Loss of German Citizenship
Loss due to foreign citizenship
The most common cause of loss of German citizenship is the acquisition of a foreign nationality at one's own request. The automatic acquisition of a foreign nationality by birth usually has no impact on German citizenship. You can find detailed information on this in the leaflet of the Federal Administrative Office.
Since an amendment to the Citizenship Act which came into force on 28.08.2007, a German citizen no longer loses their German citizenship if they acquire the citizenship of an EU member state or Switzerland after that date. As a result, naturalization in Ireland after this date no longer has any effect on German citizenship.
However, if you were naturalized in Ireland before 28.08.2007 and were no longer resident or permanently resident in Germany at the time of your naturalization, German citizenship was regularly lost when you acquired Irish citizenship. From January 1, 2000 to August 27, 2007, citizenship was also lost regardless of whether the country of residence still exists in Germany.
The regulation also means that children who were born after the German parent had acquired Irish citizenship on application could no longer be granted German citizenship by parentage.
Leaflet of the Federal Administrative Office in Cologne (German only)
Loss through Legitimation
The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled on November 29, 2006 that the laws on the loss of German citizenship in the event of legitimacy by a foreigner are no longer applicable retrospectively from April 1, 1953. This means that illegitimate children of a German mother who were legitimized by a foreigner after March 31, 1953 have not lost their German citizenship.
Judgment of the Federal Administrative Court Leipzig on November 29, 2006 (German only)
Loss through marriage
German women who married a foreigner before May 23, 1949 lost their German citizenship even if statelessness occurred. Under certain circumstances, you can be naturalized again. For further information, please contact the embassy if necessary.
German women who married a foreigner between May 23, 1949 and March 31, 1953 only lost German citizenship if they did not become stateless as a result.
Since April 1st, 1953, marriage to a foreigner is no longer a reason for loss of citizenship.
Loss through Adoption
Since January 1st, 1977, German citizenship can also be lost through the adoption of a German child by foreign parents. This means that children who were adopted by foreign nationals before this date did not automatically lose German citizenship. For further information, please contact the Embassy using the contact form.
Loss due to entry into foreign armed Forces
In principle, voluntary entry into foreign armed forces without the prior consent of the Federal Ministry of Defense constitutes a reason for loss of German citizenship. With the Military Rights Amendment Act which came into effect on July 1, 2011, the procedure for certain countries was simplified.
Accordingly, consent is now deemed to have been granted to persons who are also citizens of
• Member States of the European Union (EU),
• Member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA),
• Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or
• Countries in the list of countries according to Section 41 Paragraph 1 of the Residence Ordinance (Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, United States of America)
and who join the armed forces of this country.
Loss due to renouncement of German citizenship
A German can renounce their German citizenship if they have multiple nationalities. The renouncement takes effect upon delivery of the certificate of renouncement.
Loss due to permanent residence abroad before 1914
Permanent residence abroad of more than 10 years without the person having been entered in the “consulate register” (= register of Germans living in the respective district) at a German consulate led to the loss of German citizenship until 1914. This reason for loss is of crucial importance to you if your ancestor, from whom you would like to derive German citizenship, emigrated before 1904. If this is the case, the ancestor automatically lost German citizenship after 10 years abroad and could therefore no longer pass it on to the next Generation.
Other reasons for loss
Special provisions apply to those persecuted by the Nazi regime, from whom German citizenship was withdrawn between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945 for political, racial or religious reasons. These persons and their descendants may have the right to naturalization under Article 116 II GG.