Five years ago, an American lady contacted me about applying for German citizenship. She fell into that group of people who could qualify without living in Germany, but she would need to pass the German language test at a high level.
She had paid a consultation fee, I had assessed her case, we had discussed it, everything was on track.
Now, five years later, she e-mails me again, saying that she narrowly missed the required number of points in the C1 exam. That’s actually still very impressive, as C1 is the level required for university studies in German. Even if you miss that by a few points, it signifies an extremely good command of the language, possibly at a higher level than some native German speakers.
Naturally, my advice was to simply retake the exam after studying and practicing a bit. You can retake it as often as you want.
That advice did not make the lady happy. She asked if we couldn’t argue some exception. I told her that it would be a waste of her money and, more importantly, my time. In any case, I had already given her the best possible advice. For free! She kept insisting on submitting her application for German citizenship without retaking the test and asked me what I would charge for reviewing her application.
Two-hundred euros, I said, generously, to which she replied:
Okay. And before I pay you a fee for your help, I’m hoping to better assess my chances before I apply. Do most Americans in my situation request dual citizenship? I see that on the application, it asks why you would not give up your former citizenship. What is an acceptable answer to this? My answer is that once my children are in college, I would like to move to Germany to be near my mother’s side of the family. This is still some years away, hence, the reason for requesting both citizenships.
That sounded like someone was trying to get me to answer even more questions for free, something I have become rather allergic to.
Hence my short reply:
Before I answer your questions prior to potentially receiving payment, let me quickly go to the bakery and eat the cake before I decide if I want to pay for it.
This is the moment when a client with a sense of humor would wire the money and make a joke about cake. Not this one:
I take offense to your snarky response
I paid you quite a bit of money in 2014 for help with this application
I would have been willing to pay you more to help me see this through until receiving your email. My last connection to my family in Germany was my mother who just passed away through suicide
Obtaining dual citizenship is close to my heart as the rest of her family is still in Germany
I’m disappointed but have to remember not everyone has a kind spirit
At least my spirit was kind enough not to tell her that I approve of her mother’s suicide.
- FAQ on German citizenship law.
- FAQ on naturalization as a German citizen without living in Germany.
- FAQ on reclaiming German citizenship.
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- More legal advice.