Descendants of German Jews are eligible for German citizenship by descent. Many our office’s clients, who wish to acquire German citizenship by descent, want to know whether their spouses are eligible to request German citizenship as well. Unfortunately, those who are not descendants of German Jews cannot acquire citizenship by being married to a descendant. However, there are ways to acquire German citizenship by marriage, through a process called naturalization.
In this article, we will explore the process of getting German citizenship by marriage and all that it entails.
Our law office specializes in obtaining German citizenship and a German passport for the descendants of German Jews who were citizens or residents of Germany before the second world war began. If you are eligible for German citizenship or if you wish to fin out whether you are eligible, you are welcome to contact us and we will gladly assist you with your endeavors.
German citizenship by marriage – The German law
In the past, foreign spouses who married a German citizen between April 1st,1914, and March 31st, 1953, were eligible to acquire citizenship automatically. After that the law changed, and those who married a German citizen between April 1st, 1953 and December 31st, 1969, were able to obtain German citizenship only under specific conditions.
On January 1st, 1970, the law changed again, and ever since, getting German citizenship through marriage is no longer automatic. Therefore, the only path for spouses of German citizens to obtain German citizenship is through the process of naturalization.
The naturalization process for spouses of German citizens
The naturalization process allows non-German citizens to obtain German citizenship by residing in Germany for a specific amount of time, and under certain conditions.
For spouses of German citizens, the process of naturalization is much shorter compared to other processes, but it too has its requirements and conditions.
For a spouse of a German citizen to obtain German citizenship, they must reside in Germany for at least 3 years. Furthermore, the couple should be married for at least 2 years before the naturalization. It is important to know that these requirements apply to same-sex couples as well.
While residing in Germany before the naturalization, the spouse must hold a legal residence permit. Another condition for spouses who wish to get naturalized is to declare their allegiance to the German constitution and have a basic knowledge of the German language as required by the German authorities.
When obtaining German citizenship through naturalization, the spouse of the German citizen we are required to give up their former citizenship. However, in some unique cases, a special authorization to hold multiple citizenships may be granted.
My spouse is eligible for German citizenship – when can I begin the naturalization process?
If your spouse is a descendant of a German Jew or a Jew who resided in Germany before the second world war, and had fled Germany after January 30th, 1933, they may be eligible for German citizenship. Before you can commence the naturalization process, your spouse must first obtain their citizenship, and you must reside in Germany for the required amount of years.
It is important to note that the process of obtaining German citizenship for descendants of Jews persecuted by the Nazi regime takes between 2-3 years. This process requires gathering the required documents proving the eligibility of the applicant, collecting official documentation from their origin country, translating foreign documents to German and stamping them with an apostille, and submitting requests in German to the German Citizenship Department in Cologne. After the submission, the applicant will have to wait for 2-3 years to get their citizenship, and only after getting it, their spouse will be able to reside in Germany.
Other naturalization processes
For people who are not the spouses of German citizens, who wish to get naturalized in Germany and become citizens, there are other options available. However, in most cases, these processes of naturalization take longer than getting naturalized as a German citizen’s spouse.
The first requirement for becoming naturalized in Germany is for the applicant to legally reside in Germany for at least 8 years. However, there is an option to take part in an integration course, which allows those who complete it successfully to complete the naturalization process in 7 years. The integration course is essentially a German language course which will, in turn, can help students to work and integrate into German society.
Individuals who wish to get naturalized must have a clean criminal record, and have to be able to support themselves financially. Furthermore, they must declare their allegiance to the German constitution and give up on their former citizenship.
What are the benefits of German citizenship?
If you are considering obtaining German citizenship by marriage through naturalization, it is important to know the various benefits the German citizenship grants.
First, the German passport is one of the most powerful passports in the world. This passport allows German citizens to travel to 177 countries without a visa.
Second, since Germany is part of the European Union, those who hold German citizenship can live, study and work in any of the 27 countries that are members of the union.
Another benefit for German citizens is the option to get a degree in Germany for free or at substantially discounted prices.
Of course, German citizens are allowed to vote and become part of German politics. Also, Germany provides its citizens with many social benefits and assistance.
German citizenship by marriage – Consult a lawyer
As you can see from this article, obtaining German citizenship by marriage can be a lengthy process that involves many requirements. However, those who choose to get naturalized in Germany by thorough marriage can bring many benefits to those who choose to go through the process. These benefits can secure a bright future for you and your family.
If your spouse is eligible for German citizenship, you will be able in time to get naturalized in Germany. However, your spouse will have to get their German citizenship first.
Our law offices, located in Jerusalem and in Tel Aviv, specialize in the different processes of acquiring German citizenship through descent. We can help your spouse to establish their eligibility and submit an official request to get their German citizenship. Feel free to contact us and we will be delighted to help your spouse with their request process so that you will be able in due time to become a German citizen by marriage.