Loss of German Citizenship


Verschiedene Reisepässe© picture alliance / dpa
How do I lose German Citizenship?

By voluntarily acquiring a foreign citizenship

If you willingly apply for a foreign citizenship and obtain it, your German citizenship is automatically lost. If you obtain a foreign citizenship without an application for naturalization, you remain a German citizen.

Please note: Loss of citizenship can be avoided by obtaining a special permit (“Beibehaltungsgenehmigung”) before you are naturalized in a foreign country.

By voluntarily entering into the armed forces or other armed units of a country whose citizenship you also posess

Example: a person with German and US citizenship starts a career in the US Navy. Previously, with a special permit from Germany to enter the foreign armed forces, the loss could have been avoided.
However, as of July 6, 2011, this permit is presumed given by dual nationals that also hold the citizenship of

  • another EU member state
  • an EFTA member state
  • a NATO member state or
  • a state listed in §41 para 1 of the German “Aufenthaltsverordnung”

and who serve in one of those countries. Therefore, German/US dual nationals do not lose German citizenship if entering the US services after July 6, 2011.

By renunciation (if you hold dual citizenship)

If you are holding dual citizenship (German and at least one other citizenship), you can renounce the German citizenship by declaration.

By adoption

If you are adopted by a non-German and are no longer considered to be legally related to your German parent(s), you lose German citizenship if the adoption automatically makes you a citizen of your adopted parents' country.

Information on a “Beibehaltungsgenehmigung” (Permission to retain German citizenship when applying for a foreign citizenship - available in German only)

Please Note: Although the information on this website has been prepared with utmost care, we cannot accept any responsibility for inaccuracies contained herein.

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