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German Law/Two questions about Niederlassungserlaubnis and Kindergeld


I have two separate questions and hope you can help me with one or both.
I am American but I have been living in Germany since 2003. I am married to a German and we have small children. I am an artist, a member of the Künstlersozialkasse, and I acquired a Niederlassungserlaubnis through my job before I got married. My husband now wants to relocate to South Africa but with a second residency (Wohnsitz) in Germany. We will retain a house in Germany and he will be retained part-time as a partner by his law firm (he plans to keep working in Germany remotely and by coming back to Germany).

My question is twofold: One, what will happen to my Niederlassungserlaubnis if I leave Germany (although I will maintain a residence in Germany and so won't "abmelden")? If I am no longer a member of KSK and no longer "pflichtversichert", will this also affect my permit especially since I didn't get it through my marriage?

Second of all, what about Kindergeld? If my husband and I are both Steuerberechtigt (My income has gone down considerable since we have small children but my husband will still keep making money from his firm in Germany and paying taxes in Germany), are we able to keep Kindergeld? We plan to put the kids in a German School and have a German education abroad in case we ever decided to come back.

In advance, thank you for your help.

Dear Rachel,

I am not an Immigration Law expert but I guess you will loose your Niederlassungserlaubnis when you leave Germany. You can get an Aufenthaltserlaubnis when you decide to move back to Germany because you are married to a German.

Your husband as a German can receive Kindergeld while he lives in South Africa if he is unbeschraenkt einkommensteuerpflichtig in Germany and full fills certain obligations. Normally this applies for Beschaeftigte im auswaertigen Dienst (Botschaftsangehoerige/EU-Beamte).

Your husband has to pay income tax in South Africa if he works and lives there. I am still licensed in Munich and have an office there with my partner but I pay my taxes in the US and I never claimed Kindergeld for my 8 year old son.

You need to be careful not to commit well fare fraud.

Carolin Burgess

German Law

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Carolin Schulz-Burgess


German legal issues on inheritance, divorce, alimony, child custody and support, last wills and testaments, and other problems involving international family and civil law.


I am a certified German laywer with professional experience in both German and American law firms. Since 2001 I have been working independently at my firm, German Legal Services. I have represented hundreds of clients on matters involving US-German legal issues. One of my firm's areas of specialization is in divorce and child support and custody issues between members of the U.S. Armed Forces and German civilians.

World Affairs Council, German Bar Association

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I received my undergraduate and JD degrees both from the University of Wuerzburg, Germany, whose law school is consistently ranked in the top 10 in Germany.

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