German citizenship For Members

Does hiring a lawyer speed up your German citizenship application?

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
Does hiring a lawyer speed up your German citizenship application?
A lawyer can't guarantee you a speedy response to your German citizenship application, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't consider one in some cases. Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

Contracting a lawyer to help you with your German citizenship application isn't likely to help you get an appointment faster. But it may help you in other ways, particularly if your citizenship authority starts ghosting you.


With the German naturalisation law reform set to come into force on June 27th, many foreign residents in Germany are considering applying. One question that readers have asked The Local is: Will contracting a lawyer with good contacts within citizenship and immigration authorities speed up your German citizenship application?

READ ALSO: Elation and worry as German citizenship law passes final hurdle

Strictly speaking, no. That in and of itself won't do it - according to legal experts The Local has spoken to.

Immigration lawyers Andreas Moser and Sven Hasse both say the best way to increase your application's chances of speedy approval is to make sure the application is complete and well-organised. Moser recommends that paper applications are filed with an index of documents and that files submitted with electronic applications are neatly scanned and clearly labelled.

“I’ve had clients who’ve done it like that and they sometimes get their citizenship – even in busy offices like Munich – in three months,” says Moser. "The most important thing is to only apply when you’ve met all the conditions, have all the paperwork, and you can present it in one folder.”

You may wish to have a lawyer go over your documents to help ensure that neat application - or even perhaps to draft a cover letter anticipating and answering any questions the authorities might have.

Such explanations might be to detail a short break in your income, or address why your children might have a different last name to you if they're included in your application.

However, having a lawyer to help you do this isn't necessary in many cases. Moser also advises that it's unlikely to save you any time versus simply doing the application yourself, as your lawyer will have to go through all the application details with you anyway - and it can be costly.

READ ALSO: How to get a speedy response on your German citizenship application


When should I definitely consider a lawyer?

Moser's recommendation, in most cases at least, is to consider a lawyer only once it's clear that the authorities aren't considering your neat and complete application in a timely manner and you want to challenge them.

Normally, this shouldn't be until at least three months have passed without word on the status of your application. At that point you can threaten a complaint through the administrative court. Such a complaint is known as an Untätigkeitsklage and you can draft a letter to the citizenship authority yourself stating that if it does not act on your application, you will file the complaint. You can also ask a lawyer to help you with this threat letter.

Moser says that much of the time, this threat letter works - and the applicant will rarely have to actually file the Untätigkeitsklage. If you do choose to file it though, it's at this point that Moser advises you seek out a lawyer to draft and file the complaint on your behalf. This process costs €500 in court fees and more in legal fees, although if the court finds in your favour - the authority then has to send this money back to you.


Finally, both Hasse and Moser say you should consider legal advice if your case is complicated. This might include a previous criminal conviction carrying a sentence of slightly more than 90 days, or for uncertain or interrupted periods of residence. This could include people who've travelled to their home countries for an extended period of time to look after ailing relatives or employees of German companies who've been posted outside of Germany for an extended period of time due to their jobs.

READ ALSO: When to consider legal action for your German citizenship application

Editor's note: We amended the implementation date for German citizenship from June 26th to June 27th 2024 after confirmation from the German government on May 16th. 


Comments (1)

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Mark 2024/04/25 00:42
Thanks for this article. I've applied for German citizenship last year for myself and my children based on my grandfather being a German citizen at the time of my Father's birth. My attorney told us we should hear by the end of this year. He told us this type is through a different court process than the naturalization process. Has anyone else reading this, done this application for citizenship from ancestry.

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