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Applying for naturalisation for former Germans abroad

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

If you have lost your German citizenship and live abroad, you can apply for regaining German citizenship (renaturalization).

If you meet the requirements for repatriation, you will be given a certificate of naturalisation. After that, you will have German citizenship again.

You can also appoint an authorised person, such as a lawyer, for your application. To do this, you must attach a power of attorney.

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

Process flow

You or your authorised representative can apply for repatriation 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 in advance by e-mail, telephone or in a personal conversation on site at your responsible German mission abroad (appointment).
  • You can download the application form directly from the BVA website.
  • Complete and sign the application form.
  • Submit the signed application by post or in person together with the required supporting documents to your responsible German mission abroad.
  • Contact with the diplomatic mission abroad is not mandatory. You can also submit the application with all documents directly to the BVA. However, contact and application via the diplomatic mission abroad are recommended, as they must give an opinion on your application.
  • The BVA will examine your application and inform you if further documents and information are required to process the application.

Conclusion of the procedure (in writing):

  • After the decision, you will receive a request to pay the procedural fee. If your application is approved, the BVA will send your naturalisation certificate to your responsible German mission abroad. This will inform you about the further procedure for handing over the naturalisation certificate.
  • If the Federal Office of Administration (BVA) rejects your application, you will usually also receive a rejection notice from your responsible German mission abroad.


Applications for repatriation of former Germans can be submitted:

  • persons who previously 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
  • They are exempt from punishment and
  • do not pursue or support anti-constitutional or extremist aspirations; They are committed to the free democratic basic order (so-called declaration of loyalty).

Naturalisation is a discretionary decision. It is being examined whether persons can exceptionally be naturalised abroad.
Key discretionary aspects:

  • public interest in naturalisation
  • Ties to Germany
  • sufficient German language skills (level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)
  • Dependency: You must be able to support yourself and your family in your country of residence without state assistance. This should also be the case in the case of a relocation to Germany.
  • In principle, you must renounce or lose your previous nationality; Exceptions are possible.

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

Which documents are required?

When applying, you must submit:

  • Proof of ancestry and identity, for example:
    • foreign identity documents, such as:
      • Passport
      • Identity card
      • Foreigner's permit,
      • birth certificate of the applicant,
      • Marriage certificate
      • Proof of former possession of German citizenship, for example:
    • German identity documents, such as:
      • Passport
      • Children's ID,
      • Identity card
      • naturalisation certificates,
      • citizenship certificates/certificates of origin,
      • Excerpt from the German population register
    • Proof of loss of German citizenship, for example:
      • Foreign naturalisation certificates
      • Proof of acquisition/possession of other nationalities
    • Other helpful documents (if applicable):
      • Name change certificates/certificates
      • Custody documents (for applications from children under 16 years of age)
      • Leaving certificates from German schools

All circumstances that prove close ties to Germany are favourable for the discretionary decision, for example:

  • many years of close contact with relatives and friends in Germany,
  • longer and/or regular stays in Germany,
  • real estate ownership in Germany,
  • School leaving certificate or vocational training in Germany,
  • Membership in German cultural associations,
  • Activity for German authorities, companies or organisations.

Other circumstances are taken into account in the decision:

  • Dependency: You must be able to support yourself and your family in your country of residence without state assistance. This also includes adequate protection against illness, need for care, occupational disability or disability and for old age.
  • Circumstances of loss of German citizenship.

Please attach the documents and evidence, unless otherwise stated, as officially or notarized copies.
Foreign-language documents and proofs must be enclosed with a translation by a sworn translator.

What are the fees?

  • Certificate of naturalisation for adults: EUR 255.00
  • Naturalisation certificate for minor child (up to the age of 18): EUR 51.00
  • Rejection notice for adults (rejection of the application): EUR 25.00 to EUR 255.00
  • Rejection notice for minor child (rejection of the application): EUR 25.00 to EUR 51.00

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

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

There are no deadlines.

Processing duration

For the processing of the application: usually 12 to 18 months. Depending on the individual case, complex investigations must be carried out.

Applications / forms

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

Forms on the BVA website


  • Contradiction

Technically approved by

Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI)

Professionally released on



The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)