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German Law/German Citizenship Acquisition before 8 years


Greetings Andreas,

Thanks for taking the time to read my question!

I've browsed through your website, answered questions on this site, and a few other websites regarding obtaining German citizenship and still have a few questions.

I'm currently studying in Bavaria on a study permit for two years with intention to stay afterwards. I'm financially independent, have no criminal record, and am approximately B1 level in German (still learning), so I'm eligible in approx. 8 years for naturalised citizenship. However, I'd like to apply sooner for citizenship and was curious to know the following:

1. I've read that B1 or better fluency and high integration both reduce the wait period by one year - if an applicant has both does this reduce the wait period by two years or only one? (In theory, of course, this is up to whomever reviews my application ultimately).

2. My father and his family had to give up German citizenship upon coming to Canada in the early 1950's. I was born in 1989 and my father was told previous to 2000 that he and I would have to apply as foreigners for citizenship (starting from square one, so to speak). Does proof of close German heritage affect one's application now that the laws have changed? My grandfather also worked for the government previous to leaving Germany, so that may or may not affect things. (You mention in the post on 9/11/2013 German Blood" that heritage can help to a degree, however, I'm curious to know my own odds of it aiding because the link is quite close. I also have family with whom I speak with who live in here if that makes any difference.)

3. German law requires citizens to give up their previous citizenship upon receipt of German citizenship (with a few exceptions that do not apply to me as I am neither a refugee nor old enough to fall under the special circumstances mentioned in other posts). If I give up Canadian citizenship to take German citizenship and later find I want my Canadian citizenship back, do I have to give up German citizenship once I regain Canadian citizenship? According to Canadian law, I can hold two citizenships/passports if I am a Canadian, however German law says I can only hold one. Who wins in this circumstance?

Thank you very much for your time and expertise!

All the best,

Hello Lauren,

1 + 2) Whenever you apply before the 8 years period, you are applying for naturalization by discretion. That means that neither me nor anybody else can give you any definitive answer because it will depend on the overall picture that you will present and on the opinion of the person deciding your case.

Usually, the 8 years are reduced to 7 years if you pass the integration course (which won't be a problem after having studied in Germany), and then it can be reduced by a further year (to 6 years) if you have reached a level of German of at least B2 (Nr. VV-StAG).

The family background is usually not that relevant in these applications. It's you who applies, not your father or grandfather. What will count much more is what you will be doing during your time in Germany. Try to get involved in social, environmental, political or sports activities. I could give you more specific advice if I knew what you were studying and what your interest were.

The only other way to really cut down the waiting time (to 3 years) is to get married to a German citizen. Same-sex marriage counts as well.

3) Once you have German citizenship and you re-apply for naturalization in Canada, you would automatically lose German citizenship ( 25 I StAG), unless you apply for permission to keep your German citizenship before you apply for the Canadian one ( 25 II StAG). For this application to be successful, you would need to present a compelling case as to why you need (not want) both. If you have recently given up your Canadian citizenship in order to acquire German citizenship, I doubt Germany would be very liberal regarding dual citizenship.

As to your question "which law wins", that's easy: Canadian law can only determine what happens to your Canadian citizenship, but has no jurisdiction over German citizenship. So even if Canada allows you to keep German citizenship, it will have become void. Of course it may take a while for Germany to realize that this has happened, ad they may never find out about it, but that's a risky thing (especially if you want to have children and want to pass on both citizenships to them).

First, you should definitely finish your studies. There is no point in applying before you have shown that you can finish your studies and find a job or other employment afterwards. That will be the minimum that the immigration authorities will be looking for.

Alles Gute und viel Erfolg!

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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