At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our lawyers regularly handle cases concerning German citizenship applications – whether they arise through cases of Naturalization or German Citizenship by Descent. Additionally, we often contend with challenging cases concerning dual citizenship and when it is allowed for under German law. Due to its economy’s strength, its location at the heart of the European Union and its provision for visa-free access to over 180 countries, German citizenship is much sought-after. There are many benefits of German citizenship and it is not surprising that it is seen as one of the most powerful passports in the world.

In this article, we will outline the benefits of German citizenship and argue why it should be strongly considered by those who have the opportunity to access it. Our lawyers are experts in German immigration law and will oversee your German citizenship application. Visit our immigration homepage to find out more about the services we offer. Contact us directly if you require specialised counsel.

If you have a particular issue or legal question concerning German Immigration Law, you can contact our law office anytime. Our lawyers for German Immigration Law can be reached by phone, email and also provide video conferencing options. For more legal information, please visit our Immigration Information Germany Center.

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Live, Work and Open a Business in Germany: Benefits of German Citizenship

The first benefit of German citizenship is that you have the right to live, work, study and open businesses in Germany without needing to deal with German bureaucracy. Having unrestricted access to Germany through citizenship means that visas or residence permits’ requirements do not limit you. This will save you time and money in your plans concerning Germany.

Germany is a global leader in manufacturing, engineering and the chemical industry and an increased focus on renewable energy sources. The benefit of German citizenship is that the holder has unrestricted access to this market and can find the right opportunity to suit them. As German companies seek to remain amongst the best in the world, they look for the best in global talent. However, the advantage of not requiring the paperwork normally required of a third-country citizen cannot be underestimated.

When opening a business, it is important to remember that Germany is one of the world’s strongest economies and a very attractive place for business opportunities. As Europe’s strongest economy, the potential is limitless for the right business idea. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte our business immigration and corporate legal teams advise all aspects of German corporate law. When coming from a third country, it is possible to get a visa for self-employment under § 21 German Residence Act, however as business plans need to be presented and other factors such whether your business plan meets an economic interest needs to be assessed, it is easier to open a business as a German citizen.

If you are interested in opening a business or a business branch in Germany, our corporate lawyers advise on all of the options available to you. Please visit our pages on “Start-Up Company Lawyer in Germany” and “Company Expansion to Germany” for more information on either of these topics.


Live, Work, Open Businesses and Travel Across Europe

European Union citizenship is one of the obvious benefits of German citizenship. As a European Union citizen, the above-listed benefits of living, working and opening businesses in Germany, also apply to the other 26 European Union members. If you are in a professional position where you work across borders and are often in Europe, holding German citizenship means that your access to these other EU jurisdictions is much easier. Visas and residence permits are not required to work in Spain, France, Ireland etc.

However, the benefit of holding German citizenship (EU citizenship) extends to those who do not live within the European Union. There is an advantage of being an EU citizen even for travelling for holiday purposes as you are fast-tracked through European airports. If you become ill on holiday in an EU country, you have easier access to healthcare in that country.


Studying in Germany and Europe

One of the many benefits of German citizenship is that you or your children can study across Europe. German universities provide study programmes that are relatively inexpensive and at a very high standard. Many of the programmes provided are in English. However, if Germany is not to your liking for study purposes, there is also the option of studying in other EU countries such as Ireland (an English-speaking EU member state), in Scandinavia or the Low Countries. Just as in Germany, there are many English-speaking programmes available across Europe. As an EU citizen, the application process for universities in other EU countries is more straightforward than for those for students from third countries. Studying at a European university means that you can access the Erasmus+ Programme should you wish to use it during your studies.

In Germany, public universities do not have tuition fees. This, of course, means that the top education available in Germany is more affordable than in other parts of the world. Once the student has graduated, they will be able to apply for work in the German job market. As home to some of the biggest companies in the world, and a strong economy that provides for all areas of interest, the German job market is strong for recent graduates. This is one of the biggest benefits of German citizenship.

However, German graduates are not limited to the German market. German degrees are recognised as an excellent basis worldwide, and the advantages of having studied in Germany will hold for the graduate. If the graduate has acquired a high German level while studying, this will also benefit them. As German citizenship allows its holder easier access to other universities in other EU countries, they may have learned other European languages, but whichever language they learn will benefit them in their professional career. It has been shown that students who study abroad and those who have foreign languages have access to more opportunities in the jobs market.


Retiring to Germany or Other European Countries

Retiring to Germany has many advantages and has a lot to offer retirees. Our page on “Retiring to Germany: German Retiree Residence Permit” provides more insight into the process of retiring to Germany. The ease of retiring to Germany or other European countries is one of the benefits of German citizenship. European Union Freedom of Movement extends to those in their golden years, as much as it does to those in the workforce. As a retire, Germany is a very safe country with low crime rates and overall political stability. In comparison to other parts of the world, retirees can expect high-quality health care in Germany. With this in mind, retirees in Germany can safely plan for the future in a secure environment.

Located at the heart of Europe, retiring to Germany means that the whole continent is in front of you. Depending on where you base yourself, many countries are easily opened up to you. From the Swiss Alps, the cities of the low countries and French culture and cuisine to Scandinavia and eastern Europe, retiring to Germany makes all of these destinations easily accessible to you. Our lawyers can advise you on the best locations to settle down in as a retiree.

However, you are not limited to retiring to Germany with German citizenship. As stated earlier, the main benefit of German citizenship is that you have access to the European Union Freedom of Movement. With Freedom of Movement, you can also retire to kinder climates such as Spain, Portugal and other European countries.


Visa-Free Access to Over 180 Countries Around the World: Benefit of German Citizenship

According to the Henley Passport Index, Germany ranks as the third most powerful passport globally, just behind Japan and Singapore. With the German passport, you can access approximately 190 countries visa-free (or with visa upon arrival) worldwide. The countries where a visa in advance is required include China, Iraq and several African countries. Visa-free access ensures greater ease for those who conduct business across borders. A benefit of a German passport is that your business can continue, largely unhindered by borders.


How to Get German Citizenship

There are two main methods of gaining German citizenship for those who have not been born in Germany. One means through naturalization, under § 10 STAG (the German Citizenship Act), whereby the applicant has lived in Germany for a period of eight years, holds a permanent residence permit and fulfils other requirements such as a clean criminal record and the required German ability. Often there is the requirement to lose your previous citizenship because Germany only allows for dual citizenship in certain conditions. Our immigration law experts advise on all matters relating to naturalization and provide full support with your application.

The other means of acquiring German citizenship is through German citizenship by descent or ancestry. Citizenship by descent means that you can acquire German citizenship through your direct family line, i.e., your parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents. Our page on the issue of citizenship by descent outlines the requirements in greater detail. These requirements are quite specific, and there can also be great difficulties when sourcing the appropriate paperwork; therefore, having expert assistance increases your likelihood of success. Our immigration experts can oversee your application, ensure that it fulfils all requirements and then allow you to experience the benefits of German citizenship.


What are the Benefits of German Citizenship when I have a Permanent Residence Permit?

With a permanent residence permit, you have the right to live and work in Germany, but German citizenship has many advantages. From gaining the rights of an EU citizen and access to German consular support worldwide to more voting rights in Germany. As a German citizen, you can enter politics if that interests you. Moreover, the main benefit of German citizenship over permanent residency is that you no longer need to fulfil any residence permit requirements upon gaining citizenship. This means that you have greater freedom in your life and choices in Germany. German citizenship is worth considering if you are eligible for it.


Is Dual Citizenship Possible with German Citizenship?

Dual citizenship involving German citizenship is possible for EU citizens and certain cases where the applicant has a German parent. However, the law on dual citizenship is complex. In many countries, dual citizenship is not permitted, whereas in other jurisdictions giving up your previous citizenship is not allowed. For Germans abroad looking to gain dual citizenship, there is the possibility that they can keep their German citizenship when applying for the other citizenship. This can be achieved through a successful application for a Retention Permit.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, we advise on all matters relating to dual citizenship. We have specialised pages for those looking for dual German-US citizenship and for Dual German-UK Citizenship Post-Brexit. Dual citizenship is complex and successful applications depend on many factors. Visit our pages on the issue of dual citizenship to find out more. Contact our legal team for specialised assessment and advice.


Representation in Immigration and Residence Law

The benefits of German citizenship are many, and therefore, German citizenship should be considered by those who can gain it. Our law firm, Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte with offices in Cologne, Aachen and Düsseldorf, and conference rooms in Hamburg, Berlin, Stuttgart and Munich, is at your disposal and serves you as a reliable and expert partner in all questions of immigration law. Advice on German citizenship applications, and the benefits of German citizenship, are areas we specialise in. We have worked with clients from around the world and will be by your side throughout the application process and any legal disputes that may arise.

Our team of experienced lawyers will be happy to answer any questions you may have about citizenship law, applying for a German passport and general German legal issues. Feel free to contact us by phone at +49 221 93295960, send us a message by e-mail at info@se-legal.de or use our online form. The international team of lawyers at Schlun & Elseven expertly advise and represent individuals and companies in English and German.

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