The idea is to retain rights to live and work within the countries of the EU area.
Obtaining a German Passport After Brexit
There’s been a large increase in interest in German citizenship from UK expats since the UK EU referendum.
But there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the issues of passports in the EU – and anywhere else for that matter. A lot of myths and half-truths are circulating.
Some of these half-truths can even be seen in the media, written by journalists who don’t research properly and who should know better.
Misunderstandings About German Passports
First of all let’s dispel some of the most common misunderstandings in circulation about German passports.
1. There is no “EU passport”
No I’m not being pedantic. No one gives out any “EU passports” because they don’t even exist.
The only passports available are for nationals of EU member states, not for the EU as a whole.
2. There is no “EU citizenship”
The EU is an economic and political union of member states in Europe. These member states provide citizenship – selectively – for people residing within or with links to their own states. The EU does not confer any “EU citizenship” to anyone because no such thing exists.
The term “EU citizenship” is simply used by some people such as by the media as a form of shorthand to refer to nationals of EU member states.
But the only citizenship available in the EU is that of member EU states – France, Germany, Italy etc, not the EU itself.
3. You cannot just “apply for a German passport”
Getting a passport as a non-citizen is not like simply applying for a credit card.
You have no right to a passport unless you are a citizen of that country.
If you are a citizen, then you can apply for a passport – and you might not necessarily be given one – though in most cases you probably will.
Want A German Passport? First You Must Apply For Citizenship
So first of all, before you can even apply for a passport, you have to apply for citizenship. Two different things.
And that’s assuming citizenship is what you actually want. It might not necessarily be what you want.
Applying for citizenship and having citizenship has consequences in terms of rights and responsibilities. I’m not going to go into all that now, that in itself would make a subject for another post.
I’m going to talk here about Germany because that is where I live and that’s what I know about. So what I say here only applies specifically to Germany.
There are 28 countries in the EU at present, and each one varies in the conditions and requirements, as well as the consequences in terms of rights and responsibilities for citizenship.
One way to be sure to retain your right to live and work in the EU – and not just in Germany, if the UK were to leave the EU and the EEA/EFTA area with its freedom of movement stipulations for EU/EEA area member state citizens, would be to obtain Germany nationality and with that then apply for a German passport.
So first of all this would require you to apply for German citizenship.
Do You Qualify For German Citizenship?
According to German law on citizenship, in order to be eligible to apply for German citizenship (known as Einbürgerung) you must:
- have lived in Germany for at least 6 and in some cases 8 years minimum without interruption
- be able to support yourself financially
- be able to speak and understand German fluently – which in practice means at least at language level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
- pass the German citizenship test
- have no criminal record
You also have to pay a fee.
Processing can take several months depending partly on where in the country you live.
Then – provided you are granted German citizenship, you can apply for a German passport.
Usually, non-EU citizens are required to renounce their previous existing citizenship before being granted German citizenship.
However, the EU stipulates that this is not required for citizens of EU/EEA member states. Whether this stipulation will apply after the UK leaves the EU is uncertain.
You can download the citizenship forms from the webserver of the German Land or federal state in which you live or are interested in. You have to apply to the Land in which you reside.
The fact is though, we don’t know how things will develop in the future. So do you need to put yourself through all this citizenship rigmarole?
If the UK opts for membership of either EEA or EFTA in place of the present EU membership then current freedom of movement stipulations will still apply at least at the basic level, though some additional restrictions could also be negotiated in addition to this.
I would much prefer an “EU citizenship” to a German or any other European nationality, but there isn’t any such thing on offer. Things are still organized on the old nation state lines and they look likely to remain so in the foreseeable future.
And the UK is in effect going back into its shell with this “Brexit” withdrawal from Europe issue. So the outlook for a future without nation states, borders or nationalities looks bleak at the present.
Ironic considering that we are now in a world of globalization, Internet, digital ecommerce, and location independence.
Mind you, sometimes the darkest hour is just before dawn. So who knows how things will develop in the future.
But for the time being, everything is still organized on the basis of 28 and more different separate national plots of land. You have no alternative but to work within that system.
You can find out more about the naturalization process for German citizenship here (in English): http://www.bamf.de/EN/Willkommen/Einbuergerung/InDeutschland/indeutschland-node.html
One other thing. If you want to acquire German citizenship then you’re going to have to learn German.
And there’s one German course in particular that stands out way above the rest. It’s called GermanPod.
GermanPod is now one of the world’s most successful digitally based online language courses. It’s not hard to see why.
You can give yourself a head start in learning German by signing up for the self-study MP3 based course offered by GermanPod.
GermanPod – The Best Language Course For Expats in Berlin
GermanPod is THE ideal audio MP3-based German language course for expats in Berlin.
This is because with GermanPod you learn German quickly in your own time, as and when you want – and at your own pace.
What’s more, GermanPod is VERY low cost.
You can use GermanPod on your smartphone and tablet, as well on as your laptop or PC.
So you can be learning German wherever you are – and whenever you’re on the move.
With GermanPod you can make the most of those spare moments of time that you have which otherwise just get wasted. When you’re commuting on the S-Bahn or U-Bahn. When waiting in line, or sitting in a waiting room.
Learning German With GermanPod is Easy, Fast – And Fun
GermanPod teaches you modern, up-to-date German. The kind of German that people speak in everyday life in Berlin.
GermanPod comes with four different learning levels -Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. So you can choose the level which suits you best.
That makes learning German with GermanPod very easy, fast and fun.
I myself learned German using the self-study audio method before I came to Berlin and I found it the fastest and easiest way of learning to speak and understand German.
GermanPod is Affordable
GermanPod is available on a monthly subscription basis. It’s “pay as you go”. Unlike some German courses, you don’t have to part with a large sum of money.
For just $8 a month you can get started with GermanPod.
For longer term advance subscriptions there are discounts of between 11% and up to 60%.
And if you’re a student then you can benefit from an EXTRA 20% DISCOUNT on a 12-month subscription.
This makes it very inexpensive to get started learning German with GermanPod.
And it gives you the flexibility to use as little or as much of GermanPod as you wish, when you wish – and according to your own budget.
In short, GermanPod is probably the best investment you can make to ensure the success of your move to Berlin.
My advice: check out www.germanpod101.com and get a head start right now with learning German
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