Can German citizens apply for United States citizenship?

Being a dual citizen of both the United States and Germany is possible. Both countries permit this, even though the German law recognizes dual nationality only when the person was born with both, for example a child born to an American mother and a German father or viceversa.

So how can a German citizen who has been living in the United States become a U.S. citizen through naturalization and maintain their German nationality? Many German citizens can become US citizens and retain their original citizenship thanks to Germany’s retention permit.

The retention permit allows Germans living in the US to become Americans and still remain German citizens. This makes it possible for many Germans in the United States to have dual nationality.

Germany does not always grant this permit, and German citizens are not automatically entitled to receiving it. Germany’s Federal Office of Administration evaluates each application and decides whether or not to grant the permit on a case-by-case basis. To grant the permit, the Office of Administration considers the following criteria:

  • If the applicant shows sufficient ties to and contact with Germany.
  • If the applicant speaks German

Are you interested in pursuing American citizenship? We can help.