Naturalization in the U.S. by a German national may result in the loss of the applicant’s German citizenship unless a Retention Certificate (“Beibehaltungsgenehmigung”) is obtained prior to naturalizing.
Requirements for the applicantion of a Beibehaltungsgenehmigung
When applying for a Beibehaltungsgenehmigung, the German national needs to show that he or she has close ties to Germany. Furthermore, the applicant has to demonstrate that obtaining U.S. citizenship is advantageous or will eliminate significant disadvantages. Examples of close ties to Germany are regular visits to Germany; relatives in Germany; real estate in Germany, a German life insurance etc. Advantages of the acquisition of U.S. citizenship include business or family reasons. Inheritance tax law issues are an example for significant disadvantages. General restrictions, like the lack of the right to vote are general factors which affect all foreigners and are not viewed as sufficient reasons for the issuance of a Retention Certificate.
Validity of the Retention Certificate and Naturalization in the U.S.
The Retention Certificate becomes valid when it is in the possession of the applicant and remains valid for a period of 2 years within which one must naturalize or obtain an extention. It is important to note that the applicant needs to wait until the Beibehaltungsgenehmigung is handed to the applicant before naturalizing in the U.S. The approval of the application not sufficient. Pursuant to German law, if a German national fails to have a Beibehaltungsgenehmigung in his or her possession before taking on U.S. citizenship, he or she will automatically lose German citizenship.
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