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I am a US citizen and permanent resident of Germany. I am in the process of becoming a German citizen. This requires me to renounce my US citizenship, but the US Consulate in Germany is extremely backed up. I have heard of people travelling to renounce citizenship, but my understanding is that I would give up my passport during the appointment. Since I have no other citizenship, I would then have to return to Germany with no passport at all. All I would have is my German residence permit (along with various paperwork that would explain my situation). Is it possible to travel this way?

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Germany requires a valid passport for entry into the territory, as laid out per AufenthG § 3, a residence permit alone is not valid for entry.

(1) Foreigners may enter or stay in the federal territory only if they possess a recognised and valid passport or passport substitute, unless they are exempt from the passport requirement by virtue of a statutory instrument. For the purpose of residence in the federal territory, possession of a substitute identity document also suffices in order to meet the passport requirement (section 48 (2)).

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  • Thank you very much!
    – Charlie
    Jul 21 at 9:15
  • @Charlie I don't think there are systematic controls on the border today.
    – phoog
    Jul 21 at 9:27
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    @Charlie furthermore, you will need a valid US passport to apply for naturalization. You don't need to be stateless at the time of applying, only "prepared to give up your previous nationality" (bereit, Ihre bisherige Staatsangehörigkeit aufzugeben). You should also investigate the exceptions, in particular whether the $2,350 fee or the expatriation tax is an "unreasonable condition" or a "substantial disadvantage of a financial nature" (Nationality Act [StAG] section 12).
    – phoog
    Jul 21 at 9:53
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    @Charlie in addition, you might consider that the US Immigration and Nationality Act provides that applying for naturalization in a foreign state with the intention of losing your US citizenship causes you automatically to lose US citizenship. The executive branch would rather take the $2,350 fee for a renunciation, but it's not legally necessary. You might have to go to court if you try that route, however.
    – phoog
    Jul 21 at 9:56
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    @phoog But the last step you must actualy give up the other citizenship. A Einbürgerungszusicherung (intent to naturalize) is issued telling you that now is the time to do it. Jul 21 at 11:05
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Once you renounce your US citizenship, you will be considered (for the German authorities at least) to be stateless and will no longer have a US passport to travel with.

This normally must be done outside the US, so I assume you wish to do this from within the Schengen Area to avoid any regular passport control.

The German Einbürgerungszusicherung will probably be required by the US officials (outside of Germany it may have to be translated).

This, togeather with a letter confirming that your passport has been retained would explain the reason why you are returning to Germany without a required travel document. Because of this, if you are actualy found out, it would probably have no further consequences.

This letter would also be usefull when applying for a stateless passport (see below).

Part of the process is that a Certificate of Loss of Nationality will be issued immediately, but will first be sent to the State Department for 'review' and later sent back to you.

Even before FATCA this could have taken quite some time (early 1980's 6 months).

The confirmed Certificate of Loss of Nationality is what the German authorities require to complete the naturalization process.

During this time you are eligible for a stateless passport that will be issued by the local immigration office (see link for Berlin below).

With this travel document, togeather with your residence permit card, you can travel to other countries.


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  • "The German Einbürgerungszusicherung will probably be required by the US officials": the US doesn't care about this. "a Certificate of Loss of Nationality will be issued immediately, but will first be sent to the State Department for 'review' and later sent back to you": this isn't a particularly accurate description of the actual procedure. Also, the US won't issue a US visa to the person while the certificate is pending; they treat the person as a US citizen until it is actually issued to the person.
    – phoog
    Jul 21 at 11:10
  • @phoog That was how it was done in the past, where a friend of mine when through the process and how the US Embassy and Consulate in the Netherlands says it being done today. Request an Appointment - U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the Netherlands: After the interview your application will be forwarded to the Department of State for review. This process may take several months to complete. Jul 21 at 11:21
  • @phoog Actually, your source confirms this: Who may approve a Certificate of Loss of Nationality: ... This is one area of citizenship and nationality law that has not been delegated to U.S. consular officers abroad and, absent a change in the statute, cannot be delegated to post. (1) Generally a division chief in the Office of American Citizen Services and Crisis Management (CA/OCS/ACS) in the Directorate of Overseas Citizens Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State, reviews and approves a Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN); Jul 21 at 12:03
  • Forwarding an application for review is not the same as issuing a certificate immediately and forwarding the certificate for review. There is nothing in that source that suggests that the consular officer issues a certificate before the review, and indeed handling the process that way would make little sense.
    – phoog
    Jul 21 at 13:28
  • @phoog Oh, please - be realistic. Look at the wiki link where a photo can be seen. It is signed and sealed by the consulate official on one date and approved 80 days later. The only difference to the 1980 one (a copy of which I have) that it was stamped/approved in Wash. D.C. and sent per post from there. Sidenote: in 1980 it was free of charge. Jul 21 at 14:30

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