dual citizenship - anybody know how to get this done in stuttgart?


I am an American with a German mother. I moved her with my son last July, I am also an independent consultant with contracts and statements to prove earnings. I have gotten a couple of extensions on my visa and would like to stay here in Germany. The Auslanderamt herein Stuttgart said I need to go to Koln to apply for dual citizenship, I called BVA there and they said no it can be done in Stuttgart.

Does anyone have experience with this, and if so hat is the best way to navigate this. I can tell you now they do not understand the life of an independent consultant.

TIA for your help!

Dial citizenship is not normally allowed for non-EU citizens. You will most probably have to forgo the other citizenship to become German, except if you became German and USA citizen by birth.
You could consult a good immigration lawyer about what to do in your case - you might need one anyway if the authorities are not cooperative.

yeah, beppi is correct - it doesn't sound lie you can get dual citizenship.  I'm from the US originally, and am also an independent freelancer who makes a living here.  Every time I've renewed my work visa (Aufenthaltserlaubnis), the kind people there have told me "you have another x years and then you can get our Daueraufenthaltserlaubnis (permanent visa)".  The total is I think 7 CONSECUTIVE years, which I botched because I was longer than 6 months out of the country in my seventh year.  Oh well, gotta start again.  But a permanent visa is like the US green card - you can work forever in the entire EU, and can even live/work up to a year and a half of something outside the EU and still be considered a citizen.

Dual citizenship as a US citizen just doesn't exist.  You'd have to give up your US citizenship in exchange for German.  The exceptions are listed on some US official website, but if I remember correctly it is a) you or your spouse works directly for the government (and even then it is only considered if you really are between US and, say, France, 10x/year due to governmental work), b) you have US citizenship but live abroad (or other way around) and are under 18.  But I even think they started disallowing the second case.

In any event, everyone I talked to whose opinion on the matter mattered discouraged me from giving up my US citizenship.  The EU-Daueraufenthaltserlaubnis secures me EU-based insurances (although as a freelancer I've gone the international route).

Hope this helped!

Lesterhenry: You seem to confuse Aufenthaltserlaubnis (temporary residence visa, usually for a year), Niederlassungserlaubnis (permanent visa, which you can get after 3 or 4 years and which will lapse if you leave Germany for 6 months or more) and citizenship (which you can get after 7 or 8 years and which will never lapse or expire, but you have to renounce any other citizenship you have).

hi beppi.  Well, you need to have the first one for some years before you can even apply for a Niederlassungserlaubnis.  Although I've never heard that term - it could be that for freelance/Selbstständiger that it's "Dauerhaftesaufenthaltserlaubnis" and for Festangestellten(full-time employed) it's Niederlassungserlaubnis.  Acutally I just looked it up - it's either Niederlassugnserlaubnis or Unbefristete Aufenthaltstitel.


The process is still: live and work continuously in Germany for x years (I guess I needed to do more because I switched between festangestellt and freiberuflich for the first two years, but 4 years sounds about right).  There are a few other rules like paying into the Sozialkasse and Rentenversicherung for a few years (which was a new law right when I was otherwise eligible).  Although the only question I have is that after the permanent visa, I was told that I could live and work in the EU and didn't have to necessarily always be in Germany.  I think it might be a new thing as of 2013, but not sure.

@eyobhoney: the KVR (Kreisverwaltungsreferat), Ausländerbehörde (office for foreigners) is the place to be to get all your questions answered.  Just go to this link for more details:

But my personal advice is to go for the permanent visa and don't switch citizenship just yet.  There are still many positive sides to being an American (high-quality and efficient military and extradited emergency export in case of civil unrest in third-world nations, for example) and I'm sure you'd always have a hassle at the US airports when they look at you cross-eyed and ask "why did you change your citizenship?"  I guess it raises a bunch of red flags the Americans are on the lookout for.

In any case, best of luck!

Lesterhenry: Yes, things are quite complicated in certain cases (yours seems to be one of them). I only described the easiest "normal" case.
However, you mentioned that the permanent visa allows you to live and work anywhere in the EU. That is new to me! To my understanding, residence/work visa are still national and a German Aufenthaltstitel does not help anywhere else, other than the standard 90 days visit that a Schengen visa would also allow. Where did you get your information from?

Ever thought about maybe going through the German embassy of your last place of residence?  or maybe a relative's residence?  I've heard that Germany is much more efficient than Italy, but I can say now with certainty, after having lived here for two years, that it would have been hell to establish my Italian citizenship here as an American resident in Italy compared to what it was via the Italian embassy back in the US.

And just to be sure, you were born after 1975 right?  i think that's the year before which only a German father could pass down citizenship.

Just ran across this thread. It's not been active for a year but I think it touches on some important subjects, so I hope my post will reactivate it. First of all the statement by lesterhenry that America doesn’t allow dual citizenship is outright false. Decades ago this was true although dual citizenship by birth was recognized until the age of 26 and then one had to choose. Also, the government unofficially, but consistently, allowed citizens of some countries like Israel to hold dual citizenship recognizing the fact that an Israeli passport holder is not allowed into many Islamic countries. But the USA now allows multiple citizenships outright. The difficulty to hold dual American and German ones is now because Germany doesn’t allow it. The exception is if one can claim German citizenship by birth – but otherwise, an American will not be given German citizenship without giving up their American one.

Some information given by Beppi about residency is also incomplete.  An American first gets a limited “Aufenthaltserlaubnis” permit. After 3 years (for other nationalities it can be up to 5 years) they can then get an unlimited permit or “Unbefristet Aufenthaltserlaubnis”. This means they can stay as long as they want BUT if they leave for more than a year they will lose their residency and start all over again. After 15 years of continuous legal residency in Germany, and not having any serious criminal or tax violations, an American is routinely given a permanent residency called “Niederlassungserlaubnis”. The big advantage is that one can then leave for more than a year and not lose residency- this being the difference between “unlimited” and “permanent”. The time required for other nationalities or for humanitarian reasons may differ. Yet this falls short of citizenship as one cannot vote and could be revoked due to a serious criminal offence.

I know these things first hand having gotten my permanent residency and knowing a number of Americans who have, for example, dual American and Irish passports – in addition to permanent German residency. The Niederlassungserlaubnis came about some years ago as Germany reformed its system to conform to EU standards. Formerly one not only had a time requirement but a whole list of other things and passing a test to get permanent residency.

There is always the possibility (which I find unlikely) that Germany would eventually allow dual citizenship to Americans. As America did for Israelis, Germany also allows some non-EU nationalities to become German without giving up their foreign passport. This is based on the political situation in the home country. An Argentinian friend of mine also got a German passport about 10 years ago. This was based on the past military government situation although it had changed more than a decade before. Maybe if Trump gets in the White House then America will also be seen as a hardship case as well. And lesterhenry is correct that one should think twice about giving up their American passport if they ever want to visit there again. One will be met with skepticism and possibly scorn for having dared to give up citizenship in AMERICA.

Another question by lesterhenry is if an Unbefristet Aufenthaltserlaubnis or a Niederlassungserlaubnis gives one a right to work in other EU countries. The answer is no. There is another kind of permit called "Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU" that would be needed. The details of the differences and exactly what one needs to do to get it are found on this site (in German): … nthalt-EU_(Deutschland)

If Eyobhoney's mother is German then she has German citizenship by birth right. It just has to be confirmed and validated. And in this case she can be dual German and American. Not sure why this would not be possible in Stuttgart. Sounds like a bureaucratic misunderstanding of the situation.

thanks for charing those with us

TominStuttgart :

If Eyobhoney's mother is German then she has German citizenship by birth right. It just has to be confirmed and validated. And in this case she can be dual German and American. Not sure why this would not be possible in Stuttgart. Sounds like a bureaucratic misunderstanding of the situation.

Even that statement is not universally correct. Only if her mother had kept her German citizenship until after her birth would she be entitled. German lineage alone is not sufficient. There are the strangest attempts nowadays -  a few from Kazakhs in our town were to claim German citizenship because their grandfather owned a German Shepherd.

In general it seems to be true. After the wall came down there were hundreds of thousands of people from the East block that were given citizenship because their parents or grandparents had been considered German at one time. I have a friend from Canada whose father had emigrated from Germany and he got a German passport although his father had taken Canadian citizenship before he was born. He was Jewish however, so it could be claimed he might have left the country under duress.

The following German website (in English) confirms that people of German origin might not be technically automatically citizens by the rules you state BUT they routinely get what they call "German status". It’s basically a workaround because whether seen as racially motivated or not, having German ancestry IS a factor used to bestow citizenship. :

And from the Wiki post below: “Article 116(1) of the German Basic Law (constitution) confers, subject to laws regulating the details, a right to citizenship upon any person admitted to Germany (in its 1937 borders) as "refugee or expellee of German ethnic origin or as the spouse or descendant of such a person." Until 1990 ethnic Germans living abroad in a country in the former Eastern Bloc (Aussiedler) could obtain citizenship through a virtually automatic procedure. From 1990 the law was steadily tightened each year to limit the number of immigrants, requiring immigrants to prove language skills and cultural affiliation”.

So technically, a parent would’ve had to have been a natural citizen at the time of a person’s birth. Yet even a grandparent having been German is enough if there is reason to believe they left as refugees or were expelled. In light of the 2 world wars, it’s easy to say “oh, the war” and usually that is enough. Only they have tightened this up for people coming now if they don’t know any German.  So the concept of “German blood” is still strong even if coded in legalese in the laws. If someone now has a parent who's left Germany well after W.W.II, they might not get automatic citizenship but as long  as they get along in the language, officials seem to practically accept most any excuse. Economic hardship, better education opportunities elsewhere, yeah, they can all be seen as a form of duress or hardship worthy of an exception.

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