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German Law/Is the 8-years residency requirement is full 8-years?


QUESTION: Hello and many thanks for your help and efforts to all those whom asking,

I found your answers much helpful yet I didn't actually find an answer to a specific issue,

The 8-years residency requirement, (which can also be decreased), is it a full 8 years? I mean yes I can leave the country for a period of time, but is there anything that clearly specifies how long is this period? Can I just live inside Germany (with my Aufenthaltserlaubnis) for a couple of days and come back later after few months (of course less than 180 days) and stay for another couple of days and leave again and keep it like that? Which mean the total period inside Germany (in this 8 years) is like a month or two?

Many thanks again and much appreciated!

ANSWER: If you did it like that, it would be very hard for you to show that you were indeed a "resident" of Germany. Remember that you will also be asked to provide your income statements, your tax statements, proof of having contributed to the German pension system, lease contract and so on. Keep in mind that if you leave Schengen, your passport data will be collected as well.

If any of that doesn't check out, your application will be denied.

The other problem is that it's probably hard to attain a level of fluency in Germany if you don't live in a German-speaking country.

In other words, unless you are willing to invest a lot of money to rent a pace where you don't live and pay taxes for a job that you don't really have, it's not a feasible option.

Andreas Moser

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QUESTION: Thank you so much, my question that is there anything in the law to specify the allowed length? for example USA clearly states 183 days inside USA must be physically present.

Thanks again

*Note is it possible to rate you without closing this question?

ANSWER: The citizenship law requires "residence" throughout the 8 years. It also states that this residence is not interrupted if you are absent for up to 6 months at a time ( 12b I 1 StAG) or actually any longer period that the immigration authorities gave you permission for.

However, if you are more absent than you are in Germany, then you are hardly a "resident" at all (you may still hold a residence permit, but that's not the same as being a resident). This would particularly be the case if you are a resident in another country (factually again, not legally).

In other words, if during these 8 years you mainly live in place A and not in Germany, then your ties to Germany would be very questionable. If on the other hand you always return to Germany and travel to countries B, C, D, E, F, G, and H without establishing residence anywhere, then you may still have your strongest ties to Germany.

Ultimately, I would need to know your exact plans to give you a clear(er) answer. But it sounds to me like you underestimate the requirements and believe that it's a formal process in which you need to tick a few boxes and you will get citizenship. That's not the case. With Germany being in the Schengen zone, a simple 183-day requirement makes no sense. Nobody will notice when you cross any of the land borders. Therefore all the other factors are checked more carefully. Basically, your story will need to add up.

As I said in my previous answer, if you are not paying taxes and social contributions in Germany, you would have a very hard time to claim that you have been a resident. If you receive income in another country, it will be impossible to pay German social contributions on that. Of course you can always pay voluntary taxes, but the practicalities of that would raise a lot of questions as well.

Andreas Moser

(Yes, I think it's possible to rate each stage of the question separately. Thank you very much already!)

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QUESTION: Thanks a lot!

"With Germany being in the Schengen zone, a simple 183-day requirement makes no sense. Nobody will notice when you cross any of the land borders. "  ... Exactly what's on my mind, that why I've been asking about the official requirement and was 99% certain there is no such a requirement since the authorities can't confirm that I'm inside Germany or any other Schengen state.

One last question, if the applicant (non-EU of course, Syrian to be specific) was granted the citizenship, may he ask to keep his old passport just for short period of time? (although the letter of renouncing citizenship is not required for Syrians since the Syrian citizenship is too hard to be renounced, both refugee or normal resident), sometimes a man has a residence permit in another country(Saudi Arabia to be specific), and the citizenship specified there is his old one, so if he was granted the German passport and given up the previous one, he's no more entitled to return to the other country since the passport and nationality has changed(Saudi Arabia will not allow you to return with another passport even if you're dual, in that case they allow you to enter with your regular passport (the citizenship specified on the residence permit card) and after you're in you change the citizenship in the travel and immigration authority by submitting both passports, this procedure called Info Transferring.

Is it possible for the applicant to ask to keep their old passport among with the German passport just for a short period of time so he can fix this issue? Like two or three months only and then he return to Germany and give up his old one?

I know this sounds complicated but I really didn't find anything useful on the internet.

A LOT of thanks in advance! You honestly deserve 10/10 in all ratings!

1) Like you said, Syrians are currently not required to give up their citizenship when applying for German citizenship. So, the question is hypothetical (although nobody knows what the Syrian policy will be in 8 years, of course), which is why I will only answer it briefly.

2) There is no transitional period like the one you describe. I also don't see why it's necessary. You can only obtain German citizenship if you have obtained German residence before, so you wouldn't be living in Saudi Arabia anymore (see the prior two questions). Why would you 'need' to return to Saudi Arabia for a few months?
And if you 'want' to travel to Saudi Arabia again, you can always get a new visa on your German passport. (Notwithstanding the fact that under the current practice, you would still have your Syrian passport.)

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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