Question aboout obtaining German citizenship

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Question aboout obtaining German citizenship


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Old 19th March 2015, 02:52 PM
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Default Question aboout obtaining German citizenship

Hello,
I decided to post this as a guest for now I'm not really sure I want to undertake this endeavor, but let me explain my situation.

I'm a citizen in the USA however in reviewing Germany's citizenship laws, it appears I may be eligible for citizenship there based on ancestry. I realize Germany seems to rarely recognize dual citizenship for people. I've never even visited Germany before.

My interest in this is in exploring the possibility of simply having options available for me in the future either in my career or personal life to ensure a stable and quality life for my family. Let's suppose I were to submit my application, would Germany hold approval until I formally renounce my US citizenship? I don't think I can do that until I have a passport issued from another country though.

Would Germany issue it yet demand renouncing US citizenship within a certain timeframe? If I ever simply visited the country would this then throw up some flags barring my entry? Does this just sound like a bad idea altogether?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Old 19th March 2015, 04:32 PM
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Pretty much what you said. Taking German nationality generally involves renouncing any prior nationality - and except in a few circumstances (kids born in Germany who got dual nationality at birth or other EU nationalities taking German nationality) they're pretty serious about it.

The little matter of renouncing your US citizenship can get tricky, too. You can't renounce from within the US. (Has to be done at a Consulate.) So first you have to establish residence elsewhere (generally Germany). Then there are the tax and other administrative consequences of renouncing.
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Old 19th March 2015, 05:37 PM
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It depends on how you qualify for citizenship.

If one of your parents was German at the time of your birth, you'd be fine with dual citizenship (pretty much the only scenario in which this is allowed apart from EU nationals qualifying, although German nationals born in the USA also hold dual nationality as they received their citizenship automatically by being born there and did not apply for it). Best to check with your nearest German Embassy as it also depends on what was law at the time of when the event occurred that qualifies you (marriage of your parents for example).

If you somehow otherwise qualify, the German authorities would review your case and when they are satisfied that they are ready to grant you citizenship, they will issue you with an assurance of naturalisation, valid for two years. Within that time frame, you have to renounce your previous citizenship (or start the process over). As soon as you receive confirmation of this, you can then go to the authorities and naturalisation is pretty much instantaneous.

They hand you your naturalisation certificate, you take it to your next Bürgeramt (or possibly Embassy) and you apply for your ID card and passport.

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Old 19th March 2015, 08:31 PM
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Do make sure that you look into the consequences of renouncing your US citizenship before you decide, though. If you have an IRA or 401K or are vested in the US SS system, you're looking at a flat 30% withholding on all payments if you don't have US citizenship. There may also be tax consequences, particularly involving inheritance tax (as between you and your spouse).
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 11th April 2015, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bevdeforges View Post
If you have an IRA or 401K or are vested in the US SS system, you're looking at a flat 30% withholding on all payments if you don't have US citizenship.
Germany and the US have a tax treaty that reduces withholdings down to 15% for German nationals taking US-domiciled distributions. You just have to file IRS form W-8BEN. Then that 15% paid to Uncle Sam can be used as a foreign tax credit on your German taxes. Still a huge pain, though.

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