General information


Please read the following information carefully before contacting the Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Edinburgh.

3-Restoration-ArtikelAlthough the information on this website has been prepared with the utmost care, we cannot accept responsibility for any inaccuracies it may contain. Please note that German missions abroad are not citizenship authorities and therefore cannot provide final and binding confirmation of your citizenship status. Such confirmation can only be issued by the competent citizenship authority, the Federal Office of Administration (BVA).

German citizenship by descent, adoption or birth on German territory

German citizenship might be automatically acquired by descent, adoption or birth on German territory. To find out under what circumstances you may have automatically acquired German citizenship, please go to: Acquiring German Citizenship.


Peo­ple can be­come nat­u­ral­ised cit­i­zens either because they are legally entitled to German citizenship or on a dis­cre­tionary basis. When they are nat­u­ral­ised, they are grant­ed cit­i­zen­ship by the de­ci­sion of a pub­lic au­thor­i­ty. This is not a German mission abroad, but the Federal Office of Administration (BVA). The nat­u­ral­isa­tion be­comes effective when the cer­tifi­cate of nat­u­ral­isa­tion is issued. 

Former German citizens who were deprived of their German citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945 are legally entitled to have their citizenship restored. Generally, this applies to their descendants as well. Please see Restoration of German citizenship (Article 116 II Basic Law) for more information.

Generally on­ly people who have been living in Germany for some time can be naturalised. Nat­u­ral­isa­tion of peo­ple liv­ing abroad on a discretionary ba­sis is very rare and needs to be in the public interest of the Fed­er­al Re­pub­lic of Ger­many. Please see Renaturalisation and discretionary Naturalisation for more details.

Loss of German Citizenship

In general, a German citizen who obtains the citizenship of another country by application automatically loses German citizenship. However, as from 28 August 2007 this does not apply to citizenship of an EU member state or of Switzerland.

In all other cases, loss of citizenship can be avoided by obtaining a special permit (Beibehaltungsgenehmigung) before you are naturalised in a foreign country. See Retention of German citizenship.

If you lost German citizenship through naturalisation in the United Kingdom, you might be able to apply for renaturalisation under certain circumstances. See Renaturalisation and discretionary naturalisation for details.

Renunciation of German citizenship

If you live in the United Kingdom, hold dual German-British citizenship and wish to renounce your German citizenship, you must submit an application to the Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Edinburgh. See Renunciation of German citizenship for details.

Establishment of German citizenship/ Certificate of Citizenship

The Fed­er­al Of­fice of Ad­min­is­tra­tion (BVA) car­ries out spe­cif­ic pro­ce­dures to establish whether or not ap­pli­cants are Ger­man cit­i­zens.

It as­cer­tains when and by what means you be­came a Ger­man na­tion­al and whether or not you have lost your German cit­i­zen­ship.

Many events in the lives of ap­pli­cants, their parents, grandparents and even an­ces­tors can be sig­nif­i­cant for the acqui­si­tion or loss of Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship, in­clud­ing per­son­al and fam­i­ly events (e.g. birth, mar­riage or adop­tion) and po­lit­i­cal/ le­gal de­vel­op­ments (e.g. col­lec­tive nat­u­ral­isa­tions dur­ing World War II or the ac­qui­si­tion of a for­eign citizenship).

Ap­pli­cants whose Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship has been es­tab­lished are is­sued a cer­tifi­cate of citizenship (Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis).

It can equally be es­tab­lished, up­on ap­pli­ca­tion, that you are not a Ger­man cit­i­zen. In such cas­es, a so-called negative cer­tifi­cate (Negativbescheinigung) is is­sued. See: Establishment of German citizenship/ Certificate of Citizenship.

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