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 discretionary naturalization procedure for applicants who have never held German citizenship. Prior to a major law change on August 20th, 2021 it covered:

  • Children (and their descendant up to a generational cut-off date), who were born prior to 1975 to German mothers and non-German fathers but did not acquire German citizenship automatically; and
  • 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”).

14 StAG that previously addressed the above issues may now be seen as a “catch all” discretionary neutralization and is still in effect. However, its practical use is limited, because of the new §§ 5 or 15 StAG.

2. Who would be eligible for discretionary naturalization?

Whoever does not fall under the new §§ 5 or 15 StAG could technically still apply for discretionary naturalization. Other case scenarios would include persons who have very close ties to Germany and/or my German family members. However, the naturalization of a person who has their habitual residence abroad (meaning not in Germany) is an exception and is at the discretion of the Federal Office of Administration. The Federal Office of Administration will examine whether it would be advantageous for the Federal Republic of Germany to naturalize you as an exception despite your residence outside of Germany. There is no claim to become naturalized and the requirements are stringent.

3. What are the requirements?

There is no right or claim to naturalization according to §14 StAG. The requirements for naturalization of people who do not live in Germany are very high.

As a general rule, the following requirements must be met (subject to change in the discretion of the Federal Administrative office):

  • Presence of a public interest (advantageous for Germany);
  • Strong ties to Germany;
  • Ability to ensure your (and your family’s) livelihood in your current home country – without state aid. This also includes adequate insurance against illness, the need for care, occupational disability or disability and for old age;
  • Sufficient German language skills (B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages language certificate);
  • FBI clearance certificate;
  • Naturalization test (Civics test) might be required; and – usually –
  • Avoidance of multiple citizenship.
4. 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. There is an exception for their children, if an application for certification of the birth can still be filed. Contact us for a consultation.

5. 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.

6. 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.


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

Phone +1 (305) 967-9003
Fax +1 (305) 200-8801
E-Mail info@vongeyso.com
Website https://www.vongeyso.com