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German Citizens Will No Longer Need a Retention Permit Before Applying for U.S. Citizenship

US citizenship for Germans just got easier

German nationals who wish to obtain dual citizenship will now have one fewer step required in obtaining U.S. citizenship–they will no longer have to file a German citizenship retention permit petition with the German government ("Beibehaltungsgenehmigung").

Until recently, under the German Nationality Act “Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz”, the moment a German citizen acquires citizenship of another country, he or she loses German citizenship automatically because German law does not allow dual citizenship in this context. This means that if a US resident wishes to obtain US citizenship while retaining his or her German citizenship, the applicant must first petition the German government to allow the applicant to maintain his or her German citizenship.  This requirement is unique to German citizens, and provides an additional, preliminary step before the applicant may apply for US citizenship.

However, recent changes to the law will eliminate this requirement.  The law to modernize nationality law (StARModG) was announced in the Federal Law Gazette, and will come into effect on June 26, 2024. The new law is intended to generally accept multi-nationality in the future, so that the requirement for a retention permit when acquiring foreign citizenship (in accordance with Section 25 StAG), will no longer apply after June 26, 2024.  Most importantly, anyone who obtains U.S. Citizenship after this date will not lose their German citizenship.

In order to bypass this requirement, applicants for U.S. citizenship should wait until June 27, 2024 or later to apply for citizenship with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

If you are a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident who is interested in naturalizing/obtaining U.S. citizenship, we can begin working on your application now.

To get the process started, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys; call +1 (949) 798-6298; or fill out a Contact Request Form.

*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.


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