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Restoration of German citizenship (Article 116 II Basic Law)


For further information concerning the restoration of German citizenship (Article 116 II Basic Law) in English, please read this article.

Restoration of German citizenship (Article 116 II Basic Law)

Former German citizens who between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945 were deprived of their German citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds may have their citizenship restored. This generally also applies to their descendants.

What does it mean to be „deprived of German citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds?“

Anyone who either automatically lost his/her German citizenship under §2 of the 11th Decree Implementing the Reich Citizens Act of 25 November 1941 (this affected all German citizens of the Jewish faith who had their permanent residence abroad when the regulation entered into force on 27 November 1941 or later) or who was deprived of his/her German citizenship on an individual basis under the Act on Revocation of Naturalisations and Deprivation of German Citizenship of 14 July 1933 is deemed to have been deprived of his/her German citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds. Individual cases of deprivation of German citizenship were published in the Reich Law Gazette (Reichsgesetzblatt).

What happens if I have meanwhile acquired another citizenship by application?

Anyone who after being deprived of their German citizenship acquired a foreign citizenship by application is entitled to have their German citizenship restored. This also applies to their descendants.

Which descendants are entitled to claim restoration of German citizenship?

A descendant born to a parent who was deprived of German citizenship and before the parent's citizenship was restored also has a claim under Article 116 II of the Basic Law. This, however, applies only if the descendant would have acquired German citizenship by birth under the prevailing provisions of the Reich and Nationality Act (RuStAG) or the Nationality Act (StAG) if his/her parent had not been deprived of German citizenship.

Each descendant has an individual claim, subject to eligibility. It is thus possible for grandchildren to apply, even if their parents decide not to. Please note however, that children younger than 16 require parental consent. Please see no. 2 and 6 on the application form.

What documents are necessary?

Please provide us with a signed application form for naturalisation under Article 116 II of the German Basic Law. You can find the find the forms as well as an information sheet for download on the website of the Federal Office of Administration (please scroll down to bottom of the page for the english versions).

Children over 16 need to complete their own application

In addition to the application, you will need to provide evidence that the eligibility criteria are met. As every case is slightly different and may therefore require different documentation, there is no fixed list of documents to be submitted. The following documents are however, essential. For each you must provide one set of certified and one set of plain photocopies.  

  • Birth certificate (full unabridged version) and, if applicable, marriage certificate for each applicant
  • Birth and marriage certificate of your parent/grandparent who was deprived of German citizenship
  • Your parent’s/grandparent’s certificate of naturalisation in the UK or another country, if applicable
  • Old German passports (if still available) or other evidence of former German citizenship
  • If applicable, documents relating to compensation for persecution (including pensions)

All documents proving the link between the applicant and the parent/grandparent on whom the application is based

Any other documents you think may be relevant can be submitted as well.

If any member of your family has already applied for restoration of German citizenship or had their citizenship restored, please provide his/her name, date of birth, file number and the name of the diplomatic mission or authority that is handling/handled the case.

If several members of a family are applying on the basis of the same parent/grandparent, the applications can be submitted together and the documents relating to that parent/grandparent (one set of certified and one set of plain photocopies) need only be provided once.

On 29 August 2019, the German Ministry of the Interior (BMI) issued two comprehensive decrees to facilitate the acquisition of German citizenship for people resident abroad who are descendants of Germans persecuted under the National Socialist regime, and who are not entitled to restoration of citizenship under Article 116 (2) of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz).Further Information in English can be found on the Website of the Federal Administrative Office (Bundesverwaltungsamt).

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