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Restored Citizenship

Article

Former German citizens who were deprived of their citizenship or acquired a foreign citizenship on political, racial or religious grounds between 1933 and 1945 can be re-naturalised. The same goes for their descendants.

Article 116 II Basic Law

“Former German citizens who between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945 were deprived of their citizenship on political, racial or religious grounds, and their descendants, shall on application have their citizenship restored. They shall be deemed never to have been deprived of their citizenship if they have established their domicile in Germany after 8 May 1945 and have not expressed a contrary intention.”

The above-mentioned group includes primarily German Jews and members of the Communist or Social Democratic Parties.

The Situation between 1933 and 1945

Two regulations resulted in a depravation of citizenship between 30.01.1933 and 08.05.1945:

  1. According to the “Law on the Revocation of Naturalisations and the Deprivation of the German Citizenship” of 14.07.1933, individual Germans were deprived of their citizenship by finding their names listed in the “Reichsgesetzblatt” (Reich Law Gazette).
  2. The larger group of Germans were deprived of their citizenship with the “Eleventh Decree to the Law on the Citizenship of the Reich” of 25.11.1941, which stipulated that Jews staying outside of Germany at the time could not be German citizens - by this regulation, all Jewish German citizens who had fled from Germany before in the years earlier were affected.

Re-Naturalisation under Art. 116 II Basic Law

Upon the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949, it was stipulated in the “Grundgesetz” (Basic Law) that persons affected as well as their descendants may have their citizenship restored by application.

The requirement for naturalisation is that citizenship was indeed taken from them according to the above listed politically and racially motivated measures. By contrast, a person who had emigrated and acquired a foreign citizenship earlier had already lost German citizenship according to Section 25 of the former Nationality Law. For these cases, please see below.


Applying for Re-Naturalisation under Art. 116 Basic Law

  • The application is free of charge
  • Required documents: The number of documents required depends on whether you yourself experienced emigration and the deprivation of your citizenship, or whether you are a descendant.
    Please read this information sheet provided by the citizenship authority where you will find information on the process, the required documents and assistance in filling out the forms.
  • Application form:
    You are not obligated to use a special application form, however, we provide and recommend using these applications forms as they indicate what information is needed to facilitate and thus expedite processing of your application in Germany.
  • Please contact your German Mission to make an appointment for launching your application.

Your application will be forwarded to the Bundesverwaltungsamt for processing.

Information concerning data protection with regard to the processing of your application can be found here.

NEW: Persons not meeting the criteria of Art. 116 II Basic Law

Germans who fled National Socialist persecution and acquired a foreign citizenship before they could be deprived of the German citizenship, do not meet the criteria of Art. 116 II Basic Law. For their descendants, the option to be re-naturalised under the applicable Nationality Laws originally ended on 31.12.1970.

These persons and their descendants can now benefit from new ministerial decrees and be naturalised more easily.

Acquisition of German citizenship by naturalisation

Who can be naturalised under the above decrees?

  1. 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 under Section 17, number 6, of the former German Nationality Law Imperial and State Nationality Law (RuStAG a.F.) prior to 1 April 1953 by marrying a foreign man.
  2. Children born in wedlock before 1 April 1953 to foreign fathers and German mothers whose German citizenship had been revoked.
  3. Children born out of wedlock before 1 July 1993 to German fathers whose citizenship had been revoked and foreign mothers, provided the paternity of those children was recognized or determined under German law prior to their reaching the age of 23.

1.-3. also applies for their descendants up to the generational cut-off Point of 1 January 2000 in accordance with Section 4 (4) of the Nationality Act.

For detailed Information in German, please consult the Website of the Federal Office of Administration.

Application procedure

  • The application is free of charge

  • Required documents:
    Please read this information sheet provided by the Bundesverwaltungsamt where you will find information on the process, the required documents and assistance in filling out the forms.

  • Application forms

  • Please contact your German Mission to make an appointment for launching your application.

Your application will be forwarded to the Bundesverwaltungsamt for processing.

Information concerning data protection with regard to the processing of your application can be found here.



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