German-US Dual Citizenship: Process and FAQs
Getting your German-US Dual Citizenship is quite a confusing and time-consuming process. Since I just recently went through this process of becoming a German/US Dual Citizen, I wanted to share my personal experience, resources I found helpful and answer some of the most important questions that I have received from my readers about the whole ordeal.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that I am not a lawyer or German-US Dual Citizenship immigration expert. When you go through the process, please always check the official government websites and find the most up-to-date information.
German-US Dual Citizenship: How to keep your German Citizenship
If you want to keep your German citizenship after becoming a US citizen, you will need to apply for the so-called “Beibehaltungsgenehmigung (BBG)”. This is an application to the German state in which you prove that you still have ties to Germany and that you currently experience disadvantages by not having US citizenship.
IMPORTANT: If you become a US citizen before you receive your BBG, you will lose your German citizenship!
Here are the steps to keep your German citizenship:
- Fill out Beibehaltungsgenehmigungsform (yes, this is one word in German!) and add supporting evidence (see more details below)
- Send 2 sets of copies to the German consulate responsible for where you live
- You will receive notification that your application has been sent to the BVA (Bundesverwaltungsamt) in Cologne for final approval or they will request additional supporting evidence to make your case stronger. In general, the local consulate will only forward your application to Cologne, if it has high chances of being approved. At the moment, the approximate wait time for your BBG application in Cologne is 9-12 months, so plan accordingly.
- You will then receive notification whether your application was successful or not and if it was, when your confirmation (Beibehaltungsurkunde) will be available for pickup at your local consulate. If it was not successful, you can resubmit your application with additional evidence or reasons to support your application.
- If your application was successful, you can wire the fee (currently 255 EUR and 51 EUR for each minor if you file together). You will need proof of payment to pick up your confirmation of the Beibehaltungsurkunde.
- When you pick up your Beibehaltungsurkunde, you will have 2 years from the day of pickup to receive your foreign citizenship. If you don’t receive your citizenship within this time frame, you need to apply for an extension of your Beibehaltungsurkunde.
You have to fill out this form to apply for the Beibehaltungsgenehmigung and add supporting documents to prove your case. Filling out the form is pretty straightforward.
The only points where you have to truly elaborate are questions 5 & 6, so I will add some of the arguments that I have used as well as what I have heard other’s have used in their successful applications. It is important though that you personalize these arguments and that they fit for your life. So don’t just copy paste these arguments, but find the ones that make sense in your case and why they apply to your life.
BBG Question 5: Evidence of current connections to Germany
- Short biography and how much time of your life you spent in Germany.
- Financial assets, such as real estate, bank accounts, investments etc.
- Close connection with family and friends (include dates and duration of visits from German relatives and friends in the US).
- Claim to retirement/pension.
- Travels to Germany (include dates and duration of recent travels to Germany).
- List with name, address, and phone number of your closest family and friends, what kind of contact (phone, email, Social Media, visits, etc) and how often you have contact.
- Option to return to Germany in the future.
BBG Question 6: Disadvantages as a Non-US Citizen
- Limited time allowed to live abroad. As a Permanent Resident, you cannot give up your residency in the US, or you will lose your Residency Permit. This means prolonged vacations or time in Germany is not possible without being a US citizen.
- As a Permanent Resident, you cannot petition for your family members to receive permanent resident status, so, for example, it is not possible to bring your aging parents to the US to take care of them.
- A disadvantage in Inheritance Taxation, as a foreign spouse has a much lower taxation exemption than a US Citizen spouse.
- Certain jobs are only accessible for US citizens. This is probably the most important reason. You can find jobs that require US citizenship here. Make sure that you select jobs that you are qualified for, so do not list jobs require qualifications you don’t have. Search for jobs in any location, as it is quite common in the US to move for a job offer and it is plausible. You don’t necessarily need to be looking for a job in real life, but if you find a job that you would qualify for, this is a valid reason and should be included in your application.
- Certain scholarships are for US Citizens only.
- Separation by nationality during natural disasters, war or political unrest.
- Certain certifications, government loans and support, such as Women-owned Business or Minority-owned business, etc require US Citizenship.
- Non-US citizens often face discrimination in custody disputes in US courts.
As additional proof, I also submitted the following documents:
- notarized copy of my German passport
- notarized copy of my US residency card
- Home title (real estate in Germany)
- Bank statements
- Investment statements
- German Life insurance policy
- Transcripts and diplomas from schools, university, apprenticeship and internships
- Job postings for relevant jobs that require US citizenship
How much does the BBG cost?
Currently (April 2019), the fee for the Beibehaltungsgenehmigung is 255 EUR and 51 EUR for each minor child that files with you. However, there are additional costs for notarization of documents, postage, etc.
Where do I send my BBG application?
You need to send your BBG application to the US Consulate responsible for the state you live in. You can find the right consulate here.
Do I have to send notarized copies?
Only the copies of your German passport and US residency permit (Green Card) need to be notarized.
Can I apply for my BBG from Germany?
People report various outcomes. In the past, applications from within Germany were rarely successful, but in the most recent months, they seem to have been approved more easily. My advice is to contact the BVA in Cologne directly if you have any questions and discuss your individual case.
Contact Info BVA – Dual Citizenship
Phone: +49 (0)228 99 358 2846 Email: Thomas.Hoeveler@bva.bund.de
German-US Dual Citizenship: How to apply for US Citizenship
After you pick up your Beibehaltungsurkunde from the German consulate, you can tackle the next step in your German-US Dual Citizenship journey:
You can apply for US Citizenship if you qualify for it. To qualify, you need to have had your permanent residency for a minimum of 3 years (marriage) or 5 years, if you received it through other means.
You also have to fulfill the physical presence requirements and have been present in the US for more than 18 months within the past 3 years, or 30 months within the past 5 years. There are some exceptions for example if you went abroad “on orders” through the military, so if you are not sure about your case, you can read about it here.
Here are the steps to apply for US Citizenship:
- Fill out US Citizenship Application form.
- Add required documents (Click here to download a full list of required documents) + payment (currently $ 640) and send to the office responsible for your state.
- You will then receive a notification that your application was received and you were entered into the system.
- Within a couple of weeks (usually), you will receive your notice for your Biometrics appointment. They will take your finger prints and photos.
- After your biometrics appointment, you will most likely wait for a few months and then receive the notice for your Citizenship interview.
- After you pass your citizenship interview, you will be sworn in as a US citizen. This can either happen the day of your interview or at an Oath Ceremony at a later date. If you have not picked up your Beibehaltungsurkunde before you are sworn in as a US Citizen, you will lose your German citizenship.
US Citizenship Interview and Test
Many applicants are afraid of the US Citizenship Interview and test and I think it is normal to be a bit nervous about it.
However, the test is not difficult and I have never heard of anyone who did not pass the test. To calm your nerves, I’ll tell you exactly what happened in my US Citizenship Interview and Test, ok?
Arrival and Check-in
My appointment was set for 8.40 in the morning and I arrived about 10 minutes early. I checked in and received my call number. After about 30 minutes, my number was called to one of the windows, but unfortunately, the government worker had just pressed the wrong number. He told me to sit down and wait again and that my number should be up shortly. After another 30 minutes, I inquired at the front desk and they had told me that my number was accidentally deleted when the other man made the mistake and called the wrong number. So my number was added back in and after about 10 more minutes, I was called from the waiting area.
The lady that was going to do the interview with me was very nice and friendly. We chitchatted on the way to her office and when we got there, she swore me in to say the truth and nothing but the truth.
Interview and Citizenship Test
First, I had to say a sentence in English and then write down the same sentence. I think my sentence was: The White House is in Washington DC. The next step was the dreaded US Immigration test. You have to know 6 out of 10 questions that are pulled from a pool of 100 questions total. Most of these questions are very easy, such as “Name 2 states that border Mexico.” or “Which ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?”.
Citizenship Test Questions & Citizenship Test App
Some of them are a bit more difficult, but it is a great way to learn a bit more about US history and the political process in the United States. You can download the list of questions here.
You can also download an app on your phone to practice the questions. Just make sure that you search for the most current version, as they change some of the questions every year. I listened to the app a few times and filtered the ones that I did not know, so I could repeat and practice them more often.
After I passed my test, she asked me to add my A-number to all pages of my application, which I had forgotten. Next, we went through my application, step by step and she asked me a few questions. She also asked me about a speeding ticket, which I had not mentioned in my application, because I did not know that a ticket is a citation. I think she saw that it was an honest mistake and let it slide.
After that, she said that my application was successful and that I would receive an invitation to my oath ceremony in the next 2-3 weeks. If you are interested, you can read about my oath ceremony and my feelings about becoming a US Citizen here.
German-US Dual Citizenship Timeline
UPDATE: Please note that waiting times, especially for the BBG application have gone up in a lot in the past 2 years. The average wait time for the BBG is now 9-12 months and the US Citizenship time (depending on where you are applying) is between 4-12 months).
My personal Timeline in 2015/2016:
Beginning of April 2015: Sent in my BBG Application to German Consulate in Houston
End of April 2015: Email from German Consulate from Houston with a request for phone numbers of German relatives and friends
Beginning of May 2015: BBG Application forwarded to Cologne
Beginning of July 2015: BBG Application approved in Cologne
Beginning of October 2015: Application US Citizenship
End of October 2015: Biometrics
End of January 2016: US Citizenship Interview and Test
End of February 2016: US Citizenship Oath Ceremony
Please note that currently the BBG process is taking approximately 6-9 months, so please take that into account!
German-US Dual Citizenship Resources
Official German Government Website with Information about BBG and Dual Citizenship (in German)
Official US USCIS Government Website with Information about US Citizenship
Facebook Group: Selbsthilfegruppe Dual Citizenship (US-Deutsch) (in German) I highly discourage you from joining this group, as the Admin supports racist ideologies and seem to think that German immigrants are better than “other” immigrants.
Facebook Group: Dual Citizenship/Doppelte Staatsbürgerschaft (US/DE) (in German)
Yahoo Group 2 Pässe (not just German-US Dual Citizenship, but other countries as well) (in German)
Please remember to do your own research and not blindly trust the info you find online (even in this article). Articles become outdated and people make mistakes, so double check with the official government websites and channels.
Is it worth it – Disadvantages of Dual Citizenship
Going through the German-US Dual Citizenship process is definitely timeconsuming and a bit stressful.
But on the other hand, I now have the freedom to live and work in the United States and Europe. I also have the freedom to raise my (future) children in two cultures and move freely between two continents.
I am very grateful for this option and that I have this opportunity to have German/US Dual Citizenship as it opens so many doors for me and my family. On the other hand, there are only minor disadvantages. For example, double taxation of income higher than ~$110,000/year if you live abroad. But I am currently still a bit away from making that much money and I am currently not living abroad.
Are you going through the German-US Dual Citizenship process right now or have any questions? Feel free to contact me or ask me any additional questions in the comments.
Pin for later – US-German Dual Citizenship:
Thank you for this informing article. I would never give up my German passport, but dual sounds good.
Hi Stefanie, I felt the same way. I don’t think I would have ever given up my German citizenship. Yet I am also very grateful for the opportunity to get Dual Citizenship.
I was not born in Germany, but lived more than 25 years in Germany, basically I grew up in germany. Now since 2007 i live in USA i was married to american divorced since 2013. I have a 10y GC which will expire by 2020. However I would like to keep my German citizenship. My question is am I eligebel to hold dual citizenship since I was not born in Germany.
Thank You for the Post
it does not matter how you got your German citizenship or if you were born there. All that matters is the fact that you have your German citizenship. Just go through the steps as described above and apply for your BBG and demonstrate your connection to Germany as well as the reason why you want to get your US citizenship.
I hope this helps!
Thanks for your respond to my question.
Do you have any lawyer you refer me . I would like to do the BBG presses through a Lawyer..
Hi Michael, I would suggest you look for a lawyer locally. But honestly, I don’t know anyone who did the BBG through a lawyer. Everyone I talked to did it themselves and each application was successful. The BBG is not complicated. It is just a matter of collecting the necessary documents. Also, writing all correspondence in German will be helpful. There isn’t much a lawyer can do, except give you a list of documents you need to gather, but the list of what most people attach is already mentioned above.
Very informative indeed. Sadly, I missed the boat… didn’t know about this option when I got my US citizenship in 2010. I’m German born & lived there for 28 years. Moved to Florida in 1994.
At least there is now a clear process in place. When I took Australian citizenship in 1993 I automatically lost the German. At that time Germany wasn’t considering dual citizenship at all; only once they wanted to integrate German born and educated Turks the government started, in small and slow steps, to accept the idea…
With the Schengen regulations in place it’s now very difficult to even TRAVEL in Europe for any extended time.
Yes, but I have heard that it supposedly is not very hard to get your citizenship back, if you lost it because of the old regulations that didn’t allow Dual Citizenship. I am definitely very grateful to have the opportunity to live and work in the US and Europe. It just makes sense, especially if you have a bi-national family. A family should never have to worry about that some of their immediate family cannot live with them due to visa or immigration regulations. It might be worth it for you to look into getting your German citizenship back. You can find additional info (in German) here: http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/DE/Infoservice/FAQ/Staatsangehoerigkeit/12-Wiedererwerb.html?nn=383016
Wie sieht es denn mit meinen Kindern aus. Ich hatte sie in 2000 hier nach Amerika geschickt. eine war 12 und der andere 9. Sie sind in 2000 adoptiert worden durch mein Amerikanischen Mann den ich hier geheiratet hatte. Der Richter sagte mir sie sind automatisch Amerikaner aber ich traue dem Braten nicht. Kennst Du Dich damit aus? Ich bin selbst adoptiert worden und habe nur eine Greencard seit 1967. Meine Kinder haben garnichts um zu beweisen dass sie Amerikanisch sind und die Deutsche Botschaft sagte mir dass sie immer noch Deutsch sind. Bitte hilf mir, habe Angst dass sie nicht legal hier sind. Vielen Dank im Vorraus,
Ich kenne mich mit Adoption leider nicht aus, aber ich denke doch mal, dass es da einen Papertrail gibt. Hast du die Adoptionsurkunde von deinen Kindern? Das sollte als Beweis für die Amerikanische Staatsbürgerschaft reichen. Die Deutsche Staatsbürgerschaft sollten sie auch haben, da du ja Deutsche bist. Soweit ich weiss gab es aber auch mal eine Zeit, wo sich 18-Jährige entscheiden mussten, welche Staatsangehörigkeit sie haben. Aber ich weiss nicht, ob das auf deinen Fall zutrifft. Ich bin wie gesagt, kein Immigration Lawyer (oder sonst eine Anwältin), und deswegen kann ich dir leider nicht viel weiterhelfen. Viele Immigration Lawyer bieten eine kostenlose Erstberatung an. Vielleicht kann dir da jemand weiterhelfen?
Very interesting post! I’m a Brit and I’m married to an America, I’m a bit further behind this, I’m still in the middle of getting my resident visa but citizenship is something I’m obviously considering for the future! I don’t want to give up my British citizenship either!
I am an American Citizen since 2001, at the time we could not keep our German. Is there any way I can apply now for my Germany Citizenship. We love to have dual.
Please let me know.
I have the same situation and question!
I have the same question and situation. Anyone know how and where to apply for the German citizen. Would love to have Dual.
Hi. I am in the same boat as you are. I was wondering where you able to get any information? I have searched several sites and I feel like I still didn’t get any answers. Thank you
Thank you for the very informative article you wrote. I have been in this country 33 years and now finally started the process. With my BBG approved I think its time. I am concerned about the test but only because I get nervous lol How long did it take to get the biometrics appointment? They told me 2 weeks and I should be a citizen in about 4 month.
You don’t have to be nervous, it is a really simple test. Download the app and listen to the CD and you will be fine. The timeline depends on the location. I was in San Antonio and it took about 3-4 weeks for the Biometrics appointment and a little less than 5 months for the whole process. But I’ve heard from others that it took much longer.
I am in NYC. Getting the Beibehaltungsurkunde took 4 months. After applying for U.S. citizenship, my biometrics appointment was scheduled 4 weeks later. It took another 10 months until my interview and I took the oath as a U.S. citizen 2 weeks later (exactly 1 year from applying for U.S. citizenship until becoming a U.C. citizen).
Thank you for the useful information. I have lived in the US for 20 years. I hear that that fact alone may qualify me for dual citizenship (without having to write down all the reasons why). Can someone confirm or deny this claim? Danke!
How would the german government know if one has taken foreign citizenship? Is personal disclosure ( at the time one wants to extend his or her german passport) the only way, or, do officials actually check in some database? How do German officials find out that one has become a citizen of a foreign country? Thanks
Ok…it all sounds doable…thank you for the detailed steps…I will get started tomorrow ?
I was young when I moved from Germany with my parents and don’t have any investments. I’m in the process of getting a life insurance policy. Will that be good enough for the investment part of this application? For other reasons I have mentioned jobs requiring security clearance, friends and family that are in Germany, and the fact that I visit almost 3 times a year.
I was born in Germany, but moved when I was young. I want to apply to retain German, before I apply for US citizenship. I don’t have any investments, but I do visit very often and not having american citizenship puts me at a disadvantage for several jobs as my field of study requires security clearance.
Would you have any suggestions on how I can approach this application.
Thanks for your help.
Vielen Dank für diese hervorragende Übersicht über den Bewerbungsprozess zur BBG. Ich werde mich dieses Wochenende mal ranmachen, die Unterlagen herunterzuladen und Materialien zu sammeln. Wie wir so schön sagen: Von der Wiege bis zur Bahre, Formulare, Formulare. 🙂
A very nicely displayed website. Thanks for taking the time.
I have searched through many links looking for someone who has had a similar experience to me. I think my experience is unique and would value any feedback with me retaining my German citizenship when I apply for my US citizenship. Im wondering, given my circumstances, what my/ my children’s chances are of retaining our DE citizenship.
I was born In South Africa (ZA) to German parents (born in DE and moved to ZA a year before I was born). I lived in South Africa for 46 years, before moving to the USA 4.5 years ago, with my Husband, and 2 boys (also ZA born). We were all victims of violent crime ( my father was killed 20 years ago), and when we won the Green card we decided to move to the USA. My children have a German passport from birth ( which I got through my Father). My Husband has UK passport. All my uncles & cousins live in Germany. My mother re-married and lives in a care home on the Isle of Man. I visit her annually and do all her German correspondence for her in relation to her German Pension. I learnt both German and English as a child, but I speak , write and read “conversational” German, with my Mother or cousins/uncle, (who do not speak any English). I have never lived in DE, do not have any accounts, property of any sort in DE.
My only links to Germany are my Uncles and cousins. I have not been to DE for 19 years. The reason we have not been is mainly financial. My mother has not been well (she is 80 years old) and so I spend the money visiting her every year. Also moving to the USA was costly.
My children 17 & 20 years old do not speak any German, But I would like them to keep their German Nationality as they may choose one day to live or study in Germany.
My main reasons for Keeping my German Nationality – is that I am German. All my family is German. Having grown up in South Africa my circumstances led me in other directions, but I still see myself as German and my family is in DE. Although I haven’t been to Europe for a long while (I plan to in the coming years), I use my German passport to visit my mother. Without this I would have to obtain a visa on my South Africa Passport every time I visit her.
My reasons for wanting to to become a USA citizen are: financial (their are better tax deductions for US citizens ), as well as not having to go through the hoops of applying for my Green card renewal in 2 years time. My husband wants to apply for his US citizenship, because he cannot work within certain Federal organizations. There are alsoTax implications for me if he becomes a citizen and I don’t.
My older son wants to apply for post graduation Scholarships & internships & research programs within the US space program and other Government programs, but is exempt as a non- US citizen. Other than his links to my family, he has expressed interest in perhaps working or furthering his studies in Germany.
My younger son, 17 Years, will be in the same situation as my older son. Both are young and although they will have to apply to retain their DE citizenship in their own capacity, I do not want them to loose their links to Germany in the event they should choose to live their one day.
Thanks for the help.
Wow, what an interesting life story and indeed a very special case. I wish I could help you, but I would highly recommend contacting the German embassy/consulate that is responsible for your area and discuss this with them. Here is a link to the consulate finder: http://www.germany.info/consulatefinder They should be able to help you. I keep my fingers crossed that you and your children can keep your German citizenship. I am sorry that I can’t help you more, but this is a unique case and I have never heard of anyone with a similar back story. Good luck with everything and all the best!
Thanks. I did try email the consulate with a brief summary and they gave me the link to the BBG. Trying to get through to them on the phone is impossible. You have summed up well, the process required to acquire Dual citizenship. I will use these as guidelines and fill In what I can and hope for the best.
I’m an American, my husband is German and he was mistakenly deported from the U.S. (he had valid residency permit) which is why we’re now living in Germany. Luckily I could already read, write, and speak German before I came over. I still have 2 more years and then I will be eligible to apply for German citizenship however if laws don’t change I’ll have to surrender my U.S. citizenship. I want both citizenships and find it unfair that I won’t have the option of keeping both. Anyone ever found a way around this?
Hi! Thanks for sharing your experience of becoming a dual citizen! Your site is lively, straight forward and very informative. I had my interview today and should expect my invitation to be sworn in within the next few weeks. So far so good 🙂
Here is my question: I have the “Genehmigung zur Beibehaltung der deutschen Staatsangehörigkeit” in my possession, however, was reading that the “Genehmigung” was not the final step in this process. I quote from the site: “It is extremely important to understand that the permit to retain German citizenship (Beibehaltungsgenehmigung) does not have any legal effect until the applicant receives the document (Beibehaltungsurkunde) from the German consulate.”
Do you have insight on the final step?
Thanks a million,
“Until the applicant receives the document” means that the document needs to be in your physical possession, which you say is the case. So you are fine.
If your Beibehaltungsantrag is approved, but the document is at the German consulate without you having picked it up, then it is not in your possession.
Now you need to get moving, because you only have a 2-year window to get your U.S. citizenship. In my case it took exactly 1 year from filing the application to the oath ceremony.
Are you obligated to fill out any kind of German tax forms every year? If so, which ones? How much time does it take? What does it cost? What if you live in another country for over a year besides the US and Germany? Do you get to choose which country you report tax?
Did you take the Beihbehaltungsgenehmigung to your naturalization appointment? How does that work? My appointment is coming up, and I have the Genehmigung, I just don’t know what to do with it after the appointment.
no, the US Government does not care about the Beibehaltungsgenehmigung. This is between you and the German government. For the US Government, you are ONLY American after naturalization and they do not care about the Beibehaltungsgenehmigung. You have to keep it and need it when you apply for your German passport (as far as I know, but I have not applied for a German passport via a consulate yet). I hope this helps!
Hi, anybody know the approximate wait times for Staatsbürgerschaftsausweis? I submitted my paperwork via the LA Consulate and it was recorded in Köln in September.
I will hold dual US/German citizenship as my Grandfather came to the US and my father was born while my Grandfather was still a German citizen. So, I have a direct line of descent, and all the supporting documentation was certified by the Consulate.
How and where do I apply for my child’s (13) German passport born to German/US parents? Should I do that before applying for BBG and US citizenship? Thank you :)))
Kathy Sept 3,2019
My bother 54 Us Citizen by birth,Has lived in Heidelberg Germany singe childhood.My mother was a German citizen,my father US Citizen.Does that not Make him a dual Citizen?What Does he have to do to Keep his US citizenship?Can He not have Both autimaticaly?Thank you for Any help.
Hi Maria, Ich bin in Deutschland aufgewachsen (28 Jahre) und lebe seither in den USA. Vor einem halben Jahr bin American Citizen geworden (naturalization). I assumed that that would maintain my German Citizenship but now realize that I might have lost it. Do you have any suggestions on how to recover it?
I found your blog while searching for taxation on dual citizenship.
I live in the US, but inherited in Germany. Do you have any recommendations or links you could share?
Thank you for this great article! I just mailed my application today, fingers crossed. And because of your handy dandy list and timeline I feel a bit less anxious 😉 ….Vielen Dank von Nora aus Berlin, seit 11 Jahren im schoenen WA State.
I am also German born and raised there. I have been here in the US since July 1990. I am working basically on my 3rd permanent resident card. When I went to the USCIS field office in Oregon, I was told that I cannot do dual citizenship, she said that would have to give up my German citizenship. Even so my German passport doesn’t expire until 2023, she said that they won’t take my passport because it’s not theirs to take. It belongs to Bundles Republik Deutschland. I don’t want to lose my German citizenship thus I have my relatives there. So is there anyway that I can retain my German citizenship and become a naturalized US Citizen.
Also what happens to passport once it expires in 2023, and I am a US citizen. Can I get another German passport? Please help, thank you
I just wanted to thank you for this article. This is how I found out that this was even an option. Thanks to you my Antrag ist abgeschickt and I didn’t need to hire a lawyer at all.
Thanks a million!!! Priceless and concise info like no other!!
My wife Rita was born in Germany and both parents are born Germans. The immigrated to the US when she was 4 years old and became a naturalized US citizen.
We are contemplating moving to Portugal when we retire in 2020 and I understand that it will be beneficial for her to have the dual German/US citizenship as we can then move freely not only to Portugal or any other EU country.
Before applying for a passport I assume that we will have to get a certificate or proof of German citizenship. We just found out a couples of days ago about this so we have not done a lot of research.
Wonderful website and advice, Maria, thank you! I looked into the BBG process last year to explore my option of dual citizenship with the US and Germany. I had reached out to a couple of lawyers in the US who outlined pretty much the same process as you did here, but they mentioned that the German consulate may ask me to come in for an interview (more or less implying that my German language skills have to be up to par to pass). My conversational German is fine (I was born there and moved when I was 11), but anything technical or beyond the every day conversation may be more difficult. Have you heard of others having to do an interview in German for their BBG application?
Thanks for your help and advice!
Thank you so much, Maria! Thank you especially for the example reasons, I’ll definitely use them as a guideline while drafting mine.
I’m just in the process of getting my restrictions on residency removed and will submit the BVA this summer.
Since you’re currently just on a green card, you should be fine. Just follow Maria’s advice and get the BVA approved BEFORE you apply for naturalization.
Like most countries, Germany doesn’t like to give dual-citizenship. Technically, it’s not allowed. However, this form will give you a special exception.
I was born in 1959 to my German mother who came to the United States in 1957 and did not become an American citizen and give up her German citizenship until 1963. I am seeing conflicting information as to whether I’m eligible to acquire citizenship through her even though I never have before now. I believe the law in the past was that citizenship only passed through the father. Do you believe that I would be eligible for German citizenship through my mother today even though I’ve never lived in Germany?
Thank you very much!
it all depends when you were born. If you were born before 1975, the German citizenship was only passed by a German father (after 1975 any parent is ok). Otherwise, if you were born out of wedlock… then there might be a chance to become German.
Wenn man seine Deutsche Staatsbuergerschaft behaelt und Deutsch-Amerikanischer Dopperlstaatler wird, aendert sich dann der Oath of Allegiance, da dieser in der ersten Zeile ja verlangt dass man jegliche Bindung an ein anderes Land aberkennt? Was war deine Erfahrung damit?
Thank you so much for the information. I am a German citizen through my father, who is a German citizen due to my great grandfather living and fighting in the German army. I was born in Ecuador and neither my father nor I have actually ever been to Germany. I am a US resident and would love to move to Europe for a few years. As you know, being a resident I am not allowed out of the country for more than 6 months- so I thought about getting my US Citizenship. How could I go about this since I have NO ties to Germany whatsoever? I do not want to lose my German citizenship.
Thanks for your help!
My family and I escaped from East Germany and Immigrated to the US in the early 60’s. I became a naturalized US citizen five years later at the age of 18. I assume that at the time I lost my german citizenship. It would be nice if there was a way for me to reclaim my German citizenship as well as maintain my American citizenship. Any ideas?
I have dual citizenship (German/U.S.). Which passport do you present when you enter Germany?
I’m a German citizen, and I applied for my US citizenship. I went for finger prints as well, and everything is in process. I just find out that I have to apply for BBG to keep my German citizenship. I had no idea till a friend brought it up to my attention… can I still apply to keep my citizenship?
As the adult (55) child of an American father and a German mother, would I still be eligible to claim my German citizenship?
I’m a citizen of the USA. I’m looking to get dual citizenship in Germany. I was born in Germany. I’m retired and live on social security and dividends of stock I own. When I move and live in Europe, would I have to pay taxes on my social security payments and dividends to the German government? I understand I would need to pay the USA taxes. Just not sure about being double taxed in Germany.
My father was born in Germany and grew up there. I was born in America, but according to all sources I am a Dual-Citizen. I want to study in Germany (uni), however I do not know where to go from here. Any information you can give me will be appreciated.
HI MARIA! LOVE YOUR WEBSITE…I OBTAINED MY GERMAN PASSPORT FROM MY GRANDFATHER, MY DAD, MYSELF AND NOW ,MY KIDS. MY GIRLS WERE BORN IN THE US AND I APPLIED FOR THEIR GERMAN PASSPORTS WHILE I WAS HOLDING THE GREEN CARD , AND I BECAME US CITIZEN 5 YEARS AGO, MY KIDS GERMAN PASSPORT EXPIRED AND I STILL HAVE MINE WHICH EXPIRES IN 2020 AND I HAVEN’T USED IT AT ALL AFTER LOTS OF READING I’M SCARED OF GOING TO RENEW THEIR PASSPORT BECAUSE GOING THRU RESEARCH ABOUT MY SITUATION, EVEN SAYS THAT I CAN GO TO JAIL! BECAUSE I DID NOT RETURN MY GERMAN PASSPORT WHEN I BECAME US CITIZEN…YEP, ALSO SOME WEBSITE SAYS I MIGHT HAVE TO PAY SOME PENALTIES AND I DONT WANT TO KNOW HOW MUCH ( IF THAT IS TRUTH ). I WISH I CAN KEEP MINE, BUT I HAVE NO TIES WITH GERMANY AT ALL, MY GRANDFATHER MOVED FROM THERE IN THE 1930’S-40’S. MY QUESTION IS, IF MY KIDS WERE BORN IN THE US AND OBTAINED THE GERMAN PASSPORT WHILE I WAS HOLDING THE GREEN CARD, WOULD THEY LOSE THEIR PASSPORT TOO IF I LOST MINE BECAUSE I BECAME US CITIZEN WITHOUT THE PERMIT? DO YOU THING I CAN TRY TO APPLY AND RETAINED MINE EVEN I HAVE NO TIES AND NOT KNOWING THE LANGUAGE? THANK YOU.
Thank you for your wealth of information. I myself have been a Green-card holder for over a decade but feel strongly that I should to become a dual citizen (married in the US now to a US woman, still have family ties in Germany etc).
Upon my start to apply for the dual citizenship I will point out that the link given for the BBG is now located here (https://www.bva.bund.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/DE/Buerger/Ausweis-Dokumente-Recht/Staatsangehoerigkeit/Beibehaltung/Antrag_B.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=1) due the BVG updating their website.
Good luck to all and thanks for putting this together!
Do you know any attorneys who specialize in helping fill out the Beibehaltungsgenehmigung?
My chances to be accepted are very low, so I need professional assistance.
Tolle website! Sehr viel gute und richtige Information! Ich habe die Doppelte Staatsbuergerschaft nun schon fast 10 Jahre. Bin gebuertige Deutsch, lebe aber seit 2003 in den USA, Ueberlege gerade aber zumindest fuer mehrere Monate im Jahre zurueck nach Deutschland zu gehen und versuche mich schlau zu machen, wie ich das am Besten anstelle. Arbeiten wuerde ich wahrsch. in Deutschland und Urlaub oder Volunteer in USA waehrend ich hier in einem Wohnmobil wohne. Hast du irgendwelche Kontakte, wo man sich ueber so eine Situation belesen kann?
Danke! Gruss aus Californien
Hallo ich habe auch eine Frage bin schon über 40 Jahre in den USA habe aber immer noch meine deutsche Staatsangehörigkeit zur Zeit bin ich in Rente und meine Mutter in Deutschland ist sehr krank ich müsste nach Deutschland gehen für eine Zeit lang aber als ich letztes Mal vier zehn Monate in Deutschland war als ich zurück kam wurde mir gesagt das ich nicht so lange bleiben darf was kann ich tun damit ich länger in Deutschland bleiben kann für eine Zeit Lang um mich um meine Mutter zu kümmern meine Mutter ist 94 Jahre alt und kann auch nicht mehr so wie sie will nun ich bin auch nicht sehr gesund und wenn ich nach Deutschland gehe dann habe ich keine Krankenversicherung zur meine Frage ist wenn ich mich in Deutschland anmelden werde ich dann die Krankenversicherung bekommen da ich ja in Deutschland gearbeitet habe ich wollte erst meine dual Citizenships Beantragen aber weiß nicht ob das auch das richtige ist und wenn ich für immer nach Deutschland gehen sollte was muss ich da Unternehmen vielen Dank im Voraus und hoffe das mir jemand helfen kann
My family was living in Germany in the year (1954) as my father work for the American military being stationed there. My question is I am 65 and was born in Germany on a military base. Can I apply for duel citizenship now as I
I am so glad I found your blog
I found out about this process a little late. I passed my test and I am scheduled to give my oath in 3 weeks. I have not even started the process to keep my German citizenship. I really want to keep my German citizenship! If I cancel/delay my oath ceremony it may look bad if I have to start over. I really need some advice.
As German living in the States with Dual Citizenship do we have to give up our current permanent resident address in Germany?
What is required for an American who qualifies for German Citizenship, to Keep the US passport when aquiring the German one?
I am looking into the opposite process. I am a US citizen but many of my family members live in Germany and I want to get German citizenship but i don’t want to lose American citizenship. Does the BBG still apply if i can show disadvantages of losing one?
I am in the process of completing the Beibehaltungsgenehmigung fior my dual citizenship German/US. Can I make a copy of the notarized passport and green card to mail in to the German Consulate? Or do I need the copies also notarized?
Hallo, ich habe eine Frage an sie. Ich bin 1975 aus Deutschland ausgewandert weil ich einen Amerikaner geheirated hatte. Und um rechte zu haben in den U.S.A , hatte ich die US Staatsbürgerschaft angenommen in 1986. Aber die Amerikanischen Behörden haben mir gesagt das ich nur eine Staatsbürgerschaft haben könnte, in diesen Fall Die Amerikanische. Ist es nach so vielen Jahren möglich die Deutsche Staatsbürgerschaft wieder anzunehmen und die Amerikanische beizubehalten? Meine Deutsche Familie wohnt in Berlin, und ich möchte gerne mehr Zeit mit der Familie dort verbringen können in der Zukunft.
Vielen Dank für Ihre Antwort.
Hello, I was born and raised in Germany by 2 German parents. I moved to the US in 1984 with only my Mother. By 1991, I got married, moved back to Germany until 1994. Then my husband and son moved to the US. Long story short, I renounced my German Citizenship in 2003 when I became an American Citizen. The option to become a Dual Citizen was not discussed at the Immigration Office at the time. Needless to say, I never filled out the Beibehaltungsgenehmigungsform and now wish I had. Is there any recourse for me at this time? My dad lived in Germany up until his death in 2015; I still have other family in Germany that I am in contact with weekly. Thanks…any input would be greatly appreciated!
Born in Germany to a German woman and an American soldier. They married several months after my birth. Raised in USA. Do I have any stake in Germany or can I request asylum or dual citizenship..
Ich bin Deutsche und habe Dual Citizen seit 2004, ich lebe for wiegend in den USA und Reise jährlich nach Deutschland um Familie zu sehen. Ich halte eine private Deutsche Krankenversicherung seit20 Jahren die ich bezahle von meinem Deutschen Konto das ich einzig halte für diesen Zweck , sodass auch Krankenrückerstattungen erhalte auf diesem Konto. Ich habe keine anderen Einkünfte in DL , meine Bank möchte nun wissen , ob ich dieses versteuer oder wo ich versteuer und hat Anfragen auf meine Tax Nr. proof of Residence mit Elektrikrechnung e.c….. Ich denke die Bank weiß nicht das ich Dual Citizen habe… und ich denke diese Info ist nicht deren Buiseness… Ich habe meine Kontoauszüge send zu meiner Schwester in DL… hat jemand any Info für mich … Danke