German Law/Marriage - Citizenship - House - Timing
Dear Andreas, Good Day!
I found your website in a good timing and have a few specific questions that I can't seem to find proper answers to. I wish to avoid contacting the authorities at the moment since I want first to know if it's right. I appreciate you giving free advice and will gladly send you a book... Is E-book ok?
Now for my information-seeking section. First, background: I'm an Israeli living in Germany (Berin) for almost 4 years. In the first 2 years I lived on a student Visa while studying German. Then I got married to a German guy (Lebenspartnerschaft) in the lovely city hall of Pankow. Soon afterwards I received from the Auslanderbehorde a permit for 2 years that I need to renew in the coming August, which shouldn't be a problem.
I wish to apply in some point for German citizenship / naturalization, and wonder:
1. Since I live for four years and married for two years in Germany, from when can I really apply? I've read many different answers regarding this one...
2. I recently purchased a house near Prenzlau. The house belongs to me, registered on my name and is officially from 1.May.2014 my main residency place. I share my time from our small flat in Berlin (that we rent) and the house.
3. Should I apply, when the time comes, in some in the Uckermark where my main Wohnsitz will now be, or in Berlin? Can it work against or for me if I do that in a specific place?
4. Will I lose my Israeli Citizenship or NOT? I've encountered so many different answers to that one as well...
Some facts which might be relevant: I am a member of Kunstlersozialerkasse, I am Selbstanding (I'm a filmmaker and do cooking classes and catering as well...), I pay Rente, I speak German well. And again, as I said, I own a house...
I would really appreciate if you can answer me on your free time. Nothing really urgent. And I looked in your book list, but not sure if you already have some of these or not. Any special request? :)
I hope you enjoy Easter, have a great and sunny day!
thank you very much for your friendly message and your wishes. Chag sameach! Since I live in Italy, I do indeed have more sunny days than I used to in Germany. I would really miss Israel in Berlin.
But now to your questions:
1. According to Nr. 18.104.22.168 VV-StAG (the Federal internal guidelines for the implementation of the Citizenship Act), you must have been residing in Germany for 3 years and have been married for 2 years.
Your current residence permit is sufficient to apply for German citizenship (Nr. 10.1.1.2 c VV-StAG)
You will need to provide a certificate of your German language proficiency at B1 level and pass the citizenship test. It's a multiple choice test which is not too hard. All the questions are online, so that you can prepare yourself for it.
2./3. You will probably have to apply at the place of your main residence ("Erstwohnsitz" or "Hauptwohnsitz").
The only problem I see is that having a different address from your partner/husband might raise suspicion. It is one of the requirements for obtaining citizenship so soon that you are still married and that the marriage is alive and well. This does not necessarily require that you live together, but it might require some explanations.
4. That's tricky. Generally, Germany requires that you give up your existing citizenship(s) when you apply for naturalization. But there are exceptions if you either cannot give up your citizenship (some countries don't allow that possibility) or if Israel makes it very hard for you to give up your citizenship (in a court ruling from 2003 I read that Israel would require that you have lived outside of Israel for 7 years: http://www.rechtsprechung.niedersachsen.de/jportal/portal/page/bsndprod.psml?doc
but I don't know if this is still the case). You could then argue the exception of Nr. 22.214.171.124.2 VV-StAG, arguing that you cannot be expected to wait for these 7 years when you already fulfill all the requirements for naturalization now. However, the deciding authority could argue that you don't suffer much hardship if you continue to live in Germany without citizenship for a few more years, especially as you might obtain permanent residence status instead.
This is something where it is hard to predict how they will decide because the official who makes the decision has some discretion. I would recommend to either ask them beforehand how they usually handle applications from Israelis or to ask around if you know others in your situation (you do however need to be careful not to confuse your situation with those who have German ancestors and receive citizenship because of their family history).
4a. Continuing from the last point, in the case of Israelis it is often the case that the grandparents emigrated/fled from Europe, so that you might in addition to naturalization have the chance of some European citizenship by descent. Even if that won't be a German citizenship, it could give you an EU passport which is just as good as German citizenship for living in Germany.
In the case of other EU citizenships, Germany has no objection against dual citizenship.
But I'll stop now, or I will confuse you more than I will help.
Thank you very much for mentioning my book wishlist. I don't read e-books unfortunately, but I would really appreciate if you want to mail me something, especially from my German language wishlist http://mosereien.wordpress.com/buecherwunschliste/
as you live in Germany. My address is at the bottom of the wishlist.
If you have more questions, please feel free to contact me anytime,