On August 30, 2019, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building, and Community issued two comprehensive decrees to create more generous options for acquiring citizenship under Section 14 of the Nationality Act for the benefit of descendants of the victims of National Socialism whose forebears lost their German citizenship amid the National Socialist persecution and were not entitled to have it restored under Art. 116 (2) of the Basic Law (Press Release of the Federal Ministry of the Interior).
Those who stand to benefit from the decrees include:
1. Children born in wedlock before April 1, 1953, to German mothers whose citizenship had been revoked and foreign fathers;
2. Children born out of wedlock before July 1, 1993, to German fathers whose citizenship had been revoked and foreign mothers;
3. Children, irrespective of the date of birth, whose German parent acquired foreign citizenship prior to February 26, 1955, and lost their German citizenship amid the National Socialist persecution occurring between January 30, 1933, and May 8, 1945. This includes:
- A father or mother who had lost German citizenship amid National Socialist persecution by obtaining foreign citizenship (naturalization) before February 26, 1955
- A mother who had lost German citizenship before April 1, 1953 (Section 17, No. 7 of the former Imperial and State Nationality Law) through marriage to a foreign or stateless man
This path to citizenship is also open to descendants of these children up to a generational cut-off date pursuant to Section 4 (4) of the Nationality Act.
Please observe this cut-off date. Accordingly, the first generation born abroad after December 31, 1999, will be the last to be able to acquire citizenship more easily. Their minor children who are born before the transitional deadline on December 31, 2020, can acquire citizenship along with their parents if the application for citizenship is filed before January 1, 2021.
For this group of people, easier requirements for citizenship apply. Only basic German language skills and basic knowledge of the legal and social order and the prevailing living standards in Germany are necessary.
If you have any questions, please contact the German foreign mission responsible for your district.
New: Eligibility expanded to children born in wedlock to German mothers and foreign fathers before May 24, 1949.
The ministerial decree of August 30, 2019, expands the group of persons eligible for citizenship to include the children born in wedlock to German mothers and foreign fathers before the Basic Law entered into force on May 24, 1949, and the children born out of wedlock to German fathers and foreign mothers who did not acquire German citizenship owing to the citizenship law prevailing at the time of their birth as well as their descendants. The required language ability was lowered to level B1 GER. Please bear in mind that this path to citizenship is available only until the generational cut-off date under Section 4 (4) of the Nationality Act. This means that the first generation born abroad after December 31, 1999, will be the last to be able to take advantage of this option to acquire citizenship.