How German Dual Citizenship Works

German Passport Einbügerung

Most will argue that Germany doesn’t allow Dual Citizenship, actually it does. Here’s how it works:

For Kids:

Children born to a German and non-German parents can hold citizenship from both parents until their 18th birthday. Between their 18th and 23rd birthday they have to have decided which citizenship to keep. This is the Optionszwanggesetz or Optionsmodellgesetz. (Read: Optionszwang and dual citizenship in Germany).

This also applies for a child born to a naturalized German parent e.g. a Kenyan who took up German citizenship, their child is allowed to take up German citizenship together with their Kenyan one, up until their 23rd birthday by which they should have chosen which to keep. For kids it’s much easier.

UPDATE: The Optionszwang law was abolished and Germany finally allowed dual citizenship for children who take up German citizenship at birth in addition to that of their parent’s country of origin, this however comes with a caveat. (Read: Germany Allows Dual Citizenship for Kids BUT With a Caveat)

 

For Adults:

The law governing taking up a second citizenship in addition to the German one is the Beibehaltunggesetz (Request to Retain Citizenship). To take this up, one should apply for it BEFORE taking up the new citizenship. The whole process takes on average 3 months.

 

What you need:

With German Citizenship apply for another:

To get the right to retain German citizenship in addition to taking up another one, one has to show that:

– they have tight ties with Germany which is displayed by giving information on

  • your level of German knowledge
  • a list of all your relatives living in Germany plus their names and addresses in Germany and
  • a list of businesses or property you own in Germany

– have good enough reason to want to take the citizenship of the other country, which could be explained by being disadvantaged as a German either in getting a job, studying, or scholarships etc.

With Foreign Citizenship applying for German citizenship:

There are some given groups that are allowed to maintain their foreign citizenship upon taking up German citizenship. These group include:

– Anyone holding citizenship of a country within the European Union

– Anyone above 60yrs, who fulfills all other criteria is allowed to keep their original citizenship in addition to taking up German citizenship

– When you’re from a country that has no process of renouncing citizenship or refuses to accept renounciation of citizenship e.g.

  • Argentinien
  • Mexiko
  • Uruguay
  • Afghanistan
  • Algerien
  • Libanon
  • Marokko
  • Syrien
  • Tunesien
  • Iran

– If losing your original citizenship would cause a HUGE financial loss of at least  € 10.225,84.

– If the person applying for German citizenship is too sick to be able to go through the process of renouncing citizenship. This is usually in cases where one has to return to their home country to renounce their citizenship

– If the person is on political exile and got the German citizenship through Asylum (Art. 16 a Grundgesetz)

– If you home country demands that you undertake civil service before renouncing citizenship and yet you were born and grew up in Germany.

As for the Kenyans who are now trying to take up German citizenship, read: Dual Citizenship Blessing in Disguise or Disaster in the Making.

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