Welcome

German citizenship by naturalization

A woman in Frankfurt celebrates receiving her German citizenship

A woman in Frankfurt celebrates receiving her German citizenship, © dpa

01.03.2018 - Article

German citizenship can also be acquired by naturalization. However, naturalization of persons residing outside of Germany is only possible in exceptional cases.

Naturalization, i.e. applying for and being granted German citizenship, is usually meant for persons who currently live in German and have lived in Germany continuously for several years. Nat­u­ral­iza­tions of persons liv­ing abroad on the ba­sis of dis­cre­tion are rare and need to be of spe­cial in­ter­est to the Fed­er­al Re­pub­lic of Ger­many.

In general, those applying for naturalization must give up their foreign nationality. There are exceptions for nationals of EU member states and Switzerland as well as for those whose German citizenship is restored.

The following exceptions allow naturalization of persons living outside of Germany:

Former German citizens who between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945 were deprived of their citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds are entitled to (re-)Naturalisation. This also applies to their descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren) if those would have become German citizens if their ancestor had not been deprived of his or her German citizenship.


Persons born after 23.05.1949 and before 01.01.1975 as child of a German mother and a non-German father and whose parents were married at the time of birth, may apply for naturalization even while living outside of Germany. Prerequisits are among others very good German language skills as well as continuing close connections to Germany.

The application for naturalization is to be handed in with the Federal Office for Administration through the responsible German Mission. Charges apply.

Persons born after 23.05.1949 and before 01.07.1993 to a German father and a non-German mother and whose parents were not married are able to apply for naturalization from abroad if the paternity has been confirmed according to German law. Prerequisits are among others very good German language skills as well as continuing close connections to Germany.

The application for naturalization is to be handed in with the Federal Office for Administration through the responsible German Mission. Charges apply.

Former German citizens who lost their citizenship less then 12 years ago by applying for a non-German citizenship and are not in possession of a special permit to retain their German citizenship (Beibehaltungsgenehmigung) can apply for re-naturalization. Prerequisits are among others very good German language skills as well as continuing close connections to Germany.


The application for naturalization is to be handed in with the Federal Office for Administration through the responsible German Mission. Charges apply.

Persons, who lost their German citizenship by applying for citizenship of another EU Country or Switzerland, and who have their regular residence in the European Union or Switzerland can be re-naturalized. This also applies to minors who can re-naturalized together with a parent.


The application for re-naturalization is to be handed in with the Federal Office for Administration through the responsible German Mission. Charges apply.

 

Top of page