German Citizenship

A claim for recognition of German citizenship requires evidence that no loss of German nationality occurred to the person or to anyone in the line of descent to the first ancestor who left German territory. This typically requires a statement from the government of each country in which the person resided for an extended period.

There are a multitude of ways to lose German citizenship:

  • through acquisition of a foreign citizenship
  • until April 1953, if a German woman married a foreign citizen
  • by being absent from German territory for more than 10 years before 1914
  • serving in a foreign military or government without permission from the German government
  • since 1977, through adoption by a foreign citizen, if through the adoption the child acquires a foreign nationality
  • if the citizenship was stripped by law

Acquiring a foreign nationality does however not automatically mean loss of German citizenship. In order to maintain one’s status as German citizen, it is possible to retain the original citizenship and acquire a foreign one by applying for a grant by the German authorities, which will need to prove ties to Germany. The grant needs to be received before applying for the foreign nationality and has an expiry date of two years.

Since 28th August 2007, the naturalisation as a member of another EU state (or of Switzerland) does not imply loss of German citizenship – it will, however, need to be established whether the foreign country allows dual citizenship, as well.

Furthermore, the naturalisation of a child may be linked to particularities: often, parents would include their child in their own application for naturalisation in a foreign country. In these cases, it is possible that the child’s German citizenship has been lost, but this is a complex area.

There are exceptions to these rules, so do not hesitate to contact us for a free evaluation – recovery of lost German citizenship is possible in certain cases, which include people whose German nationality was stripped  from them during the Nazi regime of 1933 to 1945.


To discuss an assessment of your claim to German citizenship, call +1 (305) 770 6530 or complete the Contact Us form on the right