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Apply for naturalisation for former Germans abroad

The Federal Office of Administration (BVA) is responsible, among other things, as the citizenship authority for persons abroad for issues relating to citizenship.

If you have lost your German citizenship and are living abroad, you can apply for re-acquisition of German citizenship (re-naturalisation).

If you meet the requirements for re-naturalisation, you will be issued with a naturalisation certificate. You will then have German citizenship again.

You can also appoint an authorised person, for example a lawyer, to file your application. You must enclose a power of attorney for this purpose.

You or your authorised person can submit your application for re-naturalisation in writing or by appointment in person to your competent German mission abroad or in writing to the BVA.

You or your authorized person can apply for re-naturalization in writing or by appointment in person at your competent German mission abroad or in writing at the Federal Office of Administration (BVA).

Written application:

  • You can receive all the necessary information about the application and required documents or papers in advance by e-mail, telephone or in a personal meeting on site at your competent German mission abroad (appointment).
  • You can download the application form directly from the BVA website.
  • Complete the application form in full and sign it.
  • Submit the signed application form by post or in person together with the required documents to your competent German mission abroad.
  • Contacting the German mission abroad is not obligatory. You can also submit the application with all documents directly to the BVA. However, it is recommended that you contact the German mission abroad and submit your application, as they will have to issue a statement on your application.
  • The BVA will check your application and inform you if further documents and information are required for the processing of the application.

Conclusion of the procedure (in writing):

  • After the decision, you will receive a request for payment of the procedural fee. If your application is approved, the BVA will send your naturalisation certificate to your competent German mission abroad. They will inform you about the further procedure for issuing the naturalisation certificate.
  • If the Federal Office of Administration (BVA) rejects your application, you will generally also receive a rejection notice via your competent German mission abroad.

Applications for the re-naturalisation of former Germans can be submitted by:

  • Persons who formerly had German citizenship and
  • whose habitual residence (domicile) is abroad.

Further requirements:

  • Identity and nationality have been clarified
  • You are capable of acting, i.e. at least 16 years old or legally represented.
  • You are exempt from punishment and
  • do not pursue or support any anti-constitutional or extremist endeavours; you are committed to the free democratic basic order (so-called declaration of loyalty).

Naturalisation is a discretionary decision. It is examined whether persons abroad can be naturalised in exceptional cases.
Essential discretionary criteria:

  • Public interest in naturalisation
  • Ties to Germany
  • Sufficient German language skills (level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference)
  • Ability to support yourself: You must be able to support yourself and your family in your country of residence without state assistance. This should also be the case if you move to Germany.
  • In principle, you must give up or lose your previous nationality; exceptions are possible.

Note: In individual cases, a naturalisation test may be required.

When applying, you must submit:

  • Proof of parentage and identity, through for example:
    • foreign personal documents, such as:
      • Passport,
      • identity card,
      • alien's identity card,
      • birth certificate of the applicant,
      • marriage certificate
      • Proof of previous possession of German citizenship, for example:
    • German identity documents, such as:
      • Passport,
      • children's identity card,
      • identity card
      • Naturalisation certificates,
      • citizenship certificates/domicile certificates,
      • extract from the German population register
    • Proof of loss of German citizenship, for example:
      • Foreign naturalisation certificates
      • Proof of the acquisition/possession of further citizenships
    • Other helpful documents (if applicable):
      • Name change documents/certificates
      • Documents on custody (for applications of children under 16 years of age)
      • Certificates of graduation from German schools

For the discretionary decision, all circumstances are favourable which prove close ties to Germany, for example:

  • long-standing close contact with relatives and friends in Germany,
  • longer and/or regular stays in Germany,
  • property ownership in Germany,
  • school-leaving qualifications or vocational training in Germany,
  • membership in German cultural associations,
  • work for German authorities, companies or organizations.

Other circumstances will be taken into account in the decision:

  • Ability to support yourself: you must be able to support yourself and your family in your country of residence without state assistance. This also includes sufficient insurance against illness, need for care, occupational disability or incapacity to work and for old age.
  • Circumstances of loss of German citizenship.

Please enclose the documents and proofs as officially or notarially certified copies, unless otherwise stated.
Documents and evidence in foreign languages must be enclosed with a translation by a sworn translator.

  • Naturalisation certificate for adult: EUR 255.00
  • Naturalisation certificate for minor child (up to the age of 18): EUR 51.00
  • Refusal notice for adults (rejection of application): EUR 25.00 to EUR 255.00
  • Refusal notice for minor child (rejection of application): EUR 25,00 to EUR 51,00

Please bear in mind that you may incur additional costs for obtaining documents, translations and certifications.

There are no deadlines.

For processing the application: usually 12 to18 months. Depending on the individual case, complex investigations must be carried out.

  • Forms: yes
  • Online procedure possible: no
  • Written form required: no
  • Personal appearance required: yes
  • Contradiction

Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Construction and Home Affairs (BMI)


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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