FAQ: NATURALIZATION (Section 14 of the German Citizenship Act)
FAQ: NATURALIZATION (Section 14 of the German Citizenship Act)
These questions and answers (FAQ) provide general information only. They describe some but not all options for naturalization according to Section 14 of the German Citizenship Act (StAG).
1. What does § 14 StAG regulate?
In general, §14 StAG is a simplified naturalization procedure for applicants who have never held German citizenship. Most often, those are children, who were born prior to 1975 to German mothers and non-German fathers but did not acquire German citizenship automatically. §14 StAG also applies to applicants and their children up to a generational cut-off date (see question 5), whose ancestors lost their German citizenship in connection with Nazi persecution measures, but who do not have a claim for German citizenship under Art. 116 Para. 2 of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz “GG”). Under certain circumstances these applicants may apply for discretionary naturalization pursuant to Section 14 StAG
2. What is the difference between §14 StAG and Art. 116 Abs. 2 GG?
If you meet the requirements for Article 116 Para 2 of the Basic Law, you must be naturalized. Art. 116 Para. 2 GG provides a “claim”. On the other hand, naturalization in accordance with §14 StAG may be granted. Hence it is a discretionary naturalization. It should be noted however that the two decrees from 2019 (see question 4) regulated the requirements in such detail that one can speak of an almost “equivalent claim”.
3. I was born before January 1, 1975 to a German mother and a non-German father who were married at the time I was born. Can I get naturalized?
Yes, provided you meet all the requirements. This is a common case in our legal practice. Children born before January 1, 1975 with a German mother and a non-German father did not become German automatically by birth. Between 1975 and 1977, a declaration could be made for these children with which German citizenship was acquired. In most cases, however, this did not happen. §14 StAG therefore gives these children the opportunity to naturalize.
4. Who else might be eligible to naturalize according to §14 StAG?
Other groups may be eligible to apply for naturalization according to §14 StAG. For example, two regulations dated September 30, 2019 have created further and rather broad naturalization options:
- Descendants of victims of Nazi persecution, though not directly entitled to Art. 116 Para. 2 GG, may apply for German citizenship.
- Even in the absence of persecution, children of German citizens who have not automatically acquired German citizenship due to the previous regulations on descents are also included. This is because these parentage rules were held unconstitutional.
- Children whose German mother or father assumed a foreign citizenship in connection with Nazi persecution measures and thereby lost their German citizenship are also included. The same applies to children whose mothers who emigrated because of persecution, and then lost their German citizenship by marrying a foreign man. This type of loss applies only to marriages before April 1, 1953.
The descendants of the above listed groups are also entitled to naturalization up until the generational cut-off date according to § 4 StAG.
These are only examples of naturalization scenarios according to §14 StAG. The press release of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community, dated August 30, 2019 specifically states that: “In comparable cases that are not addressed in the decrees, individual decisions are possible”. Hence, the regulations are very complex and require a profound understanding of German citizenship law. We therefore recommend that you schedule an initial consultation to evaluate your specific case.
5. What is the "generational cut-off” date?
The generational cut-off date is regulated in Section 4 of the StAG and states that the first generation born abroad (outside Germany) after December 31, 1999 has the last opportunity to apply for a simplified naturalization.
6. I was born before April 1, 1953. My parents were married at that time, my mother’s German citizenship was revoked, and my father wasn’t German. Does §14 StAG apply?
No, discretionary naturalization according to §14 StAG is no longer applicable. However , a claim to naturalization according to Article 116 Para. 2 GG exists. The Federal Constitutional Court decided this on May 20, 2020. The eligibility criteria have been extended and now include children born before April 1, 1952 to mothers whose citizenship were revoked and foreign fathers. §14 StAG is not applicable anymore in such cases. This also includes their children up to the generational cut-off according to § 4 StAG.
7. I was born out of wedlock before July 1, 1993. My father’s citizenship was revoked, and my mother was a non-German. Does §14 StAG apply?
No, discretionary naturalization according to §14 StAG is no longer applicable. However, a claim to naturalization according to Article 116 Para. 2 GG exists. The Federal Constitutional Court decided this on May 20, 2020. The beneficiaries under Art. 116 GG have been extended. Children born out of wedlock before 1 July 1993 from expatriated fathers and non-German mothers now have a claim for naturalization according to Art. 116 Para. 2 GG. This also includes their children up to the generational cut-off according to § 4 StAG.
8. I applied for a Passport at a German consulate based on the citizenship regulations but was rejected. What can I do?
There could be many reasons approval of a Passport application is rejected or delayed, including, but not limited to, lack of documentation, intervening loss of citizenship or ineligibility. Please contact our office immediately so we may discuss your specific case.
9. I have obtained German citizenship through under 14 StAG (or Art. 116) but do not wish to reside in Germany. Is there anything I need to do to keep my citizenship?
You can keep your German citizenship even if you do not move to Germany. As long as not loss occurs (link to loss), you may keep your German citizenship. Also, if you obtained German citizenship while residing abroad (out of Germany) you may also keep you U.S. citizenship for example.
10. Why is German citizenship law so complicated?
German citizenship law is rather complex. German citizenship law was first uniformly regulated in 1914. Thereafter, historically and politically, it was then constantly changed and adapted. In order to understand the current legal situation, knowledge of the previous law and administrative practice is necessary. We have decades of experience in German citizenship law and are therefore well versed in this area. , In order to better understand your eligibility and options to obtain German citizenship, we arrange an initial consultation to evaluate your case.
These FAQs reflect questions that have frequently arisen in our practice. Each case is different, and the FAQs do not replace legal advice.