Citizenship Law

On January 01, 2000 the law for the Change of Citizenship Law in Germany has become legally effective. We would like to inform you about two commonly raised topics connected with this law:

– You want to acquire the Canadian/American citizenship but don’t want to give up your German citizenship.
– You are a Canadian/American citizen, but had previously the German citizenship, or are of German descent and would like to reacquire the German citizenship by way of repatriation without forfeiting your current citizenship.

Case 1: Acquisition of the Canadian/American citizenship while maintaining the German citizenship

Possibly you and also your family had applied for landed immigrant/permanent resident status when you first came to Canada/USA. In the meantime, you are feeling at home in Canada/USA and fulfill all regular requirements to take the next step: acquire the Canadian/American citizenship. And you are very much interested in becoming a Canadian/American citizen to avoid disadvantages in your professional career. However, you hesitate because you are aware of the fact that this step would automatically result in the loss of your German citizenship, which you are not willing to give up due to existing ties to Germany.

It might surprise you to hear that the acquisition of the Canadian/American citizenship is not inevitably connected with the forfeiture of your German citizenship. The law allows you to keep the German if you had been granted the respective permission prior to acquiring the Canadian/American citizenship. This requires an application for the retention of the German citizenship. The decision regarding the application for retention will in part depend on your ability to demonstrate still existing ties to Germany. This includes for instance connection to close relatives, ownership of real estate property in Germany, an apartment for your personal use in Germany, and also pension/ or insurance claims. Employees of international corporations and institutions or other persons who are temporarily residing abroad for professional reasons may also fulfill the prerequisite of still existing ties. It is neither required for you to have your permanent residence in Germany nor are you expected to relocate to Germany at some point in time. But you will have to provide detailed explanations as to why you want to become a Canadian/American citizen. You will have to prove that you will suffer considerable disadvantages, especially economic disadvantages that would be avoided through the acquisition of the Canadian/American citizenship.

Case 2: Establishment and Repatriation as German citizen

The scenario includes cases, in which the German citizenship hat existed at one point, was however forfeited through the naturalization in Canada/USA. There are many reasons for this situation. Your parents may have immigrated to Canada/USA when you were still a child. When your parents applied for the Canadian/American citizenship, they included you in their application, and you became a Canadian/American citizen. Or perhaps you immigrated to Canada/USA as an adult for professional reasons and gave your German citizenship up in order to become a Canadian/American because you were not aware of the fact that you might keep your German citizenship. This would for instance also apply when your parents or grandparents were German citizens who lost their citizenship in the process of their naturalization in Canada/USA. You were born in Canada/USA and possess only the Canadian/American citizenship. Consequently, it is not a prerequisite for the establishment/repatriation that you personally had at some point the German citizenship. It suffices that you are a descendant, i.e. a child or grandchild) of a former German citizen. It is crucial that your repatriation is in the interest of the Federal Republic of Germany. This means that you have to prove that you are able to support yourself. In addition, a repatriation applicant has to have sufficient knowledge of the German language and has to clarify his ties to Germany. This might include relations to relatives, extended stays in Germany, the attendance of a school or other educational institutions. Professional activities for German companies at home and abroad, membership in German associations are also accepted as indicators for such ties and connections. Pension expectancies and payments of German insurance carriers are taken into consideration as well. A civic requirement is the acceptance and recognition of the free democratic basic order of the Federal Republic of Germany. A later relocation to Germany is not required. Normally, you would have to agree to give up your Canadian/American citizenship when becoming a German citizen. However, since this would result in disadvantages that you are not prepared to accept, you request to be repatriated under the condition that you may keep your Canadian/American citizenship. This is possible if you can prove that the forfeiture of the Canadian/American citizenship would result in considerable economic or pecuniary problems. In such a case, a repatriation is possible, and the retention of multiple nationalities becomes feasible.

Our services:

Does one of the above scenarios look familiar to you and would you like to file a respective application? You are very welcome to contact us no obligations involved. We are able to offer you personalized advice regarding the chances of success with respect to one of the described situations. To optimize your chances of success, we will assist you in all stages of the proceedings. We will begin with the collection of all required documents, including the preparation of a full statement of reasons. Of course, we will support you during the following administrative proceedings to the settlement of the case.