Applying for German Citizenship
This article addresses applying for German citizenship based on German Jewish ancestry.
If you are the descendent of a German Jew or another victim of Nazi oppression whose citizenship was denied on racial, religious, or political grounds and who escaped Nazi Germany or left it after the Holocaust, you are eligible to request and receive German citizenship. German citizenship could be a very attractive option for you as it would allow you to travel, study, and work freely anywhere in the European Union.
German Law on Applying for German Citizenship
Article 116 (II), German Basic Law (Grundgesetz) states: “Former German citizens who between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945 were deprived of their German citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds, and their descendants, shall on application have their citizenship restored.”
Until recently, German law discriminated between the descendants of male German citizens and the descendants of female German citizens as well as the descendants of male German citizens who were born out of wedlock. The law made it more difficult for the descendants of female German citizens to qualify for citizenship. However, recent judicial rulings and new legislation from June 2021 have now eliminated discrimination on the basis of the ancestor’s gender and has made it easier for the descendants of German citizens who were victims of nazi crimes to reclaim German citizenship under the “Naturalization Claim under article 116 (II).”
On the topic of this new amendment to the law, the German Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer has said: “It is very fortunate for our country when people want to acquire German citizenship even though we have taken everything from their ancestors. This is not a mere reparation, but an apology in deep shame.”
Information on the Application
If you are eligible for German citizenship under this new law, the just restoration of your citizenship is your legal right. However, the process is not automatic. You must still submit a correctly filled application with all necessary corroborating evidence. The application forms are provided at the website of the Federal Office of Administration on www.bundesverwaltungsamt.de.
The application must be written in German and in a clear manner and have sufficient evidence of your eligibility for citizenship. Additionally, all further correspondence with the Federal Office of Administration must be in German. If your application is inadequate, then your request might be denied and the process of appeal can be challenging and expensive, so we recommend that you use the services of experienced attorneys in order to avoid such a situation.
If you seek legal assistance applying for German citizenship, please contact us. Advocate Michael Decker specializes in immigration law, and he would be happy to help you with your case.