••• The Big Brother's, oops, i mean Apple's Gazette ••• A Sophisticated Periodical with Panache and a Sense of Humor
Pass the Port
It’s happening more often and has almost become routine that the citizenship of German nationals is being revoked due to…… a misunderstanding, forgetfulness, or inefficiency. The latter, “inefficiency”, in regard to Germans and German Bureaucracy sounds like an oxymoron – ” Germans inefficient ?” They invented it, for goodness sake; in fact, the word “German” stands for efficiency. Non-efficiency in Germans is like an egg without a yoke. Thus what could the problem possibly be ?
Germans have been able to become dual citizens of the U.S. and Germany since the year 2000 – as opposed to nationals of other countries like Iran, Israel, South Africa, Portugal, etc. who at times have citizenships of several countries – thus many German Green-card holders having had to renew their Green cards, were told they could become U.S. Citizens and keep their German Citizenship, as well, becoming dual citizens.
What neither an Immigration Lawyer, nor an Immigration official will tell a German applicant, however, is that Germans need to apply for a “Certificate” from the German Government, prior to applying for U.S. Citizenship. But since Germans are known to be über-efficient, many, as in the following case, consult with their Consulate/Embassy, as well, to verify it is indeed so that Germans can now become dual citizen.
Thus two years ago Miss X, a Green card holder having to renew her Green card, sees her Immigration lawyer and is told she can apply for U.S. citizenship and keep her German citizenship, too, instead of having to renew her green card every few years.
To make sure that’s indeed the case she goes to the German Consulate and speaks to an official employee Lady of the Consulate, asking if it’s true one can now become a dual citizen. Miss X is told, ” Yes, it is true.” For further verification Miss X asked the Consulate employee:” Thus i can pursue my application for American Citizenship and don’t have to give up my German citizenship, correct ?”
“Yes” she is told, ” you can pursue the seeking of American citizenship and become a dual citizen.”
“Great”, thinks Miss X”, because she could have become an American Citizen years ago, but would have had to give up her German Citizenship, thus preferred being a green card holder, i.e., Legal Resident, instead and keep her German/European citizenship.
Fast forward; Miss X applies for U.S. citizenship – passes all the tests and after several months is granted U.S. Citizenship and sworn in. She now has a German and an American Passport.
A year later Miss X has to renew her German passport, thus goes to the Consulate, fills out the form, etc. and giving the Consulate employee the documents, passports and photos, she is asked if she has another passport of another country, as well, to which Miss X tells her, yes, an American passport, her being a dual citizen since last year.
Miss X is then asked for her Certificate, but Miss X has no such thing, explaining she doesn’t know of any certificate, to which Miss X is told that she would have to have one in order to continue being a German citizen, and since she does not have a certificate is told her German Citizenship is as of that moment revoked and the Passport kept by the Consulate.
Understandably so, Miss X is shocked – from one moment to the next her birth nationality is taken from her. Now Miss X explains to the Official that she came for verification to the Consulate prior to applying for U.S. citizenship, describing the person she spoke to in detail = a Persian Armenian lady, who verified that it was now legal to become a dual citizen, assuring her she could pursue the nationalization process, but….. did not tell her anything about a Certificate.
The official then tells her that it does state that on the Embassy/Consulate website, and that many Germans have had this problem, not knowing about it, and losing their citizenship. Miss X tells her that she never checked nor checks the website, instead went “personally” to the Consulate to get a “personal” verification from an official.
The Consulate employee steps aside for a moment and Miss X sees the lady she’d spoken to two years prior, thus when the employee returns shares that the lady she had spoken to, giving her the information but apparently forgot to mention a certificate, just walked passed the desk.
The employee shares with Miss X that nobody in the Consulate would forget to mention the certificate, when Miss X asked if the official inquiries are recorded, seeing the dividing glass window and microphone/headset employees are wearing to talk to the visitors, assuming all is surveilled/recorded – thus asked the employee if they have surveillance/audio recordings, which could prove that she was given inaccurate information.
Miss X is told, no there is no surveillance nor recordings.
However Miss X is told she can re-apply for her German citizenship, but it’s not sure if she gets it back. Miss X is given the chance to speak to the Persian Armenian lady she’d spoken to two years prior, but the lady does not remember her and insists she surely makes everyone aware of the certificate.
Assuming Miss X will not be granted her birth Citizenship back, which seems unlikely but hypothetically speaking, then who is at fault and due to what ?
Will it ultimately be Miss X’s fault because she did not read the Website of the German Consulate on which the subject of the Certificate is said to be posted ? How would she have known to visit the website and for what purpose, unless she knew there may be a bulletin there of sort ?
Why would Miss X go out of her way to personally visit the Consulate to receive a verification as to the dual citizen question, and not fill out an application for a Certificate ? If indeed the consulate official advised her, as she insisted, that one first needs to apply for this certificate, surely she would have given Miss X a form/application to fill out ?
One possible argument against Miss X could be that the application for the Certificate costs $288.00, thus may not wanted to spend the $288.00. What speaks against the argument, however, is that Miss X consulted an Immigration Lawyer, which cost her approx. $1500.00 to apply for U.S. citizenship, instead of doing it through the Immigration department herself, which would have only cost her approx. $600.00 – thus it’s doubtful she tried avoiding paying an extra $288.00 for a needed certificate had she known about it.
The immigration lawyer could have advised Miss X about the different laws according to the different countries, and though Naturalization laws and rules change constantly and it’s difficult to keep up with them, how much extra time, really, would it take for him, or Immigration lawyers in General, to ask his assistant to provide an up-to-date print out, as to terms and conditions of the different countries ? Tops ten minutes and lots of possible future troubles avoided for his clients.
whoever’s fault it was, the Consulate showed good faith, providing Miss X with the application forms to be filled out, acting in a professional manner, while also assuring her assistance in the matter of trying to get her birth citizenship back, which does prove once again, Germans continue to be exemplary on efficiency.
In the end, i’m sure all will be fine – i’ll keep you posted; but for those of you out there, applying for dual-citizenship, make sure to triple check as to what’s needed for dual citizenships, and get what you’re told to do in writing, so you won’t lose your citizenships, as apparently many Germans currently do.
The good news for Germany on the matter of revoking German citizenships of their nationals = they’ll be saving a bundle not having to pay them their social security. 😉