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Old 27 April 2009, 20:24
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rotorik rotorik is offline
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Exclamation Renouncing German citizenship to enlist

My son is currently going through the motions of joining the Army. As you might imagine, my heart is swelling with pride.

He was born in Germany while I was deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1990-91 for the Gulf War. Since his mother is German he is both an American and German citizen. In order to join the US Army he must renounce his German citizenship. The procedure for doing so is detailed here:


As I understand it, we must fill out the supplied application, have his signature certified and send the completed application off to Germany with his German passport. Here's where I need some help.

As I read it, the signature certification CAN POSSIBLY be done by a US notary public BUT ONLY if a US notary public is acceptable by the specific German office that processes the Renouncing of German citizenship. If it is not acceptable to use a US notary, we have to physically travel to one of the seven German consulate general offices; none of which is close to Fort Bragg.

Is there anyone who has gone through this process and who can offer some guidance?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 27 April 2009, 21:17
Dan90 Dan90 is offline
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This is interesting since I will most likely end up having to do the same thing. I've got dual US/German citizenship at the moment.
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Old 28 April 2009, 07:50
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bobofthedesert bobofthedesert is offline
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Who is telling you that this has to be done? I call BS on this. They may WANT you to renounce, they may TRY and tell you that you have to, but I would make them show you the applicable reg on paper.

I had a contractor tell me I had to renounce, I said show me the regs, and what they actually came up with was the DoD Office of Hearings and Appeals Rulings on the subject that covered the subject, which did NOT support what they said/wanted done. Me: "Did you guys even read this shit"?

My GF came to the US in 1984 and enlisted in the Air Guard in 1990 as a German citizen with legal US residency. She never took out US citizenship. She served from 1990-92, then returned to Germany. She is now going through the process of obtaining citizenship by virtue of her "service during a period of declared conflict", as is authorized by a Presidential Executive Order signed by Clinton in 1994. After she swears in, Germany will no longer consider her to be a German citizen. So, in this case, it is the German govt. who are having a problem with it. Most countries, if you are born there or if their laws consider you to be a citizen by virtue of your parents birth there, will ALWAYS consider you to be a citizen. Germany is the only exception to this that I know of, although they will waive this and allow you to keep it if you can show that you have a large inheritance coming or something, of course they want their cut.....

Now, you might not get a clearance on active duty while holding 2 passports, I'm sure someone here can weigh in on that, but I can tell you that DoD contractor's CAN hold dual citizenship if it was obtained by birth there, or by a parent's birth there, as long as the citizenship is not exercised in various ways (voting, social benefits, owning property there, foreign bank account to name a few) and if you hold a foreign passport, it must be surrendered.

I find it hard to believe that the US would require anyone to do this when they are busy enlisting anyone with a green card. They might WANT you to do it, but whether they can legally require it may be another matter.

Back in the 70's a few of the Vietnam era guys were serving in Rhodesia and the Carter State Dept. was making threats about stripping them of their US citizenship, until one of the guys lawyers threatened to sue them for not doing anything about all the American born Jews who went to Israel when they were 18, enlisted in the IDF, and then returned 3 years later with an Israeli passport.......The State Dept. then STFU.....
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Last edited by bobofthedesert; 28 April 2009 at 07:54. Reason: spelling
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Old 28 April 2009, 11:10
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iraqgunz iraqgunz is offline
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I think I also need to call BS on this. I lived in Germany for 8 years. My 2nd ex-wifes best friend was a dual citizen (U.S/ German) and her brother was in the U.S Army in Kirch-Goens the same time I was in 3rd Armored in Friedberg. He never had to renounce his citizenship and when he ETS'd he stayed in Germany and went to work. Part of his rationale was by joining the U.S Army he wouldn't have to do his mandatory service in the Bundeswehr.
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Old 28 April 2009, 16:27
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rotorik rotorik is offline
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Bobofthedesert, you are right. The whole deal revolves around the security clearance issue. His MOS, 25U, according to the recruiter, requires a SECRET security clearance.

AR 601-210 (http://docs.usapa.belvoir.army.mil/j.../head.asp)para 2-4e:
Applicants enlisting into the RA/USAR/ARNG holding dual citizenship with the United States and another country may enlist; however, they may not be enlisted into an MOS that requires a security clearance.

That and a myriad of other regs (i.e. ARNG Enlistment Criteria Manual FY07 para 2-4a(9)) also back this up. So the question is not IF, it's HOW.

Thanks for the discussion guys. I STILL need to figure out this Signature Certification thing. If anyone can offer some helpful input, I would appreciate it.
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Old 28 April 2009, 17:23
Chowdah Chowdah is offline
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Try the German consulate

They are probably better informed on this than anyone else. I found that out recently in dealing with my newly acquired (even though not requested) Canadian citizenship.

Good luck.
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Old 28 April 2009, 18:22
poison poison is offline
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i don't know much on this subject, but it sounds odd. i am one of those americans who served in the idf and obtained citizenship. i am back here now, and recently obtained a security clearance for a job i recently applied for. not the same situation at all, of course, but similar. my understanding is that a simple 'secret' clearance is not that big a deal, and shouldn't require renouncing shit.

eh, i am curious about this.
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Old 29 April 2009, 03:12
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sf-doc sf-doc is offline
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You do not even have to be a US citizen to join the military. There are loads of people in the Army that are foreigners and have been fast tracked to get US citizenship. Also I held a DoD TS clearance and I am still a dual citizen (Ireland & US). When I retired from the Army I needed a DoS clearance (Secret) and I obtained that without difficulty. I am still a dual citizen.

Last edited by sf-doc; 29 April 2009 at 03:17.
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Old 1 May 2009, 09:46
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Rock1503 Rock1503 is offline
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For a Secret security clearance the issue is more with the passport, than with the letter renouncing citizenship. As with all passports, then want you to turn it in to an appropriate location (embassy, consulate, or in country) and get a receipt. The concern is less towards one's possible higher feelings of obligation to another sovereign nation than with the ability to disappear off the net, and travel to that or any country under a foreign passport (the questioning asks specifically if you have the passport and are willing to give up the other citizenship). Also, even if you've renounced citizenship, the other country does not have to accept that and may continue to consider you a citizen.
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