Brooks and Partners Law Firm

Citizenship Lawyers

German citizenship by descent allows those with German ancestry to claim citizenship. As German citizenship involves acquiring European Union citizenship, there are many benefits involved in such a decision. By working closely with our lawyers, you will discover whether you are legally eligible for German citizenship.

Our team has designed an online eligibility check for German citizenship by descent to help those who may be able to acquire citizenship. By using the Eligibility Check, you can determine whether you can apply for German citizenship and, from there, consult with our professionals and allow them to oversee your application.

Being potentially eligible for citizenship is not the same as gaining citizenship. The citizenship process is complex and often involves locating documents and ensuring that they are authentic, dealing with German bureaucracy and drafting an application that exactly fulfils the requirements involved. It can be a drawn-out and frustrating procedure, particularly if you are not fluent in German.

Our lawyers are vastly experienced in German citizenship applications and have supported clients worldwide in such applications. Let them manage your application, and be reassured that you are in safe and competent hands.

German citizenship can be gained by birth and by marriage according to German Nationality Act (Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz -StAG).

German citizenship by birth is provided for under § 4 StAG and although it can appear to be straightforward (“A child acquires German citizenship by birth if one parent possesses German citizenship…”), it can be a complicated process for those living outside of Germany. There are many benefits that come from holding German citizenship but it may result in the child needing to choose between German citizenship and the citizenship of their country of birth. The advantages of German citizenship may not be useful to the individual in their particular case, and therefore, they should consult with experts before making significant decisions. Navigating dual citizenship law is rarely straightforward, as those involved need to consider the laws of Germany and the other country involved. Our German citizenship lawyers will answer all questions on this matter.

German citizenship for spouses is provided for under § 9 StAG. Under this provision, spouses or registered civil partners of German citizens are eligible for German citizenship after three years of legal residence in Germany. To apply for this form of German citizenship by residence, the spouse must have been married or in a registered partnership for at least two years at the time of application. It should be noted that requirements from here are similar to German citizenship by residency.

For those who have made Germany their home, becoming a German citizen by residency through the naturalization process is an option available to them. German citizenship means they can vote in all German elections, enjoy the benefits of European Union citizenship, and have their future in Germany fully secured. Our lawyers oversee German citizenship by residency applications, and expert legal guidance ensures that the process is accelerated where possible.

German citizenship by residency is available under § 10 StAG, which outlines the following conditions:

A person can apply if they:

  • Have an unlimited right of residence in Germany,
  • Have been lawfully and habitually resident in the country for eight years,
    Can earn a living for himself and his family without recourse to social assistance or unemployment benefit,
  • Have sufficient knowledge of German: for adults, language level B1 is required; for those under 16 years of age, language development appropriate to their age,
  • Have not been convicted of any criminal offence,
  • Renounce or lose their previous citizenship (this condition can vary based on the applicant’s current citizenship and other factors),
  • They are committed to the German Constitution and do not support any anti-constitutional efforts or credibly distance themselves from previous support,
  • Have passed the naturalization test on the German legal and social order.

Once the applicant has these factors in their favour and is looking to get German citizenship by residency, they must apply for it by correctly filling out the necessary paperwork. Please contact our lawyers directly if you experience any difficulties or require further advice, assistance or support in this application.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our lawyers support clients in cases concerning those whose ancestors’ citizenship was removed based on political, racial or religious grounds between the years 1933 and 1945 (§ 116 German Constitution):

§ 116 (1) Unless otherwise provided by a law, a German within the meaning of this Basic Law is a person who possesses German citizenship or who has been admitted to the territory of the German Reich within the boundaries of 31 December 1937 as a refugee or expellee of German ethnic origin or as the spouse or descendant of such person.

During the years of rule of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi Party), countless individuals lost their rights to German citizenship. Modern-day German law provides avenues for the victims of these crimes to regain the German citizenship that their ancestors lost.

Developments in the area of German citizenship for descendants of the victims has lead to an increase in the number of groups who can apply for citizenship. They include the following people:

  • children born in wedlock prior to 1 April 1953 to German mothers (whose citizenship had been revoked) and non-German fathers,
  • children born out of wedlock before 1 July 1993 to German fathers (whose citizenship had been revoked) and non-German mothers, provided the paternity of those children was recognized or determined under German law prior to their reaching the age of 23,
  • children whose German parent had acquired foreign citizenship and lost their German citizenship amid National Socialist persecution, including children whose mothers emigrated as a result of persecution and lost their citizenship prior to 1 April 1953 by marrying a foreign man.

Furthermore, the hurdles normally needed for gaining citizenship are no longer in place to benefit. In other words, those applying do not need to prove that they have the financial means to support themselves. As well as this they only need to show basic German language abilities and knowledge of the German legal system and social order.

By working with our legal team, they will carefully examine your family’s history and your documentation, and then advise you whether you can make the application.

German dual citizenship is a complex issue as the laws in Germany and those of the other countries must be followed. Many countries allow for dual citizenship, and in these situations, the case needs to be assessed from the lens of German law.

Germany does not generally allow for dual citizenship, except for in the situation of it being with another EU country and Switzerland. However, exceptions can be found where the applicant has gained a Retention Permit (“Beibehaltungsgenehmigung“) and in certain situations based on the applicant’s family situation. However, some countries expressly do not allow for dual citizenship. These countries may require their citizen to give up their citizenship if they apply for another country’s citizenship.

Other countries do not allow their citizens to renounce that citizenship, making applying for German citizenship by residency more difficult.

From applications for the Retention Permit and overseeing applications for German citizenship to answering all questions on the topic of dual citizenship, our German citizenship lawyers are ready to advise you. The decision as to whether dual citizenship applies in your situation will depend on its facts. Consulting with expert lawyers is the best action that can be taken. The consultation should take place before applying for citizenship as, for example, the Retention Permit needs to be obtained by the applicant before seeking citizenship of another country.

Similarly, knowing if your country of origin allows for dual citizenship is vital before seeking German citizenship by descent or by naturalization.

Under § 17 StAG, German citizens can also lose their citizenship.

Such a loss can arise in situations where the German citizen has gained the citizenship of another country without applying for the Retention permit (“Beibehaltungsgenehmigung”), where they have joined the armed forces of another country or by adoption by a foreign citizen. In disputed cases concerning the loss of citizenship, it is advisable to contact experts on German citizenship law. Our German citizenship lawyers are here to help.

The German authorities decide on Retention Permit applications by weighing up the public and private interests (§ 25 (2) p. 3 StAG) of the application. This decision is at the discretion of the German Federal Administrative Office. If public or private interests can justify gaining the Retention Permit and no overriding concerns stand in the way of it, the permit will likely be granted. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our lawyers can guide you through this process, and ensure that you are aware of what the authorities consider to be important.

German law also allows German citizens to renounce their citizenship. Such a step may be required in cases where another state does not allow for dual citizenship when a person applies for their citizenship.

To renounce your German citizenship you need to hold dual or multiple citizenships. Germany does not allow for voluntary renunciation of citizenship if it would leave the person without a recognised nationality. Renunciation of German citizenship is provided for under § 26 (1) StAG (Nationality Act), and it states:

(1) A German may renounce his or her citizenship if he or she possesses multiple citizenships. Such a renunciation must be declared in writing.

Applicants seeking to renounce their citizenship need to present their documents and file an application through the German Embassy or the responsible Consulate General. It is only following their assessment and approval that German citizenship can then be renounced, as shown by § 26 (3) StAG:

(3) The loss of citizenship takes effect upon delivery of the certificate of renunciation issued by the approving authority.

By working with our citizenship law experts, you can be assured that you will receive responsible and competent advice in all matters relating to retaining or renouncing German citizenship.

There are many benefits to be gained from getting German citizenship. German citizenship opens Germany and the wider European Union to its holder.

German citizens have the right to European Union Freedom of Movement, which means their citizens have easier access to other EU countries for work, study, retirement and other purposes. Moreover, German citizenship greatly benefits entrepreneurs and investors looking to benefit from the lucrative European market.

Another benefit of German citizenship is that it provides easier access to over 180 countries worldwide with either visa-free or visa-on-arrival access. Holding a German passport is enormously beneficial for those who must regularly move across borders.

Our team of German citizenship lawyers also advise on matters relating to retirement in Germany and how to plan for such an event. German citizenship ensures ease of retirement in Germany and elsewhere in the European Union, whether in France, Spain, Italy or elsewhere.