Special rules on renaturalisation will apply for victims of persecution by the Nazi regime who were deprived of their German nationality on political, racial or religious grounds between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945. Within the framework of reparations, these persons and their descendants are entitled to be naturalised under Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law.
Detailed information on this topic can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Administration.
Federal Constitutional Court decision 2 BvR 2628/18 of 20 May 2020 has made it possible for more people to claim citizenship under Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law.
With immediate effect, the term “descendants” within the meaning of Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law also includes
- children born in wedlock prior to 1 April 1953 to mothers who were forcibly deprived of their German nationality and foreign fathers
- and children born out of wedlock prior to 1 July 1993 to fathers who were forcibly deprived of their German nationality and foreign mothers.
Persons affected by this ruling, whose applications for naturalisation under Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law have previously been rejected in line with the existing case-law, may submit a new application; no special form is required. Your competent German mission abroad will be happy to assist you.
Furthermore, on 30 August 2019, the Federal Ministry of the Interior introduced two comprehensive ministerial orders which make it easier for descendants of German victims of Nazi persecution who live abroad and are not entitled to renaturalisation under Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law to claim citizenship. On 20 August 2021 the Fourth Act Amending the Nationality Act entered into force. This contains a new legal entitlement to naturalisation within the framework of reparations.
New law has entered into force
The Fourth Act Amending the Nationality Act, which entered into force on 20 August 2021, has created a new legal entitlement to renaturalisation for persons who lost or were denied their German citizenship due to Nazi persecution and who are not already entitled to restoration of citizenship under Article 116 (2) of the Basic Law (Section 15 of the Nationality Act). This entitlement to naturalisation also applies to all descendants of such persons.
Under Section 15 of the Nationality Act, persons who surrendered, lost or were denied German citizenship between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945 due to persecution on political, racial or religious grounds are entitled to naturalisation:
- Persons who surrendered or lost their German citizenship prior to 26 February 1955, for example through acquisition of foreign citizenship on application, release on application or marriage with a foreigner
- Persons who were excluded from the legal acquisition of German citizenship through marriage, legitimisation or collective naturalisation of persons of German ethnic origin
- Persons who were not naturalised following application or who were generally excluded from naturalisation that would otherwise have been possible upon application, or
- Persons who surrendered or lost their habitual abode in Germany if this was established prior to 30 January 1933 or, in the case of children, also after this date.
This entitlement to naturalisation is also extended to descendants.
More detailed information on naturalisation for descendants of victims of Nazi persecution can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Administration: