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German Law/Obtaining German citizenship


I noticed you said somewhere that you are more likely to answer questions from 'nice' people, hence the addendum to my name.
Wondering if there is any chance I could get German citizenship (or even requalify for an Aufenthaltserlaubnis, used to have one that was unbefristet).
My mother and all her Vorfahren were born in Germany. She moved to the States and took on American citizenship before I was born. I was therefore born to two American parents in 1951 and have an American passport.
I lived and worked in Germany from 1973 - 1975 and again from 1977 - 1995.
I was married to a German citizen but divorced him in 1995. I am now married to an American.
My daughter was born with dual citizenship and currently lives in the US.
I speak fluent German (and teach it).
I am eligible for some sort of pension from the German gov't and plan on applying for it soon.
I travel to Germany about once a year, this year May - June.
I am self-employed and earn enough money to not be dependent on any state.
I have a passport from my German great-grandfather dated 1845.
I might want to live in Germany again - or at least spend more time there.
Your thoughts?
Vielen Dank im voraus!!!

Hello Shelley,

there is a possibility to get naturalized as a German citizen without living there if you can show very close ties to Germany. With such an application, Germany has full discretion on whether to award citizenship or not. There is no entitlement to it. Based on everything you have written, you might indeed qualify.
The catch: Germany would require you to give up your US citizenship.

For more on naturalization in Germany from abroad:

The residence permit should also be a possibility if you can show that you will have enough income (or someone will provide a place for you to live) and that you have medical insurance. US citizens need to be treated with a most-favoured nation status when applying for residence permits (Art. 3 I 3 German-American Friendship Treaty).

For any stay of up to 3 months, you don't need any visa at all of course.

All the best!
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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