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German Law/Obtaining German Citizenship Through Marriage Without Living in Germany


Hi Andreas,

I am married to a German citizen in California, United States. We are both residing here. I am a Chinese citizen and I travel to Germany about 1- 2 months a year. I know that marrying to a German citizen plus 3 years of residence in Germany will qualify me the German citizenship. But is there a way to obtain the citizenship without living in Germany for 3 full years?

Thank you so much !


Hello Leo,

yes, there is a possibility to obtain German citizenship without ever living in Germany: 14 StAG (see no. 7 of my FAQ on German citizenship: ). This clause requires that you have "close ties to Germany".

Regular visits are usually not enough. You would need to have continuous ties, like doing a PhD at a German university or working for a German company or mainly for German clients or cultural activities with strong ties to Germany.

The close ties need to be "to Germany", not to your wife's family in Germany. So, regular family visits are by far not sufficient.
Also, this clause does not release you from the language requirement to obtain German citizenship.

It's possible, but I would need to know a lot more about your personal, professional and academic background to advise you how to go about it. Please feel free to contact me at for a personal consultation.

Andreas Moser

German Law

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Andreas Moser


Extensive experience in international family law, especially international child abductions and child custody cases. All other areas of German law as well: constitutional law, criminal law, business and contract law, immigration law, inheritance law, and so on.


Lawyer in Germany from 2002 to 2009. Lawyer for US Army JAG Corps before. Bar-certified specialisation in family law and in administrative law. Articles and lectures about international and domestic family law.


2000 Law Degree from University of Regensburg, Germany 2002 admitted to the bar (until 2009) 2013 MA Philosophy at the Open University, UK

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