FAQ: HOW DO YOU LOSE GERMAN CITIZENSHIP?
1. I have applied for another citizenship. Am I still a German citizen?
It depends on which citizenship you applied for. Basically, applying for another citizenship and then naturalizing to become a citizen of another country does result in the loss of German citizenship. This can only be prevented if a retention permit has been issued before the naturalization was finalized. The legal basis for this is Section 25 Paragraph 2 Citizenship Act. Since 2007, the legal situation has changed with regard to Germans who want to be naturalized in an EU country or in Switzerland: in these cases, no retention permit is required. However, if, for example, you apply for naturalization through an application to the USA, Canada, New Zealand or Australia without a permit, the German citizenship is lost. If you are interested in obtaining such certificate, please refer to our webpages : Beibehaltungsgenehmigung.de and www.vongeyso.com for additional information.
2. I automatically became American as a child because my parents became US citizens by application while I was a minor. Have I lost my German citizenship?
No, the loss of German citizenship only occurs if you have submitted your own application. In the event of automatic acquisition, for example by the Child Citizenship Act 2000 in the USA, German citizenship is not lost.
3. Loss due to persecution by the Nazi regime
Special regulations apply that we treat separately on this website. See “Restoration of Citizenship According to Article 116 par. 2 of the Basic Law” or the new Section 15 StAG.
4. Can you lose German citizenship by joining a foreign armed force?
Voluntary entry into the foreign armed forces or comparable armed associations of a foreign state, of which the applicant is also a national, has basically been a reason for loss since January 1, 2000. However, this is only the case if entry occurs without the prior consent of the German Federal Ministry of the Defense. As of July 6, 2011, the procedure has been simplified and approval is deemed to have been granted to Germans who are citizens of EU or NATO member states. Please note that there are a few other countries added, that are not listed here.
5. Are there other reasons for loss of German citizenship?
Yes, German citizenship can be lost through waiver, discharge and, since January 1, 1977, through adoption by foreign parents.
These FAQs reflect questions that have frequently arisen in our practice. Each case is different, and the FAQs do not replace legal advice.
ELLEN VON GEYSO, P.A.
Ellen von Geyso, J.D., LL.M.
Attorney at law - Rechtsanwältin
Admitted in Florida and Germany
1395 Brickell Ave., Suite 900
Miami, Florida 33131, USA
Fax +1 (305) 200-8801