    the first 30 or so years of my life I have held a German passport although I have only lived in Germany until the age of 19. I have since obtained a Canadian passport and have basically let my German passport expire. I think I would have lost my German Citizenship automatically but ‘am not entirely sure. In any case, I would, if possible, like to re-obtain my German Citizenship and become a dual Citizen along with my Canadian Citizenship. Does anyone know if this is possible?

    Many thanks in advance
    Gernot

  117. pure says:

    My husband lived here 7 year and six months . My husband and me are Indians . He got masters and phd here and working now. He is in Aufenthaltserlaubnis last years. We had baby in 2015 Jan . he completed 5 year Aufenthaltserlaubnis plus lived 7 year 4 months in Germany. so my question is will my baby get german citizenship?
    he didnt have b1 certificate but he completed b1 and also have certificate of A! .but not b1 certificate.

    is he need to apply blue card or nieder or direct to naturalization ?
    i am in student visa since 2013 Jan . I am n wife\spouse visa . but they sent my marriage certificate for verification and got clearance last month. so waiting for me to change to spouse visa

    • pure says:

      Hi Andreas,
      My husband lived here 7 year and six months already (till now) and need 6 more months to complete eight months . My husband and me are Indians . He got masters and phd here and working now. He is in Aufenthaltserlaubnis last 5 years. We had baby in 2015 Jan . he completed 5 year Aufenthaltserlaubnis plus lived 7 year 4 months in Germany when my baby born. so my question is will my baby get german citizenship?
      he didnt have b1 certificate but he completed b1 and also have certificate of A1.but not b1 certificate.

      is he need to apply blue card or nieder or direct to naturalization ?
      i am in student visa since 2013 Jan .I came in student visa. I am not in wife\spouse visa . but they sent my marriage certificate for verification and got clearance last month. so waiting for me to change to spouse visa

  118. pure says:

    sorry. need 6 more months to complete to 8 years. mistake.

  119. Jafar says:

    Dear Andreas,

    I got a Blue card since March 2014 and I have plan to apply for a settlement permit after 21 moth with B1 certificate.
    1- If I receive a settlement permit and get a C1 certificate in next 2 years. How long later do I need to wait to apply to become a citizen of Germany.(I came in September 2013 and start a work as a blue card since March 2015.
    2- Next question about my wife, I read unfortunately she can not apply for a settlement permit with me!!! is there any way to apply together for settlement permit or she should wait for up to 5 years.( we are both has a Master degree which is notarized by ZAB- my wife has a B1)
    3- Last question, reading born a kid. What will happen and situation for a baby, If I receive a settlement permit by December 2015 and my kid born in Germany after year 2015.

    Your consideration and time high appreciate.

    Best wishes,

    • Ammar says:

      I doubt Andreas has time to answer. Mine is still unanswered. Here is my take on your queries

      1. The minimum duration in Germany to naturalization is 6 years with exceptional German skills. I think C1 could work. So you will still have to wait
      2. I am not sure
      3. If a child is born to foreign parents and at least one of them has lived in Germany for 8 years then the child automatically gets German citizenship. You don’t even have to apply. The Bürgeramt will contact you after the birth. In your case, your child born in 2015 will not have that case applied to him

      • Ramzi Kakish says:

        Hello Ammar,

        I was looking at your third answer on Jafars’ question and I would like to comment on the part child born to foreign parents who has lived in Germany for 8 years or more.

        Look at my case in specific; I was born in 1981 in Germany, studied and lived for around 9 years, my father originally Jordanian who used to live and work in Germany since 1958 got the German Passport in 1992. By that time I was in Jordan (since around 1990) and he did not enroll me neither my mom! Currently I was consulting with some legal arms and everybody was telling me that I have no right to ask for either a Permit neither the citizenship by naturalization!

        I am curious to know from knowledgeable people like you or Andreas and I am more than Thankful whether I have a chance to acquire the German citizenship?

        Thanks a lot and appreciated in advance,
        Ramzi

  120. pure says:

    Hi Ammar,

    suggestions for my queries?

    • Ammar says:

      For your kid see my answer to Jaffer point 3.

      Your hubby can apply for citizenship after 8 years. He doesn’t need any blue card anymore

  121. Jafar says:

    Dear Ammar,

    Very appreciate for your kind respond.

  122. pure says:

    Thanks Amar

  123. pure says:

    Hi Ammar,

    I have one more question

    As I mentioned earlier, My husband lived here for 8 years and I lived here for three years and married exactly 2.5 years ago. My husband is going to apply for naturalization this month.

    What is the procedure for naturalization of spouse? Am I eligible to apply along with my husband naturalization application ?
    Do i need to have B1 or integration course certificate?

    When can I apply for naturalization ?

    • Ammar says:

      That is also my question. My info so far is as follows:

      1. The spouse must be German
      2. The applicant must be married to the spouse for 2 years
      3. The applicant must have spent 3 years in Germany
      4. All the other requirements that a normal German applicant has to fulfill (B1, Einbürgerungtest etc)

      Now, does your time of being married/(in Germany) before your husbands citizenship counts or not is not clear to me.

  124. pure says:

    yes. I married to him before three years and now he applying for naturalization
    I am confused little bit. He just going to apply for naturalization
    am i apply along with him or do I need to wait for it another three years once he got naturalization

  125. pure says:

    Thanks ammar for quick response
    spouse also need to study B1 and einburo test?

  126. pure says:

    Thanks ammar for quick response
    wife also need to study B1 and einburo test?

  127. John masih says:

    Sir,
    my self is John Iam an Indian . last 9 years Iam living in germany . since december 2005 to since August 2013 i was a asylum seeker.September 2013 i got residence permit for germany
    Now i have my own bussiness in germany . i have done my B1 test. From reading, listening, writting and speaking. Every were i got B1.and also i have complited my Einbürgerun test. Is there any possibillty that i can apply for german citizenship.

  128. Curious Cat says:

    Hi Andreas,
    thank you for providing all the wonderful advice. I have become very curious about my eligibility for naturalization and landed on your page as I started researching. Here’s a bit about my background:

    Lived in Germany for 5 years (as child of diplomat)
    Studied at a German university for an additional 2 years (study visa)
    Speak & write fluent German
    Currently reside in US

    Would I qualify with these criteria?

  129. Dave says:

    Hi Andreas,

    First off, thank you so much for the FAQ’s.I know this is an older thread but was wondering if you could take a few moments of your time to answer a question for me.

    I was born in Germany in 1989. My parents were refugee’s at the time. I spent about the first 10 years of my life there but never received citizenship. I then moved to the US and received my citizenship here after some time. My brother lives in Norway with German citizenship.

    Is there any way for me to obtain a German citizenship through my brother or through birth (I know my birthday is prior to Feb 1990) without having to go through the process as if I have never had any ties ?

  130. Mrs. Ollik says:

    Hi Andreas,
    I checked on the books that you like so I can mail them to you, but they are not available here. :(
    You see, Im a Filipino and I married a Filipino/German citizen (my husband’s mom is Filipino, father is German from Weisbaden). His parents still live in Germany and would like to visit/stay there for more maybe 6months and come back here but cant stay longer than that because my parents are here with me in the Philippines.
    We have been married for 4 years and have been living / working in the Philippines. Can I still get a German citizenship? I have been studying German in Goethe Institut Manila.

  131. Helena says:

    Andreas, how are you, nice to meet you. I have a big question regarding whether my mother can acquire or not the German Nationality. I really need help.

    Her mother is German, her father in not German.
    She was born in 1954…
    She doesn’t lives in Germany.
    She studied 3 years in Germany during her adolescence
    She speaks German.

    Other facts
    Here in her country my mother studied at a German school.
    My grandmother taught German for 40 years in a major university in my country
    My grandmother’s parents were founders of the only German school in the capital of my country.

    I know she was born before 1975 of a German mother, but couldn’t she acquire the German nationality considering all this, if yes what requirements she needs?

    Regards and thanks for your help.

  132. Xenia Witte says:

    Hi Andreas, I have been reading through the questions and answers and am not sure if any of them apply to myself.

    – My father is a German citizen, born in Germany and moved out here when he was 21. He has only a German passport.
    – My mother is a South African citizen with only a South African passport
    – I was born in South Africa in 1974. I have always had a German and South African passport and still do.
    – when I was a child I went to Germany for a month to visit family on an annual basis. I spoke German very well. Since leaving school I have only been back a few times due to the lovely exchange rate. Because of this my German is appalling to virtually non existent
    – I am a South African citizen but do not know if I am a German citizen as well.
    – I recently obtained a new German Passport as mine had expired. The lady who assisted me asked if I was a German citizen, to which I replied no. She then said that I should apply.
    – I subsequently noticed that my new passport says that my nationality is German.

    My questions are as follows:
    1. Am I a German Citizen?
    2. If not can I apply without losing my SA citizenship?

    Oh yes, I have recently married a British citizen. We are thinking of moving to the UK.
    Thanks a mil
    Kind Regards
    Xenia Witte

    • I don’t see why you wouldn’t be German. You are the child of a German father. And how else did you think you got the German passport, if not due to you being German?

      • Xenia Witte says:

        Thought so too, but didn’t want to jump to conclusions. Thanks a mil :-)

  133. Christian says:

    I’m looking at two paths to German citizenship.

    § 13

    I was born in December 1963 and have a German birth certificate. I can’t find if I was declared a citizen at that time by my German mother. My father was a US Citizen. Based on when I was born I know I did not have it by default, unless possibly I was stateless. I was forced to naturalize by my mother in the US when I was 16. Until then I either had German citizenship or was stateless. I meet many of the other requirements of § 13 including certified B2 ability. The language requirement is B1.

    § 14

    I plan to look at this option if § 13 does not apply in the event I can not substantiate if my mother declared me a German citizen when I was born. However the current June 2015 Merkblatt states the following regarding language:

    Beherrschen der deutschen Sprache
    Deutsche Sprachkenntnisse sind durch eine Sprachprüfung, die eine kompetente
    Sprachverwendung auf dem Sprachniveau C1 entsprechend dem Gemeinsamen
    Europäischen Referenzrahmen für Sprachen (GER) ausweist, nachzuweisen. Im Rahmen
    der Wiedergutmachung nationalsozialistischer Unrechtsmaßnahmen [in den Fällen nach
    Nr. I c)] kann auch das Sprachniveau B1 ausreichen.

    Nr. I c referring to people who lost citizenship between 1933 and 1945 due to political reasons, obviously not me. Is a C1 test really necessary? Would a B2 suffice if other requirements of § 14 are met?

    Many thanks,

    Christian

    • 1) Let’s first find out if you ever were German and cross the “§ 14 StAG bridge” when we need to get there.
      2) The processing of an application according to § 14 StAG usually takes so long, that the time it will take you to reach C1 level pales in comparison.

  134. J Bohling says:

    Hi. Thanks for all of the help you have given to so many people, we appreciate it. I’m hoping you could answer my questions.

    Background:

    Paternal grandfather U.S. citizen born New York 1920 to U.S. Parents met grandmother while stationed in Germany

    Paternal grandmother German born to German parents 1923 in Amsterdam (great grandfather owned a second business there at the time)

    Not sure when they married (stayed married until death) but it was before my father had been born, and they moved to America (1948 I think) when grandfather rotated back to the States father born after they were in the U.S.

    Paternal grandmother did not become U.S. citizen or if did it was after my dad was born

    Dad born 1958 in New York

    Maternal grandparents born in U.S. to U.S. only citizens

    Mother was born 1959 to American parents in Germany while grandfather was stationed in Germany then rotated to States

    My mother and father married in 1977 in U.S. I was born 1980 in U.S. They divorced 1981.

    My questions are

    1. Could I potentially be given German citizenship due to my paternal grandmother, and if not
    2. Could I potentially be given German citizenship through naturalization while living abroad. I do not speak German but will have learned before applying, and have never been to Germany.

    Thanks for your help again.

    • J Bohling says:

      P.S. If I was blessed with German citizenship either way, could I keep my U.S. Citizenship. Thank you!

  135. Blake H. says:

    Hey, if my great grandmother, and grandmother were born in Germany, and my mother was born here in Canada in 1950 can she apply for naturalization under “according to § 14 StAG to rectify an old problem: Children who were born to a German mother and a non-German father before 1975 often did not receive German citizenship by descent” like you outlined in #8? Not sure if it matters but my great grandfather was born in Poland and grandfather was born in Canada. Thanks.

    • The place of birth matters less than the citizenship of the persons involved. If your grandmother was German, then your mother qualifies (subject to meeting the other conditions like speaking German etc.).

  136. travelentin says:

    Hey,

    Thanks so much for the info, it really helps.

    My current situation is that my mother could be naturalized under 14 StAG as she was born from a german mother but a swiss father.

    However, being over 18 it seems like there is no such option for me and that I won’t be able to receive German citizenship is that correct ?

    Thanks a lot,

    Val

  137. Gilbert Strassguertl says:

    Greetings Andreas Moser,

    I would appreciate your advice.

    My mother was born in Germany 1939 immigrated to Canada in 1963 still a German citizen (never became Canadian citizen and has an German passport) met my father in Canada, he was born in Germany but became a Canadian citizen shortly after the marriage (He was a Canadian citizen when I was born). I was born in 1967 in Canada, am I eligible for German naturalization? Also, are my Canadian born daughters (2003 & 2005–mother is Canadian) eligible as well?

    I appreciate you response.

    Thank you,
    Gilbert S.

  138. hunarwar says:

    Hello,
    I am from Afghanistan…just 5 years ago i got a scholarship from France and lived in Paris and finished my studies . During my studies i got contact with my German girlfriend and now we want to get married as she was afraid of my country situation. Last november i came to germany and i did asylum now when we went to marriage office they said u must wait at least 2 years to know if u can get married or not… i dnt have work permit no travel permit just as a prisinor at this countryvi speak very well german still dnt know what to do ? Plz let me know that will be so kind of u

    • That’s a misinformation. You can get married anytime you want. If that particular municipality in Germany doesn’t allow you to get married, just go to another one. Or you get married in France or in Denmark.

  139. Georgina says:

    Hi Andreas,
    I would like to thank you for your answers
    I have a question .please clarify.
    My husband is a Indian and He living here since 2007 Sep in aufthenhalt
    Baby born on Jan 2015. Is it my daughter eligible for German Citizenship?
    Thanks in advance for your reply.

    Great to hear from you
    Georgina

    • Please see no. 4 of my general FAQ on German citizenship law for this question.

      • Georgina says:

        Hi Andreas,
        Really quick and prompt reply.
        I saw answers of FAQ
        But little confused,

        The thing is
        My husband completes his 8 years in Oct 2015
        But baby born in 2015 Jan

        is it necessarily to be complete 8 years?

        For Indian Embassy, need a letter from burgeramt stated to be’child is not acquiring any citizenship Germany’

        Big hassle and no passport for my baby since she born

        Best Regards,
        Georgina

      • Then it will be easiest to get your child naturalized when you and/or your husband apply for German citizenship.

      • Georgina says:

        Thanks andreas,
        my question is that
        Can I apply straight away to German reisepass or first get indian passport and then apply with my husband for naturalisation,as still no passport now for my baby

  140. Georgina says:

    Great Andreas,
    Very fast reply.
    its really useful
    My daughter can apply for citizenship with my husband
    so she need to get Indian passport first.

    Am I right?

    Georgina

  141. Hello Andreas
    I am living for 6 years in Germany with Aufenthaltserlaubnis#16 as a student permit. I got my PhD in one of the universities in Germany. Now I have a Aufenthaltserlaubnis#18. I have also B1 certificate. After my PhD I’m working as a wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft in university. But the salary is not high. It is like part time job, but covers the costs of my living somehow. I’ve already paid tax and social insurance for one year. Am I eligible for German citizenship?

    Many Thanks
    Emam

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