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Who is entitled to a German passport?

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

In light of the recent changes to the German citizenship law, descendants of German Jews who were previously not entitled to a German passport may be eligible to obtain one. The obvious question is of course – who is eligible to a German citizenship and how do you prove eligibility?

Descendants of those who lived in Germany as citizens, residents, or subjects, and who lost their citizenship or left Germany between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945 due to persecution by the Nazis, are entitled to a German passport. You must prove both the family connection to the survivor and that they were German (residents, subjects, citizens). For those of Jewish origin, there is no need to prove specific persecution, since it is understood that the Nazi regime persecuted and tried to destroy all the Jews of Germany and the other countries under its control.

Many descendants do not know what documents are needed, they do not have them in hand. Basically all the information they have is that their grandfather (great grandmother, etc) were born or lived in a German city. If this information is accurate, then our office, which deals with obtaining German and Austrian passports, can perform a check in the relevant archives, find the required documents, and help you submit them to the German authorities.

Why is it worth bothering with applying for a German passport?

Even those who are not interested in immigrating Germany now, will be happy to bother to get a European passport in addition to their current one. Since there is no requirement to move to Germany or learn German to get the passport, you have all the advantages of the German passport without any obligations. Among other things, the passport grants:

  • All the rights of a citizen of the European Union – the possibility to live, work, and travel without restriction in all 27 countries of the Union for both the citizen and the members of their nuclear family (wife and minor children) on the basis of holding citizenship.
  • Entry to Europe without the need to obtain a visa in advance. Are you stuck abroad due to political, financial or health related circumstances? You don’t need to worry about your visa expiring.
  • Entry to countries of the world that do not have a visa exemption agreement with your country. For instance,  you can travel to the US with a German passport.
  • Access to subsidized / free higher education throughout the Eurozone.
  • Subsidized medical care in Europe.
  • German citizenship passes on to your children and their children easily. Even if Europe does not appeal to you, who knows how your offspring will think and how the law may change by then? Let’s recall that the possibility of obtaining Spanish / Portuguese citizenship based on origin was closed after several years. Our law office received a flood of inquiries “Wait, it’s too late to apply for a Portuguese passport?”

And of course – it’s worth remembering that a German citizenship lawyer actually handles the entire application for you. Our office collects documents, translates them, submits them, and accompanies you from the moment of ascertaining eligibility until receiving the passport.

Are children of a German passport holder also entitled to receive the passport?

Like most forms of citizenship, German citizenship can also be inherited, and minor children can join their parent’s request and receive a passport as well. Beyond that, the line of inheritance does not have to be continuous – even if the grandfather or father did not bother to get a passport, the adult grandson (over the age of 16) can prove his eligibility separately. It is worth noting that there is currently no generational restriction on obtaining citizenship – children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on are all eligible if they are descendants of a German who lost his citizenship or was forced to give it up due to Nazi persecution.

entitled to a German passport

How do spouses of eligible persons receive the passport?

Unlike minor children (under the age of 16), who can join the parent’s request for a German passport, the couple can apply for citizenship and passport only after 5 years of residing with the passport holder in Germany.

Do I have to give up my current citizenship?

No. Unlike other ways to obtain German citizenship, anyone who obtains a German passport based on descent (and their nuclear family members) are not required to give up their current passport.

Why turn to experts for obtaining German citizenship?

Our office, which has branches in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, specializes in the process of issuing a German passport. We have already helped many thousands of descendants of Nazi victims in Germany and Austria to obtain the coveted European passport, whether it is a German or Austrian passport. Whether you want a lawyer who will handle the entire procedure for you, A to Z, from the moment we verify that you are eligible, through obtaining all the required documents in Germany, and until the passport is in your hands, or whether you only need a German translation of documents by a certified notary , our office is here at your service. Contact us for legal assistance and advice.

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