German Citizenship - Marriage

German citizenship can be acquired or lost through marriage. These rules have changed over time and are affected by a number of factors.

Acquisition of German citizenship:

  • Prior to April 1953: A foreign woman acquired the German citizenship through marriage to a German citizen husband.
  • April 1953 until 1969: A foreign woman, who married a German Citizen husband, had a right to acquire German citizenship. If the marriage occurred between 24 August 1957 and 1969 the foreign woman could acquire the German citizenship through a declaration.
  • Since 1970: The husband or wife of a German citizen could be naturalised by residence in Germany for a period of 3 years.

Loss of German citizenship:

  • Prior to 23 May 1949: a German woman lost her German Citizenship through marriage to a foreigner, even if she would otherwise be stateless.
  • 23 May 1949 to March 1953: marriage to a foreign citizen only caused loss of German citizenship if the woman was not left stateless.

Since April 1954: marriage to a foreign citizen does not affect the nationality of the spouse. Where a party marries in a country other than the country of their personal law, then the marriage must be recognised by both countries. There are a number of factors that need to be respected, such as being of appropriate age and avoiding obstacles that would render this marriage invalid, such as being already married and being related to each other.

It is possible that the law of the foreign country automatically issues its nationality to the German spouse – the citizen in question will then be a dual citizen. If the German spouse decides to acquire the foreign nationality through a formal process, then they normally lose their German citizenship, unless the German authorities grant permission to retain German citizenship.


The German government is now taking at least three years to process citizenship applications to people outside Germany, so we feel unable to provide our clients with the service that we would want to.  So, for the time being, we are not providing services for German Citizenship.  We are monitoring the situation and may resume services should things change.  We hope that the information above was useful. If so, please let us know on one of our social media platforms, such as our Facebook page.


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