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German citizenship For Members

What documents should you get after obtaining German citizenship?

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
What documents should you get after obtaining German citizenship?
A German passport and naturalisation certificate. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fernando Gutierrez-Juarez

Plenty of foreigners in Germany are focusing on getting their citizenship applications ready for when the government's new law allowing dual citizenship comes into force - but what papers should you get once you finally have it?

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As long-time resident foreigners in Germany continue to gingerly sit on their citizenship applications, waiting for the current government's proposed dual nationality reform to pass - the idea of applying for yet more documents might evoke feelings of both frustration and dread.

But it's still a good idea to think about the paper you'll need to keep track of once your application is finally approved. For one thing, Germans are required to be in possession of at least one form of official ID. For another, it'll help prove your hard-earned rights.

Here's the documents you should get once your German citizenship application is approved.

READ ALSO: Germany's dual citizenship 'could be passed in January'

Your citizenship certificate

The first and most important document you'll get proving your German citizenship is your Staatsangerörigkeitsausweis - or citizenship certificate. It's not, however, a valid piece of ID. But you will need this to apply for your German ID card - or Personalausweis, as well as your Reisepass - or passport (more on these below). 

This document should come to you at the end of your citizenship application. If you lose it or need it again, you can apply for a new one at your local authority or responsible German mission abroad. The fee may vary depending on where you apply for it. In Berlin, this document costs €51.

When your citizenship application is successful, your local authority should automatically register your new German nationality - meaning you should be registered to vote right away in German federal and state elections. If you're not sure whether your local authority registered you properly though, you can always book a registration - or Anmeldung - appointment and bring your citizenship certificate with you.

Obviously once the Bürgeramt has you registered as German, you no longer need a residence permit. So if you have any appointments at immigration offices coming up, you can go ahead and cancel them.

READ ALSO: Who are the foreigners getting German citizenship?

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Why it's a good idea to get a German passport

Germany's European Union (EU) membership and diplomatic engagement worldwide means the federal republic boasts one of the world's most powerful passports.

Obviously, you can travel to and even move to and work in other EU countries using your German passport - and never give up your ability to come back to Germany. Germans who leave Germany also retain their right to vote in federal elections for 25 years.

The German passport is one of the most powerful in the world for travel. Photo by Weiqi Xiong on Unsplash

German passport holders also enjoy visa-free travel to 150 countries worldwide and can obtain a visa on arrival in another 30. Twelve countries - including the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand - ask German passport holders to fill out an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) online just a few days before travelling. Another 19 countries allow Germans to apply online for a visa. Just 18 require you to head to a mission abroad beforehand to apply for a visa.

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A German passport - or ID card - will also highlight to border control that you are exempt from any restrictions or requirements when setting foot back on German soil. It also gives you extra proof of your German nationality beyond your citizenship certificate. Plus, if you are a German national, you're expected to enter Germany on your German passport - regardless of whatever other passports you might have.

READ ALSO: Passports - what are the rules for dual nationals travelling in Germany?

If you run into trouble abroad, you can also obviously access German consular assistance. You can find a full database of German missions abroad here. If a German mission can't assist you for some reason, as an EU citizen, you are also entitled to seek assistance in that case from any other EU state.

You apply for a German passport from your responsible local authority or German mission abroad and the fee can vary depending on where. In Berlin, this fee is €37.50 for people aged 24 and younger and €60 for those older than 24. Additional fees apply if you want an express option or a passport with additional pages.

A German passport is valid for six years for anyone applying up to the age of 24. Once the bearer turns 24, any passport they apply for after that is valid for 10 years.

READ ALSO: How powerful is the German passport?

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Your German ID Card

This one is perhaps a good first step even before applying for your passport, as it's a way to prove your identity and nationality within Germany and the EU, and gives you access to online ID functions, if you want them.

If you start a new job, you may be asked for evidence of your right to work in Germany. Since only German citizens can have a German Personalausweis, showing your card automatically puts this question to rest for you and your respective employer.

Your German passport would do all the same things, plus allow you to travel outside the EU's Schengen zone. However, your Personalausweis has the obvious benefit of being able to easily fit into your wallet.

The cost of getting one can vary depending on which authority you order it from. In Berlin, this costs €22.80 for people aged 24 and younger and €37 for those older than 24.

Similar to a passport, a German ID card is valid for six years for anyone applying up to the age of 24. Once the bearer turns 24, any ID card they apply for after that is valid for ten years.

EXPLAINED: How much does it really cost to apply for German citizenship?

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