If your parents or grandparents are from Germany, you probably already know that German citizenship makes it possible for you to reside, study, own property and gain employment in the European Union countries. To help you navigate the bureaucratic maze that acquiring citizenship is, we’ve put together answers to commonly asked questions about German citizenship and EU passports.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need to renounce my current citizenship when applying for German citizenship?
If applying for Confirmation of Citizenship or Restitution of Citizenship, you will not need to renounce your current citizenship as both are considered your birth right. This is assuming that your country allows for dual citizenship.
For German naturalisation there is a possibility you may need to renounce your current citizenship, if you are not eligible for an exemption to renounce.
Do I need to speak German to become a German citizen, is there a language or cultural test I need to pass?
If you are applying for Confirmation of Citizenship and Restitution of Citizenship, you do not need to speak German and there is no language or cultural test.
If you are applying for discretionary naturalisation, you do have to speak German and take a test at the German Consulate.
What happens if I do not want to submit original documents?
Originals or duplicates are required of all foreign documents i.e. Australian/ US/ British/ South African etc., in order for them to be apostilled.
Originals or consular certified copies of all German documents are also required to be submitted with a citizenship application.
If you do not want to send the originals, we recommend obtaining duplicates of the foreign documents and consular certified copies of the German documents.
I don’t know when or if my European ancestor naturalized in the US, how can I find this out?
You can submit a request to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to find out this information. The USCIS will issue you with either a naturalisation certificate or a non-naturalisation certificate / certificate of non-existence.
I do not know the immigration date or whether my German ancestors naturalised, can you still tell me if I'm eligible?
It is unlikely that we would be able to tell you whether you are eligible, without this information. These are considered crucial details to determine eligibility. In some cases we can offer research to determine eligibility, if you are unable to find this out independently.
I am eligible for German citizenship, does this mean my spouse and children are also eligible?
Children are eligible for German citizenship but a spouse is not eligible. However spouses can still apply for a spousal visa upon registering your marriage in Germany. This visa grants them with the same rights as an EU citizen, including full working and living rights. After three years of living in Germany, they would also have the option to naturalise.
Eligibility for German citizenship by descent
I am eligible for German citizenship by descent through one of my grandparents, does my parent need to be a confirmed German citizen before I apply?
Your parent does not need to be a German citizen before you apply for citizenship. However you will need to provide proof that you are a direct descendent of your grandparent by including your parent’s birth and marriage certificates, if they’re married. You can apply for citizenship, without your parent having to apply too.
My case is very straight forward, am I eligible? Why do I need to fill out a family tree?
All new enquirers must fill out a family tree so that our Eligibility and Compliance team has a clearer picture of your family history when assessing your case. The Polaron family tree template also includes important details such as immigration dates, marriage dates, naturalisation dates and times of army service. These are all important factors that impact eligibility.
I was born a German citizen but then I renounced my citizenship when immigrating to another country, can I reclaim my German citizenship?
No, however you can apply to re-naturalise as a German citizen. Similar to the discretionary naturalisation process, there are a number of requirements you must fulfill and you may need to renounce your current citizenship.
What is the likelihood of my application for Confirmation of German Citizenship being successful?
For Confirmation or Restitution of Citizenship, we have a 100 % success rate, because we take evaluating your case very seriously and we only advise you to proceed with the application if we are certain of your eligibility. The success rate for Research Only cases is 90%
How much is it to apply for a German passport? Is this service included in the cost of confirmation of citizenship?
Polaron is unable to apply for a passport on your behalf. Once you are a confirmed citizen of Germany you can go to your local consulate and apply for it yourself. This is a simple process and we would provide you with all of the necessary documentation. The passport costs around 90 euros and you do not need to speak German to apply for it.
How long is processing time?
Processing time takes two years and we lodge the application directly with the German Federal Office of Administration (FOA). The FOA will give us one update during this time and there is no way to expedite the process.
Other ways of gaining German citizenship
I have no German ancestry, can I still apply to naturalise in Germany?
Yes, discretionary German naturalisation is open to anyone who can prove significant ties to Germany, this does not need to be through ancestry
What are the requirements to naturalise in Germany?
You would need to prove a close relationship to Germany by providing proof of a number of the following things:
• German language knowledge, minimum B1 level (according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)
• Close relatives with German citizenship
• Attending or having attended a German school (also abroad)
• Regular visits to Germany
• Contact to friends or family living in Germany
• Knowledge about Germany (assessed in a naturalisation test)
• Being a member of German associations or clubs
• Working or have worked for German authorities, companies or organisations