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German Law/Can I apply for a German citizenship after 3 years?


QUESTION: Hi Andreas,

I am about to complete my 3rd year of residence in Germany (March 2016). I am married to a German National for over 13 years but have only lived with her in Germany for 3 years. I have 2 kids who goes to school here in Germany. I have also completed my B1 and the 'Leben in Deutschland' Course.

From a profession perspective I come from an IT background and has experience mainly on the General Management side. I have had problems securing a job in these last 3 years - not sure why. I have applied for over 600 jobs and secured only 2 interviews. Even though I have a B1 level in German, I have found it difficult to get through. I personally believe it is because of a few reasons. First one being that I have not studied or worked in Europe and Secondly I am not fluent in German. Most of the positions I apply for are senior level positions but I belive since most to all of them require travelling to other countries or offices outside Europe, I have been refused the interviews.

This leads me to a few questions.

1- Can I apply for a German citizenship at the completion of 3 years of residence? - knowing I am married to a German for 13 years and have 2 kids and that I have completed my B1 and 'Leben in Deutschland' Course.
2- or Do I need to have a job before I apply for citizenship?

Getting the citizenship only increases my chances of getting a job in other countries as well.

ANSWER: While having a job is not a requirement for naturalization, it is a requirement that you can financially support yourself and your family ( 8 I no. 4 StAG).

If you can do so with other means, for example regular freelance work, or based on savings or from a company that you own, then you don't need to have a job.

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QUESTION: So basically the answer is yes, it is a requiremetn - if job is the only means I have to support myself or family. I cannot apply for a citizenship unless I am off the welfare.

A followup questions is that let's say I get a job in the next couple of months - before the expiration of my current permit, would that suffice or is there a minimum requirement to be supporting yourself and family .e.g. 2 or 3 years or can i apply for a citizenship as soon as my initial 3 year term expires , subject to i have a job.

I would be grateful to you for your assistance.

It depends on the assessment of your future prospects at the time of your application.

So you would definitely have to wait until the end of the probation period, and after that it depends on the type of contract, job, salary and company. Obviously, an unlimited contract with a well-established company will look better than a 6-months contract with a company teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Sometimes it's better to wait with the citizenship application to show that you have been able to hold a job for a long time instead of applying too early.

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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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