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Can I move federal states during my German citizenship application?

Can I move federal states during my German citizenship application?

Applying for citizenship, submitting your application and waiting for a response can be a long process in Germany. How does it affect your application if you need or want to move to another federal state while waiting for a decision?

Longer waiting times present complications for citizenship applicants

With a record-high worker shortage and a sudden swell of applications - both of which are only expected to worsen - processing times for German citizenship applications are years long in many cities.

These long processing times add an extra element of uncertainty for applicants; what happens if you lose your job while your application is still being processed, or if you need to move house or even to a different city or Bundesland?

Who is responsible for processing your German citizenship application?

Which authority in Germany is responsible for processing your citizenship application depends on which federal state you reside in. 

But that doesn’t mean statewide authorities are responsible for processing your application. That responsibility is even more localised by city or district, and the type of authority responsible can vary from place to place.

For example, in Munich, the Landratsamt München (administrative district office), also known as the “Staatsangehörigkeitsbehörde” is responsible for applications made across the city. In contrast, in the city-state of Berlin - at least until recently - the city’s 12 districts were responsible for processing applications of those living in that specific district.

As such, citizenship application processes are heavily localised in Germany, meaning it is difficult - but possible - to have your application processed by another authority than the one to which you originally submitted your documents.

Can I move city or Bundesland while my citizenship application is being processed?

Suppose you have submitted your citizenship application in Freiburg but decide or need to move to Hamburg, transferring your application to your new city is possible.

To do so, you should request the authority originally responsible for your application to transfer your information to the relevant authority where you plan to move. This can be done through email or via a phone call to the authority. The original authority will then send your application by post to the relevant authority. While you won’t have to worry about resubmitting the application personally, this decentralised system may lead to a longer wait on top of the already long processing times.

For example, if your application had nearly made it to the top of the pile in Freiburg, it could be the case that once it reaches Hamburg, it is placed at the bottom of the pile. This would also be the case if you were to move cities within one state, for example from Freiburg to Stuttgart.

Thumb image credit: styleuneed.de / Shutterstock.com

Olivia Logan

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Olivia Logan

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