28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: (Nur Mit Euch / Only With You) – ‘cos Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

It’s October!

In a few days, Germany will celebrate the Re-Unification of Germany, otherwise known as, the Day of German Unity or Der Tag der Deutschen Einheit!

This most important day will take place on October the 3rd.

October 3rd is a public holiday given to the German people to honour the Re-Unification of the two German States previously called the German Democratic Republic (GDR) or DDR (Deutsche Democratic Republic) otherwise known as East Germany, and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) or Bundesrepublik Deutschland (BRD), otherwise also known as West Germany!

Me in front of a piece of the Berlin Wall & Street Art!

I cannot under-estimate how much I love this city.

I mean, I shout about it loud enough and it was just five (5) years ago that I introduced myself to you on this blog, when I wondered what the heck Berlin was all about anyway!

Oh yeah, and then I wrote a cheeky article which most people didn’t seem to get. And the title? Germany is Boring.

Oops!

I mean, what is the big deal?

Best German meals to try out in Berlin – Currywurst!

I’ll tell you what the big deal is my good man.

It’s the fact that the city of Berlin.

THIS city of Berlin.

Has been together in peace and harmony for 28 years.

That’s right.

28 years!

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

WHY WAS THE BERLIN WALL SET UP IN THE FIRST PLACE?

The Berlin Wall after the opening of the Wall near Brandenburg Gate on November 11th, 1989!
@25 Archiv. Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung – Uwe Gerig

It’s a little complicated but after WWII, Germany was split and divided by the allies as punishment for Nazi Germany. And you only had to look at the city of Berlin to see who the Allies were namely; Great Britain, France, USSR, and the United States.

It was not long before arguments and squabbling took place in the international political arena and simply put, the Eastern and Western Bloc decided to go their separate ways, and an Iron Curtain ensued.

East Germany went one step further and built a wall in Berlin, cutting a line through the entire centre of the city!

This wall was supposed to prevent East Berliners and citizens of East Germany from fleeing to the West, but the Wall was unable to stop the mass of people from escaping.

As a result, in 1961, the ruling Communist Party in East Germany began adding more border fortifications to the Wall, creating a broad, many-layered system of barriers.

In the West, people referred to the border strip as the death strip because so many people were killed while trying to flee.

I have seen this death wall myself as I live in East Berlin and not 10 minutes away, is the main local park called Mauer Park.

The suburb of Prenzlauerberg where I live, is now enormously trendy and gentrified, and if you’re “in,” or want to be “in,” you strive to live here.

However, let it be noted that “Mauer” in German, means “Wall.”

The Death Strip in now East Berlin but formerly French – Soviet Germany!
©Joyce, S. A.

With the downfall of East Germany in 1989, the Berlin Wall that the Socialist Party tried to use to maintain its power, also fell.

The Fall of the Wall marked the definitive end of its dictatorship.

The Berlin Wall enclosed West Berlin from August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989.

STREETS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE WALL?

The Berlin Wall.
28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

A couple of years ago, I wrote about one of my favourite places, and where I first lived in Berlin – Kreuzberg. You can read all about it right here!

In my post, I mentioned that Kreuzberg had the Berlin Wall running right through the middle of it and that during the happy confusion, when the Wall actually fell, young people were leaving the East to go West, or leaving the West to go East!

In fact, I liked Kreuzberg so much that when I first made a documentary about being a British person in Berlin, we did the filming there!

OMG! Don’t I just look like a city babe!
©Pascale Scerbo Sarro

In Prenzlauer Berg where I live now, we’re about twenty (20) minutes from the original East-West border, and about ten (10) minutes from the first border crossing on the bridge of Bornholmer Straße.

If you’ve ever since videos where East Berliners were running through the border with everyone clapping, and cheering, and giving out free beer, it was that one!

I always take my friends to where the original wall used to be!

And let me tell you.

I weep tears of joy because even though I wasn’t in Berlin when the Berlin Wall actually fell, living in Berlin means that I’m able to touch, see and sometimes smell, what it was like to live here pre-1989!

Potsdamer Platz today!
28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

In fact, I can still remember when Potsdamer Platz was nothing more than wasteland and a piece of the border strip known as No Man’s Land. And looked like it too!

Not far off from Prenzlauer Berg, is a street called Bernauer Strasse, also known as Bernauer Straße!

Bernauer Straße as part of the Berlin Wall in 1961 – Frank Baake © Thomas Gade

As you can see, the Berlin Wall used to go right through it!

In fact, it was pretty horrid for all concerned, as you could actually see the other side of the Berlin Wall from your kitchen window, but you couldn’t go to the Western side without being shot!

Smashing through the wall! ©frizztext
Smashing through the wall!
©frizztext

Imagine the frustration, pain, and horror.

Many people tried to escape from freedom and found ways to be creative by jumping through windows, sailing across in a hot air balloon, digging tunnels underground, pretending to have a funeral and lowering the “dead” person into a pit, hiding inside the seated lining of a Volkswagen car, etc. All for a life of freedom.

Not much of the Wall is left today, which was chipped off and destroyed almost in its entirety. However, three (3) long sections still stand:

The Topography of Terror. You can still see parts of the Berlin Wall right behind it!
©Britta Scherer / Stiftung Topographie des Terrors

An 80-metre-long (260 ft) piece of the first (westernmost) wall at the now Topography of Terror, but which used to be the site of the former Gestapo headquarters!

And obviously, after WWII, the original building was razed to the ground.

The Berlin Wall, otherwise known as, East Side Gallery!

A longer section of the second (easternmost) wall along the River Spree, near the Oberbaumbrücke in Kreuzberg / Friedrichshain, which you can see throughout the 1998 cult film Run Lola Run, starring Franke Potente (The Bourne Identity), and otherwise known as, East Side Gallery!

The film and soundtrack were just so exhilarating.

Even now, 20 years later!

Bernauer Straße in both East & West Berlin!
28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

A third section that is partly reconstructed, in the north at Bernauer Straße, was turned into a memorial in 1999.

And of course, isolated fragments, lampposts, a few watchtowers, and other elements, also remain throughout various parts of the city!

On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.

SO HOW DID THE BERLIN WALL ACTUALLY FALL?

It’s easy to forget Germany’s history!

It’s easy to forget that this situation was only 28 years ago. Most of you reading this blog, are probably older!

Let’s get some history!


2 May

Hungary begins dismantling the fortifications on the border to Austria.People demonstrate against the election rigging in front of the Sophienkirche (church).


7 May

Local elections in the GDR. Opposition groups prove that the results were faked. People demonstrate against the election rigging in East Berlin on the seventh day of every subsequent month.


4 September

First Monday Demonstration in Leipzig. 1,200 people gather outside St. Nicholas’ Church. Their demands include freedom of travel and democracy.


9 /10 September

New Forum’s initial call-out becomes a signal for change. Further grassroots movements follow.


11 September

Hungary officially opens its western border for GDR citizens, risking a breach in its diplomatic relations with East Berlin.


30 September

West Germany’s foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher informs the East German refugees in the Prague embassy, that they will be allowed to leave the GDR.


3 October

The GDR government bans travel to Czechoslovakia without passports and visas, to stem the mass exodus. Special trains transport people from the Prague and Warsaw embassies to the West, through the GDR. There are violent clashes with police along the railway line, as well as in Dresden.


7. October

On the 40th anniversary of the GDR, several thousand people demonstrate in Berlin outside the Palace of the Republic.  In numerous East German towns and cities, similar protests are broken up by force.


9 October

Despite fear of military repression of the Monday Demonstration, 70,000 people take to the streets in Leipzig. The police, military and civilian forces do not intervene.


11 October

The single ruling political party calls for people to stay in the GDR, offering a “dialogue” concerning the country’s further development.


16 October

The number of people at the Monday Demonstration in Leipzig doubles. The security forces do not intervene.

 


18 October

Erich Honecker is forced to resign after 18 years in office. Egon Krenz is made the new secretary-general of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED).


24 October

Krenz is also elected chairman of the State Council and the National Defence Council. 12,000 people demonstrate against his appointment in Berlin that evening.


30 October

300,000 people take part in the Leipzig Monday Demonstration.


4 November

The largest demonstration in the history of the GDR takes place in Berlin.


7 November

The government of the GDR, and the Council of Ministers collectively resign.


8 November

The Central Committee Politburo, the highest body in the GDR, resigns. West German chancellor Helmut Kohl links economic and financial aid for the GDR to three conditions: the opposition must be legalised, free elections must take place, and the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) must renounce its claim to sole authority.


9 November

The Wall falls, prompted by a vague, but now famous, announcement of new travel regulations at a press conference. Tens of thousands of East Berliners rush to the checkpoints and force the border open.


22 December

The Berlin Wall is officially opened at Brandenburg Gate. The first concrete section is removed from its beams at 0.30 a.m.


23 December

The offices issuing passes for the GDR in West Berlin close for good. West Germans no longer need a visa, or have to change a certain amount of money, to enter the East.


1990 Chronology

Hurrah! Germany is now united as One as we celebrate the Day of German Unity, also known as Re-Unification Day or Tag der Deutschen Einheit!

31 August

The Unification Treaty is signed in East Berlin.


3 October

Germany celebrates the Day of German Unity, also known as Re-Unification Day or Der Tag der Deutschen Einheit!


28 YEARS AFTER THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL

Climbing up the Berlin Wall for Freedom! Freedom!!

It was the people who took to the streets en masse and courageously resisted a dictatorship, enabling both the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Peaceful Revolution.

The 28th anniversary of the Fall of the Wall is important because Berlin will continue to invite locals, expats, eyewitnesses who were here, and people of the world, to participate in the anniversary celebrations, and to tell personal stories about the Berlin Wall.

The connecting element will be a gallery, the Band der Einheit or Band of Unity showing the road signs of 11,040 towns and cities in Germany that are a blend of East and West Germany, and thus, a united Germany throughout the country.

As a symbol of German Unity, the gallery will span hundreds of metres across the festival area, and will explore the diversity of Germany in a simple yet appealing way, on a journey of discovery throughout Berlin, Germany, and Europe.

More than one million visitors are expected to attend the three-day festival.

Food in Germany: 5 of the Best Ever!

There will be a diverse programme of local street music and street food, DJ sets, dance sets, and karoeke at the Bearpit in Mauer Park, and across the festival.

There will also be an orchestra, and musicians from all over the world, on stage at Brandenburg Gate, resulting in the Grand Finale of a huge open-air concert featuring German artists such as Boss Hoss, Samy Deluxe, Nena, and others.

Absolutely free of charge of course!

I’ll be there. Wil you?

Come join us!

For a full list of participating buildings, maps, and photographic displays, go to the official Nur Mit Euch / Only With You, website here!

 

WHAT IF THE BERLIN WALL ISN’T MY CUP OF TEA?

Two sides and periods, of the Berlin Wall.

As if!!

Keep reading my blog. There is more to come!

That’s it for now.

See you soon!

28 YEARS AFTER THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL: (NUR MIT EUCH / ONLY WITH YOU) ‘COS BERLIN, I’LL NEVER LET YOU GO!

Beeeeerlin! I’ll never let you go!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the currywurst and bratwurst that I’m sure to be happily scoffing in the next few weeks, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

I’ll be writing about my trip to Sweden, Estonia & Latvia very soon, and in the winter, I’ll be travelling to India.

Keep a look out.

Yipee!

October & November is going to be smashing.

The Berlin Wall – 28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

Have you ever been to Berlin? Do you remember where you were when the Berlin Wall Fell. Where were you in 1989? Let me know in the comments below!

 See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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How to get German citizenship if you’re British – How to be a German via Double Nationality!

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

Yes!

It happened!

OMG!

So a fortnight (two weeks) ago, was a really great day.

Have you ever been to Blackpool – Britain’s version of Las Vegas – OMG!

As you all know, I’m a very proud British person.

However, after the very disappointing result of the Brexit Referendum in 2016, many of my fellow British citizens began to wonder whether the discussions and talks would lead to a better understanding of British / European relations, or a hardline stance.

Berlin – very British – rbb

I’ve always been determined to remain British to the core.

Indeed, I even told a reporter of the Bloomberg newspaper that the only way you would get me out of this country, would be kicking and screaming!

But the writing on the wall was crystal clear, that British – European relations was not going to get better anytime soon, but effectively worse.

So at the end of 2016, I changed my mind, and decided to apply for double nationality.

I love both England – my original birth country, and Germany – my adoptive new country, and I don’t see why I should have to choose! ©Reuters

There is no doubt in my mind that regardless of the dismal politics, I love both England – my original birth country, and Germany – my adoptive new country, and I don’t see why I should have to choose, as I have spent a lot of my life and money, in both.

In fact, I’ve written about both how to be British and how to be a German.

And, I’m not alone!

Put the kettle on. We’re going to be here all day!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

Basically, I want to be both British and German, and to effectively have the best of both worlds!

And while the UK is still in the EU, I certainly can!

Now for British citizens living on the European continent, and European citizens living in the UK, what’s next, is a constant worry, and I attend many a meeting, press sessions and network groups, on this very question.

If you’re British, & have the opportunity to apply for European citizenship anywhere in the EU, do so as quickly as possible!
©Dr. Meddy – The Cartoon Movement

If you are British, and have the opportunity to apply for European citizenship anywhere in the EU, do so as quickly as possible, as the clock is ticking, and even though 2018 has only just begun, 2019 will be upon us sooner than you or anyone else anticipated, and then it will be too late.

If you’re a British national of Irish descent or anybody born in Northern Ireland, you have the right to acquire Irish citizenship, so if there’s a whiff of Irishness in your ancestral tree, go and get it!

I can’t tell you what to do and where to choose, but I can give you some simple tips and guidelines as to how to apply for German citizenship, if you’re British.

HOW TO GET GERMAN CITIZENSHIP IF YOU’RE BRITISH – HOW TO BE A GERMAN VIA DOUBLE NATIONALITY!

I’m not a lawyer, so you should seek legal advice!

Before we go any further, let me make it clear that I am not a lawyer, so if you need legal advice, go ahead and contact an expert specialised in naturalisation / citizenship matters. This post is based on my personal experience. I assume no liability for the accuracy of the enclosed data.

Right, now that’s out of the way, let’s go on.

THE RULES:

How to get German citizenship if you’re British – How to be a German via Double Nationality!
  • If you live in Germany permanently, and have done so for at least 8 years, you can apply for German Citizenship
  • If you’re a member of the EEA, a Swiss citizen, or the EU, citizenship is not required. EU law allows for the Freedom of Movement Act which effectively means, that you can live in any Schengen country, whenever, and however you like
If you’re highly qualified in fields such as science, research, IT, or have a firm job offer, immediate permanent residence is usually offered in Germany!
  • If you’re highly qualified in fields such as science, research, IT, or have a firm job offer, immediate permanent residence is usually offered
  • If you’re a self-employed entrepreneur, Germany is happy to have you
  • If you have German skills, can support yourself financially, have health insurance, and no criminal record, residency shouldn’t be an issue

Then there is naturalisation.

HOW TO APPLY FOR GERMAN CITIZENSHIP via NATURALISATION OR DOUBLE NATIONALITY

Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!

WHAT DOES NATURALISATION MEAN?

How to apply for German Citizenship via Naturalisation or Double Nationality

Legally, naturalisation (or naturalization) is the documented act or process, by which a non-citizen, may acquire citizenship or nationality, of another country. This may be done by statute, without any effort on the part of the individual, or it may involve an application and approval by legal authorities.

Britain opted to leave the EU, therefore, after March 2019, no UK citizen will have automatic free access to the EU, and no EU citizen will have automatic free access to the UK either.

This has brought about a Pandora’s box of conflicting problems.

This also means as a UK citizen, if you live in the EU and wish to ensure a continuation of EU rights, then the path to go down for legal certainty is either naturalisation, or double nationality.

WHAT DOES DOUBLE NATIONALITY / DUAL CITIZENSHIP MEAN?

Can you have dual citizenship / double nationality, and not know it?
©i.redd.it

Double Nationality or Dual Citizenship, is the concept where an individual is a national or citizen, of two countries at the same time.

In Germany, it’s the norm to give your nationality up, in order to get German citizenship. However, German law permits certain people to hold two citizenships if:

  • A child, with a parent who has double nationality
  • A child, who has one German and one foreign parent, and therefore, automatically acquires all the citizenships their parents have
  • A person of ethnic German descent
  • A German citizen who also holds citizenship of another EU country, or Switzerland

If you have Double Nationality, under German law you are viewed as a German citizen, and have the same rights as any German National. However, you lose your right to claim German consular protection if you chose to live in your original home country, (or any other country where you hold citizenship). In this case, you will be viewed by that country as one of its citizens, and their own services will apply

I chose double nationality.

The Tall Young Gentleman and the Boy Scouts of America – Troop 46 – Berlin. Having German, British, American & French dual citizenships / double nationalities, works just fine!

Either way, there’s a lot of red tape to get through.

There was a time, when there was an unwritten thing about fast-tracking Brits who wanted to become German citzens before the Brexit Referendum, but that’s stopped now…

I choose to have both German and British passports!
©DPA

According to the BAMF – Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, otherwise known as the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, the process of Naturalisation is extremely challenging, and can only occur under certain circumstances and conditions.

THE CONDITIONS:

My beer at the NeuenSee lake in Berlin!

You have a right to Naturalisation, if you fulfil the following conditions:

  1. You have an unrestricted right of residence, at the time of being naturalised
  2. You have passed the Naturalisation Test (knowledge of the legal and social system, as well as living conditions in Germany)
  3. Your habitual, lawful place of residence has been in Germany for at least eight years (this period can be reduced to seven years if you attend an integration course and pass, and can be reduced to as little as six years, in the case of special integration measures. A reduction can also be made for marriage, the co-naturalization of spouses and children, foreign spouses of Germans, or under the laws of asylum or refugee status
  4. You have independent means of securing a living (including dependent family members), without resorting to social welfare payments or unemployment benefits (Arbeitslosengeld II)
  5. You have adequate German-language skills
  6. You do not have any criminal convictions
  7. You are committed to the free democratic constitutional order of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany
  8. You have lost or given up your former nationality (exceptions apply, depending on the country of origin)

It is however possible to obtain “discretionary naturalisation.”

This means that the naturalisation authority can agree to naturalisation if there is public interest in your Naturalisation, and some of the basic requirements have been fulfilled.

CHILDREN:

Children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their relatives, usually travel on the European train, for free!
  1. Children born in Germany have an automatic right to German nationality if their mother, their father, or both parents, are German
  2. Children of foreign nationals take German nationality if they were born in Germany and if, at the time of their birth, Germany was the habitual, lawful place of residence of at least one parent for eight years, and the parent has unlimited right of residence
  3. Children of foreign nationals, must decide when they are aged between 18 and 23, whether they wish to take up German nationality, or retain the nationality of their parents
The Music Producer and “The Tall Young Gentleman” in beautiful Osnabrück, Germany.

Luckily for us, The Tall Young Gentleman is half German (by virtue of his German father) – half British (by virtue of his British mother – me) by birth, and has always been entitled to both nationalities.

I’m extremely glad that I had the foresight to register him at the British Embassy in Berlin, at birth, and have it recorded on his birth certificate too!

As far as being British is concerned, point Nr. 8 above “you have given up your former nationality (exceptions apply, depending on the country of origin)” is extremely important, because the way to bypass that point as of now, is still double nationality. After 2019, if you are British, you’ll have to choose.

HOW DO YOU START THE PROCESS OF NATIONALISATION / DOUBLE NATIONALITY:

Now that Brexit & Article 50 has been triggered, as an island nation. We’re out. Alone.
  • The first thing you have to realise is that the clock is ticking, and the UK government is not backing down from Brexit, so if you want double nationality, you ought to start processing it. Like YESTERDAY!
  • Next, you must submit an application.

Parents can make an application for children who are under 16. Anyone over 16, must submit their own application.

You can obtain application forms from the following places:

Bremen – Old Town Hall – Germany
  • The city / town council
  • The local authority
  • The regional district office
  • The local immigration office or authority for your town or community
  • Youth migration services
  • The immigration advice service for adult migrants

To find out which authority handles the citizenship process in your area, ask your local advice office, regional advice office, or local foreign affairs office. The information and documents that are required for your specific case, will be provided by your local authority.

Take me to the Baltic Sea in Geeeeermany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH

If you are applying for German citizenship while in the UK or abroad, you need to seek advice from your local German Embassy, German Consulate, or German Diplomatic Mission.

Before submitting your application, you should schedule an appointment for a free-of-charge advice session with your local authority office, so that you can ask any questions necessary, make sure that your documentation is complete, and also pay the Naturalisation Application fee.

Sonderzug nach Pankow – the cult song of my Regional District Office in East Germany – sung by Udo Lindenberg!

I scheduled my advice session at my Regional District Office.

I live in Berlin.

Berlin is the capital of Germany.

It’s a very busy important city.

  • The only way to schedule a meeting is by online appointment only – nur nach Terminvereinbarungvia the electronic appointment scheduling system

You won’t get it any other way.

  • And you must be a resident of the district

Light the way to German citizenship!

My Naturalisation Office would only take appointments on two (2) days of the week, and so the next available appointment slot would usually be about 5 weeks ahead, and even then, you really had to be snappy with your fingers, ‘cos if you weren’t fast enough, that would be another week lost!

And right now, that office is so over-whelmed, consultation hours have been cancelled until the middle of February!

Some districts are flexible, and will take applications from anywhere in the city, via open consultation – offene Sprechstunde ohne Terminvereinbarung – but right now, many offices have enough worries of their own!

Oh, and don’t forget to take along your current passport!

Don’t forget to take your British passport!
©dpa- A. Rain

Once the local authority office is satisfied that you fit the requirements for Naturalisation or Double Nationality, you might also be asked to provide evidence of the following:

  • A sufficient knowledge of German, which is at least equal to the level of B1, in the Common European Framework of Reference

If you have a Deutsche Sprachdiplom, a B1 Zertifikat Deutsch, a Deutsch-Test für Zuwanderer (DTZ) – German Test for Immigrants, were educated at a German High School, a German University, or a German institution of Higher Learning, you will not be required to do anything more than show proof.

If not, you might be asked to do a language test.

You can do that test, or find your German language ability, here.

  • General knowledge skills regarding the political, social and legal aspects of living in Germany. Proof of that is usually derived by taking and passing, the Naturalisation Test.

WHAT IS THE NATURALISATION TEST?

Should you go to Oktoberfest!
©Adam Fletcher – How to be German

The Naturalisation Test is proof that you have the knowledge of the legal, social system, and living conditions in Germany that you need, to understand, successfully integrate, and be Naturalised, in Germany.

HOW TO PREPARE:

Oh no! I’ve got to do the Naturalisation Test, & learn stuff!

The best way to prepare for the Naturalisation Test is by using the government’s Online Test Centre.

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has more information about the test including how to prepare, free online tests, and where to take it.

There are many platforms that you can use to practice online.

I used this Einbürgerungstest online platform – which is totally free of charge – because not only did it provide the test from each Bundesland, but it also gives you the possibility to test yourself from Easy to Very Hard, and if you get them wrong, you’d be provided with the correct answer, and why!

Ha! Ha! Ha!

I started with Very Hard (obviously), and got all the answers right, but struggled with all the simple easy questions, so it was good practice!

WHAT DOES THE GERMAN NATURALISATION TEST CONSIST OF?

  • You have one hour to answer 33 multiple choice questions, and you have to get at least 17 questions correct, to pass the test (you have the right to re-sit it, if you don’t)
  • Topics covered include: ‘Living in a Democracy,’ ‘History and Responsibility,’ ‘People in Society,’ as well as some specific questions about the particular State / Region in which you live. In my case, Berlin
  • The local Naturalisation Office in your area, will tell you where your nearest test centre, is so you can register.

Again, it’s a bit of a long process and requires hours of queuing to register.

HOW TO REGISTER: 

I allocated an afternoon to do this.

After waiting for hours, I approached an officer, who told me to go around the corner, and register with another office that had absolutely no one in it!

I was the only person there, and within 5 minutes, filled in the required form, paid the fee, and received a choice of dates.

Victoria’s Einbürgerungstest / Naturalisation Test 2016
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner

I registered and sat my test at the Kultur- und Bildungszentrum Sebastian Haffner in Berlin.

I answered 30 questions correctly out of 33, so I was very pleased!

  • The cost of the test is a €25.00 fixed fee
  • It takes a couple of weeks, then if you pass, you’ll receive your certificate with the test results, from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, by post.

Once you have the Einbürgerungstest – Naturalisation Test Certificate, you then send a copy of it (do NOT send the original document, as they can’t send it back) to the Naturalisation Office, you applied to.

WHAT NEXT?

Make it crystal clear that you’re applying for Double Nationality, so that you don’t have to give up your British passport, & there’s no misunderstanding later on! ©Lifehack Quotes

Referring back to your original advice session at the very beginning of your application:

Remember to make it crystal clear that you’re applying for Double Nationality rather than full Naturalisation, so that you don’t have to give up your British passport, and there’s no misunderstanding later on!

Then pay the fee.

Pay the fee with the Bürgeramt Kassenkarte!
Erfurt Bürgeramt ©Friedhelm Funke – Instagram – @friedhelm_funke
  • The process of Naturalisation costs €255, but you’ll be required to pay €191 at the initial stage.
  • Minors who apply with their parents, pay a fee of just €51.00
  • A reduced fee, or payment by installment, is available for low-income earners, or applicants with large families

Remember!

Once you have the Einbürgerungstest – Naturalisation Test Certificate, send a copy of it (do NOT send the original document, as they can’t send it back) to the Naturalisation Office, you applied to.

Then you wait.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week:
Come to Berlin. We’re waiting for ya!

The average process time takes between 6 months and a year, depending on where you live, and the number of applications.

British citizens applying for German citizenship, have increased tenfold!

My advice is to stay in touch with your Naturalisation Office, and give them a quick call every 3 to 6 months, just so that you know how far they’ve got, and if they need anything else.

I bet you wouldn’t mind calling this sexy hot German guy!

They really don’t have the time or resources to contact YOU, so make sure that you do everything you can to make their work easier, as in my Regional District Office, only two (2) officers were allocated to Naturalisation and Citizenship, and it’s such a huge task, it’s over-whelming!

Once you get the lucky letter that your application is accepted for Double Nationality, this is what happens next.

YOU’RE ALMOST THERE! 

At the entrance of my local town council – Bürgeramt Berlin Prenzlauer Berg
©Kai-Uwe Heinrich

You’ll receive a letter with the appointed time and date, when German Naturalisation will be conferred upon you.

On getting to the Naturalisation Office, you’ll be required to bring your current passport, one (1) biometric passport photo, and to pay the remaining €64.00 Application Fee, at a special automated machine.

You’ll also have to sign a few more documents, and get your passport photo verified, and stamped.

There will then be a small pledge ceremony.

I was looking forward to a proper Swearing-In Ceremony like the German Naturalisation – Einbürgerungs Ceremony in Stadt Karlsruhe! ©Fränkle

I was extremely excited and very much looking forward to a fanfare ceremony akin to this one.

My husband – The Music Producer – told me to not to expect drums and whistles in Berlin, and sadly due to a lack of personnel, he was right!

Mind you, I signed a petition asking for a proper Swearing-in Ceremony, sometime in the future!

I’m proud to be a German, so I want my bells and whistles!

At least, I got a tiny Naturalisation/ Einbürgerungs pledge ceremony by the time I got outside the Bezirksamt Pankow von Berlin Town Hall!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – Berlin – The British Berliner

At least, I got a pledge ceremony, in which I had to cite my allegiance and loyalty to the Federal Republic of Germany, and tried not to stumble over my words!

My German Nationality Certificate / Einbürgerungsurkunde, was given to me, and my German Permanent Residency Document taken back, (I received this 5 years after I arrived in Germany, and it was always in my British passport…) and returned to the Foreign Office!

We shook hands, then I went to collect my new passport, and pop the champagne!

Popping champagne ‘cos Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner, is German now too!

Whooooooa!

Not so fast Missy!

I was given a waiting number and sent to another department!

More waiting, and a Warteticket / waiting ticket at the Burgeramt in Stadt Neuss!
Instagram – ©Jascha Huschauer – @huschauer

We waited for about 30 minutes, and then went to another office in which I had to:

  • Show my current passport
  • Show my Naturalisation Certificate
  • Show my verified and stamped biometric passport photo
  • Scan a fingerprint of my index finger. On both hands!
This is also the time to apply for a German I.D. card / Personalausweis, too!
©picture alliance / dpa

This is also the time to apply for a German I.D. card / Personalausweis, too because as a British citizen, I only ever had a passport as a legal form of identification, which I was always supposed to take out with me.

And which I never did!

Whoops!

Now I’ll be able to have a German Personalausweis too.

After all that hard work, here's a biometric German / Deutsch passport / Reisepass document for ya!
After all that hard work, here’s a biometric German / Deutsch passport / Reisepass document for ya!
  • The cost of the actual German passport is €60.00
  • The cost of a German passport for anyone under 24 years old is €37.50
  • A German I.D. card / Personalausweis can only be issued to children 16 years and above. For young people under the age of 24, the cost is €22.80
  • For adults over 24, the cost of a German I.D. card / Personalausweis is €28.80

I applied for a German I.D. card / Personalausweis, for both myself, and The Tall Young Gentleman, who will be 16 this year.

He will be pleased.

Gulp!

Very proud. I’ve got my Naturalisation / EinbürgerungsurkundeCertificate & thus Double Nationality!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – Berlin – The British Berliner

So there you have it.

I’m a real British – German now!

SOME VERY IMPORTANT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

If you want to be a German, ask more questions! How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

CAN I GET GERMAN CITIZENSHIP, WITHOUT NATURALISATION?

In Stellshagen – Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – Germany.
Our son as a baby – 20 months old!

Yes!

  • You can obtain German citizenship by right of blood or Jus Sanguinis in which you have at least one German parent. It doesn’t matter whether you were born in Germany or not
  • You can get German citizenship by descent, if your parents registered you at the German Embassy or Consulate, in the country you were born in
  • You can get German citizenship by descent, if you were adopted by German citizens, as a child under 18
  • You and your descendents can get German citizenship by descent if you, your parents / grandparents, were German Jews between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945, and were deprived of citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds
  • You can get German citizenship by descent if you’re a spouse or descendant of an ethnic German from the former USSR, or certain parts of Eastern Europe, who previously had German citizenship, and were expelled and deprived of citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds
  • You can get German citizenship by descent, if you’re a British citizen, and you are a descendant of German Jews who would have been German citizens by birth, but were deprived of citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds, during World War II
  • You don’t qualify if you were born in a foreign country, and your German parents were also born in a foreign country, after January 1st, 2000
  • Outside of the points above, you don’t qualify for German citizenship through any other ancestor, except your parents

IF I WANT GERMAN CITIZENSHIP, DO I HAVE TO GIVE UP MY FORMER NATIONALITY?

Exit vom Brexit – Wir sind die neuen Germans! / Exit from Brexit. We are the new Germans!
British Berliner BAMS I – ©Axel Springer

Sorry! Under normal circumstances, you do!

However, you can keep your birth nationality, if:

  • You’re a member of the EEA, a Swiss citizen, or the EU
  • You have double nationality

DOES MARRIAGE ENTITLE ME TO GERMAN CITIZENSHIP?

A lovely wedding at Bluecoat Chambers
© 2017 Samuel Docker

Nope!

It certainly helps of course, and once married to a German national, the spouse is usually entitled to a residence permit. However, the legal stance is that if you want German citizenship, you’ll have to:

  • Meet some of the criteria I discussed previously
  • Be married for at least two years
  • Be resident in Germany for at least 3 years
  • Depending on your original citizenship, you can apply for naturalisation later on…

ARE CHILDREN BORN IN GERMANY, AUTOMATICALLY GERMAN?

Children born on German soil to non-German parents – on or after January 1st 2000 – can have German citizenship too.

I’m afraid not.

  • Of course, children born to at least one German parent, even outside the country, are eligible for German citizenship
  • However, children born on German soil to non-German parents, on or after January 1st 2000, can only obtain German citizenship under certain circumstances
  • At least one parent must have permanent right of residency, and have lived in the country regularly and legally, for at least eight years
  • In some cases, children born on German soil to non-German parents, can acquire German citizenship by right of birth in Germany, through Naturalisation, or via Dual Nationality. However, between the ages of 18 and 23, they must decide which nationality to keep, if they have more than one

IS IT POSSIBLE NOT TO TAKE THE NATURALISATION TEST?

At the Humbldt-Universität zu Berlin, and with our British flag!

Yes, it’s possible if:

  • You’re under 16
  • You went to a German High School, or a University in Germany
  • You are unable to meet the testing requirements due to age, disability, or illness

HOW EASY IS IT TO GET GERMAN CITIZENSHIP?

After a hard day at the Berlinale, surely I deserve a glass of champagne!

Ha! Ha!

For a newbie, Germany is one of the most difficult countries to move to, on a long-term basis.

  • If you’re just arriving, it isn’t easy
  • If you’ve been here for at least 3 – 5 years, you’ll know how difficult it really is
  • If you hold a permanent residence permit at the time of application, your legal place of residence has been Germany for at least eight years, (seven if you’ve attended an integration course, or six in special integration circumstances), speak “good” German, have a reliable income, can support yourself and your dependents, and are a British citizen, apply now!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner

Yep!

The British Berliner will be a British – German not just in name, but on paper too.

I’m still British of course, but I’m German too.

And why?

Because I deserve it!

Hurrah!

How to get German citizenship if you’re British – How to be a German via Double Nationality! ©dpa/G. Fischer

For support and advice, please contact the following organisations:

HOW TO GET GERMAN CITIZENSHIP IF YOU’RE BRITISH – HOW TO BE A GERMAN VIA DOUBLE NATIONALITY!

We’re not leaving!

This article is not sponsored, and I’m delighted to be a British German!

See you next week!

Be German. Drink up at Oktoberfest! ©dapd

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How to get German citizenship if you’re British – How to be a German via Double Nationality!
How to get German citizenship if you’re British – How to be a German via Double Nationality!

Do you want to be a German citizen? Are you British? Are you looking to change nationalities because of Brexit? Have you applied for Double Nationality / Dual Citizenship, or are you going the whole hog? How has Brexit affected you as a British person living in the EU? Was this article useful? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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