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German Citizenship

Help others to understand the Citizens application process by sharing your experiences.
This form deals only with the process of obtaining your documents from South Africa.
We will add the submissions to our website on this page 

Help others to understand the Citizens application process by sharing your experiences. This form deals only with the application process in Germany.
We will add the submissions to our website on this page 

Please note: Although the information on this website has been prepared with the utmost care, we cannot accept any responsibility for inaccuracies contained herein. Always refer to the official websites for up-to-date information. 
The German Cabinet approved the new legislation to allow Dual Citizenship.  The new law came into effect on  26 June 2024.   

General Information about German Citizenship

Ways of obtaining German citizenship

Please note: Although the information on this website has been prepared with the utmost care, we cannot accept any responsibility for inaccuracies contained herein. Always refer to the official websites for up-to-date information.  The German Cabinet approved the new legislation to allow Dual Citizenship.  The new law comes into effect

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Process of applying

To acquire German citizenship through naturalisation, one must successfully pass the Einbürgerungstest.
We invite you to explore the detailed information on the two pages below for further insights. 

Einbürgerungstest and Leben in Deutschland

Leben in Deutschland The Leben in Deutschland tests your knowledge of the legal and social order and the living conditions in Germany. If you apply for Permanent residence, you must use the test to demonstrate knowledge of the legal and social system and living conditions in Germany. You need a minimum of Level A2

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German Citizenship through naturalisation

Naturalisation refers to the legal process of attaining citizenship of a foreign country. The requirements for becoming a naturalised German citizen are governed by Section 10, para. 1 of the Nationality Act. On January 19, 2024, the German Bundestag passed the law to modernize nationality law – this came into force from

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Shared experiences - Naturalisation

To help others understand the process and requirements more clearly, we have created a 3 pages that allows you to effortlessly share your experiences with us.  All these will be shared on the “German Citizenship – Your Stories” page.

All the submissions from the above pages will be shared on the “Shared Stories” page. 
Our admin team is also in the process of applying for German citizenship and will share a detailed experience. 

Applying for German Citizenship – Personal experience

I am currently in the process of preparing my application for German Citizenship, and will share my progress to this page. I am applying at my local Bürgeramt, who will send it to the Landkreis Esslingen for further processing. Search online for Einbürgerung + your town or Landkreis Step Action Details

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German Citizenship – Your stories

These are shared experiences by people who recently went through a German Citizenship application process. You can share yours with us via an easy-to-fill-in form on this page Application for Retention of SA Citizenship Marc shared his application for Retention experience with us on  30.06.2024 Please indicate how you applied

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Infromation on the web

Please refer to the following websites for relevant information

Related Content

Pension

Homepage of the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Information about the German state pension scheme can be found on their homepage for foreign languages. The German site has a lot more information.

Wills and Testaments

The intention of this page is to serve as a reminder to make sure your paperwork is in order. It is important to know what laws

Legalising Documents

Depending on the situation, you might need to have documentation authenticated, certified, or make certified copies thereof. Document authentication South Africa and Germany are both

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Help others to understand the Citizens application process by sharing your experiences. This form deals only with the retention of your South African citizenship process.
We will add the submissions to our website on this page 

I am currently in the process of preparing my application for German Citizenship, and will share my progress to this page. I am applying at my local Bürgeramt, who will send it to the Landkreis Esslingen for further processing. Search online for Einbürgerung + your town or Landkreis

StepActionDetailsTime Frame
1Einbürgerungstest

I made an appointment at the VHS Stuttgart. This was in July 2023. I had to enrol for the test in person and got a date for the test in September 2023.

I used the apps listed on the website to prepare and I found they prepared you very well for the test.

The result was sent to me via post within 3 weeks
2Beratungsgesrpäch at the BügeramtI contacted the Bürgeramt on 19 January 2024 via E-Mail to arrange an appointment, and they made one for me on 24 January 2024. During this consultation session, the official (Beamtin) went through the list of required documents with me and explained the application process.
I received an application form as a hard copy. It was made very clear that if I apply before the new law is implemented, I still have to renounce my South African citizenship. Note: Many Bürgerämter now ask people not to come for a Beratungsgespräch, as they are a bit overwhelmed with requests.
 
 3Gather the needed documentsThis is still in progress. The biggest challenge for me is that I have to apply for an unabridged Birth certificate as well as an unabridged Marriage certificate. Both have to be apostilled. It must then be translated by a recognised Dolmetscher  
 4Apply for Retention of my South African citizenshipEven though this might or might not be needed, I decided to do it anyway to cover all my bases. See info on the different options below. 

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Apply for documentation from South Africa

There are 4 ways to obtain documentation from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) in South Africa

  1. Apply in person in South Africa. There is always a wait period for the documents, sometimes months. You can collect it in person or give someone authorisation to collect on your behalf
  2. Give authorisation to another person to apply and collect on your behalf. Currently, you can only make appointments to apply for and collect IDs and passports, for the rest you must queue at the Home Affairs offices.
  3. Apply for your documentation in Germany at the South African Embassy in Berlin or the Consulate in Munich. In many cases, you can either apply in person or send it via post. This will then be sent to South Africa via the diplomatic bag. Depending on the documents being sent, you can pay extra to have them courier them for you. Applying via the consular services takes much longer and you will have to supply additional documentation
  4. Apply using a Company. This is the easiest way, but there are more costs involved. Shop around for the best prices, but be careful and only use trusted companies. You are giving very personal information to these companies and it can be abused.

To my knowledge, and also required by our Bürgeramt, all documents from the DHA must be apostilled and translated to German. Translations should be done by a sworn or certified translator in Germany. As per the list of documents needed  – “Please note the following for foreign birth certificates: National birth certificates must have an apostille or legalisation mark and be translated by a publicly appointed and sworn translator. ”  I am assuming that the Marriage certificate must also be apostilled, although they do not specifically ask for it “Current marriage certificate or current certified copy of the marriage register “
Feedback from people who are currently applying for German citizenship is that each office has its own requirements in terms of apostil and translation of documents. So we advise you to make sure before paying for something they do not need. The risk is always that they might need it apostilled and translated further down the process.   

Companies that can assist with documentation

Apostil

Get South African apostilles, police clearances, birth/marriage certificates, legalisations and much more quickly and efficiently through our legal service. We have helped thousands of people

Doc Assist

Embark on a hassle-free journey with our comprehensive document services. Whether you’re planning to travel, work abroad, or need vital documents, Doc Assist is here

Apply for retention of South African citizenship

As mentioned there are 4 ways to apply for documentation from South Africa. If you apply via the consular services in Germany, you need to do it in person (appointment needed) and submit the following documents:

  1. Form BI-1664
  2. Form BI-529 / DHA-529
  3. The applicant’s original South African unabridged birth certificate.  A photocopy of the document must also be submitted. The original document will be given back to the applicant
  4. Written confirmation from the relevant authorities of the country, whose citizenship the applicant intends to acquire, that the applicant has not yet acquired the citizenship of that country. If not in English, such document must be translated into English and certified as a correct translation by a sworn translator (vereidigter Übersetzer/Dolmetscher) at the expense of the applicant.
  5. The applicant’s original South African passport.  A photocopy of the passport page with the applicant’s biometric data/photograph and residence permit / Chipkarte for Germany, as applicable, must also be submitted. The applicant’s original passport must be submitted regardless of whether it is still valid or expired. The original document will be given back to the applicant.
  6. The applicant’s original South African unabridged birth certificate. A photocopy of the document must also be submitted. The original document will be given back to the applicant
If you apply through a company, you need to submit a BI-1664 form, a BI-529 form, a letter stating why you want to keep your SA citizenship and a copy of your South African ID.
 Applying in South Africa – I assume you need to submit the same when doing it in person. If a family member/friend applies on your behalf you must also submit an authorisation letter. Depending on where in SA you apply, and you are prepared to wait a bit, it is possible to get the document on the same day.

Unabridged Birth certificate

As mentioned there are 4 ways to apply for documentation from South Africa. If you apply via the consular services in Germany, you need to  submit the following documents:

  1. Form BI-154
  2. Form BI-529 / DHA-529 (Determination of Citizenship)
  3. The applicant’s South African birth certificate or birth record, if available. A photocopy of the document must also be submitted. The original document will be given back to the applicant.
  4. in respect of applicants who do not have a South African birth certificate or birth record, form DHA-24. • This form may not be downloaded i.e. is available to the applicant to complete when he or she applies to person. 
  5. The applicant’s original South African passport.  A photocopy of the passport page with the applicant’s biometric data/photograph and residence permit / Chipkarte for Germany, as applicable, must also be submitted. The applicant’s original passport must be submitted regardless of whether it is valid or expired. The original document will be given back to the applicant.
  6. The applicant’s original South African unabridged birth certificate. A photocopy of the document must also be submitted. The original document will be given back to the applicant
If you apply through a company, you must submit a BI-154 form and a copy of your South African ID.
Applying in South Africa – I assume you need to submit the same when doing it in person. If a family member/friend applies on your behalf you must also submit an authorisation letter.

Unabridged Marriage certificate

As mentioned there are 4 ways to apply for documentation from South Africa. If you apply via the consular services in Germany, you need to  submit the following documents:

  1. Form BI-130
  2. A letter from the applicant. The letter must be signed and dated by the applicant and confirm the applicant’s contact details (residential address, mobile phone number and email address) and that the certificate is to be certified with an apostille in terms of the 1961 Hague Convention.
  3. The applicant’s South African birth certificate or birth record, if available. A photocopy of the document must also be submitted. The original document will be given back to the applicant.
  4. Both spouses’ original passports or identity documents.  A photocopy of each document must also be submitted. The original documents will be given back to the applicants.
  5. A copy of the South African abridged or unabridged marriage certificate, if available
If you apply through a company, you must submit a DHA-130 form and a copy of both spouses’ South African IDs.
Applying in South Africa – I assume you need to submit the same when doing it in person. If a family member/friend applies on your behalf you will have to submit an authorisation letter as well.
 
Note: On the list of required documents I received, it does not explicitly state that the Marriage certificate must be apostilled, but I would rather not take the chance that they do not accept it without an apostille.

Apostille

An Apostille is a confirmation of authenticity and allows for a document (for example a birth certificate) to be accepted by authorities in another country. Documents from the DHA can only be apostilled by DIRCO
More information on Apostilles and legalisation can be found here.
Apostil has a great page which explains the difference between a DIRCO and a High Court apostille. 
From our understanding, documents older than 12 months cannot be apostilled. Please confirm this with DIRCO.

Legalising Documents

Depending on the situation, you might need to have documentation authenticated, certified, or make certified copies thereof. Document authentication South Africa and Germany are both

Read More »

Example of documents needed

The following is a list of the possible documents that might be needed, depending on your situation. I got the list during the Beratungsgespräch at our Bürgeramt in Leinfelden. They will send the application to Esslingen to process. 

Translators

Helge Mayer translations services

Based in Germany. Helge Mayer (MA) – accredited/sworn translations German to English and English to German Masters Degree in Translations from the University of Heidelberg

Linguistika

A Multifaceted Language Service founded by Stephanie Schaffrath TAILORED ONLINE LANGUAGE TUITION: With over 12 years of experience teaching languages, Linguistika is committed to providing

Birgit Böttner – Sworn Translator

Based in Johannesburg South Africa. I’m a qualified sworn translator for English & German, registered with the German Consulate in Pretoria Trained in Germany in

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