Former German citizens, who lost their German citizenship under the Nazi-regime due to political, racist or religious reasons and who reside abroad, can apply for Naturalization. The same applies to their children, if they would have become Germans had their parent(s) not lost their German citizenship.
Special rules on renaturalisation will apply for victims of persecution by the Nazi regime who were deprived of their German nationality on political, racial or religious grounds between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945. Within the framework of reparations, these persons and their descendants are entitled to be naturalised under .
Detailed information on this topic can be found on the website of the Bundesverwaltungsamt here.
Citizenship Deprivation between 1933 and 1945
Between January 30, 1933, and May 8, 1945, there were essentially two laws that deprived Germans of their citizenship. Under the “Law on the Revocation of Naturalizations and the Deprivation of the German Citizenship” of July 14, 1933, some Germans lost their citizenship after their names were listed and published in the Reich Law Gazette (“Reichsgesetzblatt”).
The vast majority of former German citizens, however, lost their citizenship when the “Eleventh Decree to the Law on the Citizenship of the Reich” came into effect on November 25, 1941. This law stated that Jews living outside Germany could not be German citizens, and mainly affected Jews who had left Germany in the years before or shortly after the beginning of the Second World War.
If your German parent lost his/ her German nationality due to other grounds because of the persecution and had lost her German citizenship due to marriage to a foreign husband before 1.4.1953, there is a possibility for naturalization based on sec. 15 of the German Citizenship Act.
Federal Constitutional Court of 20 May 2020 has made it possible for more people to claim citizenship under Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law.
With immediate effect, the term “descendants” within the meaning of Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law also includes
- children born in wedlock prior to 1 April 1953 to mothers who were forcibly deprived of their German nationality and foreign fathers
- and children born out of wedlock prior to 1 July 1993 to fathers who were forcibly deprived of their German nationality and foreign mothers.
Persons affected by this ruling, whose applications for naturalisation under Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law have previously been rejected in line with the existing case-law, may submit a new application; no special form is required. The Embassy/Consulate General will be happy to help.
How to proceed:
Please fill out the application forms (please see bottom of page):
- form “A” for adults and/or “AK” for children under 16 years of age
- only if applicable: form “VA” (Annex “Ancestors”)
Gather all relevant documents. (see below)
Sending your application and documents by mail:
Your application will be forwarded to the Federal Office of Administration (Bundesverwaltungsamt) in Cologne, Germany for processing.
- valid passport of the applicant
- birth certificate of the applicant
- birth certificates of the applicant's parents
- marriage certificate of the applicant's parents
- former German passports and other documents of the applicant, applicant's parents and grandparents, that prove their former German citizenship
- naturalization certificates of the applicant, applicant's parents and grandparents
- all other documents that prove former German citizenship and Jewish faith
- if other Family members have already applied for/been granted German citizenship: naturalization certificate (“Einbürgerungsurkunde”, if available), otherwise name, date of birth, file number and where/when they have applied
Please note that some foreign documents such as
need to be translated into German by a certified translator. The Bundesverwaltungsamt (BVA) reserves the right to ask for further translations if necessary.
- The application process is free of charge and may take up to 2 years to process, depending on the ability of the German Federal Office of Administration to find the necessary documents in archives in Germany.
The more information you provide, the easier it will be to track down the required information. If you have family members who have already gone through the application process, please provide information on their applications or send in a copy of their German certificates of naturalization (“Einbürgerungsurkunde”).
Please mention any name changes due to naturalization. Also, please provide information on any transcriptions of German names into foreign languages (e.g. Müller to Mueller/Muller/Miller or Grünspan to Greenspan), any abbreviations of first names (e.g. Alfred to Fred or Johann to John), or even complete changes of first and last names.
More Information can be found on the website of the Federal Administration Office (Bundesverwaltungsamt) at Naturalization.
Application form “A” for regaining German citizenship for former Germans deprived of their citizenship - for persons aged 16 years or over
Application form “AK” for regaining German citizenship for former Germans deprived of their citizenship - for persons under 16 years