Naturalisation Policies Updated

In September and October 2019 the German Interior Ministry released a new policy and updates to two previous policies regarding changes in German naturalisation requirements. These developments have lowered the naturalisation requirements for people of German descent in three specific groups, which previously experienced difficulties applying for German citizenship. It is also important to mention that these three new improvements only apply to descendants residing outside of Germany.

Policy 1: Naturalisation for descendants persecuted by the Nazi regime

Since 1949, Article 116 of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz) has facilitated for descendants of persecuted German citizens to restore their German citizenship. In order to have a constitutional claim to restoration, German citizenship must have revoked between the 30th January 1933 and the 8th May 1945 for political, racial or religious reasons. Further, the ancestors are not considered to be expatriated if they resettled in Germany after 8th May 1945. Additionally, German court decisions in the early 1980s greatly constrained the meaning of ‘descendant’ within the usage of this provision, creating complications for applicants.

This new policy focuses on the descendants of those persecuted by the Nazi regime who do not meet the requirements of Article 116(2) of the Basic Law. Whilst the policy does not change the constitution, it lowers the requirements for applicants in the below categories to naturalise as German citizens.

  1. For children born in wedlock to a German mother and foreign father before 1st April 1953 who were previously excluded from acquisition of German citizenship;
  2. For children born out of wedlock to a German father and foreign mother before 1st July 1993 who were previously excluded from acquiring German citizenship through descent;
  3. For children of those who were not deprived of German citizenship between the dates specified in the German constitution, however lost citizenship through other Nazi provisions:
  4. Mother or father acquired another citizenship through naturalisation between the 30th January 1993 to the 25th February 1955;
  5. Mother lost her German citizenship through marriage to a foreigner or stateless individual in the wider context of persecution.

This form of naturalisation entails lower requirements:

  1. Basic German language skills and knowledge of the political and legal culture of Germany;
  2. No criminal record;
  3. Fulfilment of the civil requirement (for applicants aged over 16-years old).

This naturalisation route is available for descendants until the inter-generational cut-off according to section 4(4) of the Nationality Law/StAG. This states that German citizenship will not be acquired by a child born abroad where their parents were born abroad after the 31st December 1999 and ordinarily reside outside of Germany. The only exception is if the child would otherwise be stateless.

Policy 2: Naturalisation for children (and their descendants) born in wedlock to a German mother and foreign father before 1975

This updated policy change encompasses situations where the German mother on the date of her child’s birth either possessed German citizenship, or was not a German citizen due to contextual laws that marriage to a foreigner meant the loss of her German citizenship. This naturalisation option is further available to the descendants of these children up to the generational cut of 1st January 2000 pursuant to section 4(4) of the Nationality Law/StAG. It is also important to note that this policy change applies to descendants living abroad.

The new requirements include, inter alia:

  1. Proof of financial self-sufficiency;
  2. Connections to Germany;
  3. B1 German language skills;
  4. No criminal record;
  5. Fulfilment of the civil requirement (for applicants aged over 16-years old).

Policy 3: Naturalisation for children (and their descendants) not born in wedlock to a German father and foreign mother before 1993

This policy covers situations where a descendant was born out of wedlock to a German father who possessed German citizenship on the day of the child’s birth and recognised paternity before the child’s 23rd birthday pursuant to German laws. Similarly to Policy 2 (discussed above) this naturalisation option is available to descendants of these children born before 2000 and only applies to descendants residing outside of Germany.

The requirements for this route are exactly the same for Policy 2:

  1. Proof of financial self-sufficiency;
  2. Connections to Germany;
  3. B1 German language skills;
  4. No criminal record;
  5. Fulfilment of the civil requirement (for applicants aged over 16-years old).

Is it required for applicants to renounce their current citizenship?

A naturalisation under all three of the new policies does not require the applicant to renounce their previous citizenship. The loss of the applicant’s current citizenship is solely dependent on the law of the country of which the applicant holds a nationality. Therefore, self-information or legal advice is recommended before undertaking such a naturalisation application.

Final comments

The explanatory notes released since September 2019 facilitate for previously disadvantaged groups of descendants to undertake a simplified route for naturalisation under section 14 of the German Nationality Law/StAG. The lowered requirements also expand the scope for potential applicants.

See our blog on the changes at https://passportia.org/blog/5229-german-citizenship-policy-changes.php

PASSPORTIA NO LONGER PROVIDES SERVICES FOR 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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