Anna-Maria Hartner, junior, earns United States Citizenship


Anna-Maria Hartner, junior, received United States Citizenship on Sept. 22, 2014 after waiting nearly 13 years. Hartner is excited about what her future in the U.S will hold.

Nearly 13 years after leaving Germany, her family and her friends, Anna-Maria Hartner, junior, has become a United States Citizen.

While in her Advanced Placement French class at 2:45 p.m on Sept. 22, Hartner noticed an unread text from her mother. She wondered why her mother would be texting her during the school day and reluctantly opened the text; never did she imagine the announcement: they were now U.S. citizens.

The Hartners left Germany in 2001 when René Hartner, her father, found a better job opportunity as a semi-conductor. Since then they have feared being deported without having a U.S citizenship.

“When I got the text I started crying,” Hartner said. “It was overwhelming and such an emotional experience. We were finally free.”

It was not an easy task for Hartner to become a citizen. When the Hartner’s family first moved to the U.S. her father held a work visa, and after a few years they have applied for and received a green card. The green card guaranteed that the Hartners had a residence in the United States, but there is a five year waiting period until one can apply to be a citizen, “However,” according to Hartner, they “waited longer than five years because we weren’t sure that we were going to stay in the United States.”

The Hartners wanted dual citizenship, so the first step was to petition the German government for permission.

“After we got permission, we went to the German embassy to fill out paperwork and get the necessary documents to send to the Department of Homeland Security,” Hartner said.

Due to differing laws which govern citizenship in Germany and the U.S., Harther feared deportation.

“Fortunately, we got permission for a renewal of our green card and were able to apply for U.S.citizenship,” Hartner said. Then after more paperwork and exams, Hartner and her mother became citizens.

“I love that the U.S. represents freedom and opportunity,” Hartner said. “I love that our family was able to build a wonderful life here through hard work.”

Hartner misses her extended German family most. “The toughest thing about living in the U.S. is living an ocean away and only being able to see my family once every two years.”

Hartner will be continuing her journey in the United States and believes that “too many people take [freedom] for granted. Knowing that you have complete and absolute freedom is the most incredible feeling in the world.” She also loves being in the U.S. because it “gives you high hopes and big dreams, it gives you something to aim for.”