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Nat­u­ral­iza­tion

Peo­ple can be­come nat­u­ral­ized cit­i­zens on the ba­sis of ei­ther dis­cre­tion or le­gal en­ti­tle­ment to Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship. When they are nat­u­ral­ized, they are grant­ed cit­i­zen­ship through a de­ci­sion of a pub­lic au­thor­i­ty. The Fed­er­al Of­fice of Ad­min­is­tra­tion still car­ries out nu­mer­ous nat­u­ral­iza­tions of peo­ple whose cit­i­zen­ship was re­voked dur­ing the Na­tion­al So­cial­ist era and their de­scen­dants, restor­ing the Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship to which they are legal­ly en­ti­tled.

When a per­son is nat­u­ral­ized, he or she is grant­ed Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship through a de­ci­sion of a pub­lic au­thor­i­ty. The nat­u­ral­iza­tion be­comes ef­fec­tive when the cer­tifi­cate of nat­u­ral­iza­tion is hand­ed over.
Usu­al­ly, on­ly per­sons are nat­u­ral­ized who have al­ready been liv­ing in Ger­many for a longer pe­ri­od. Nat­u­ral­iza­tions of peo­ple liv­ing abroad on the ba­sis of dis­cre­tion are very rare and need to be of spe­cial in­ter­est for the Fed­er­al Re­pub­lic of Ger­many.
An ex­cep­tion is the nat­u­ral­iza­tion of peo­ple whose cit­i­zen­ship was re­voked un­der the Na­tion­al So­cial­ist regime, there­by restor­ing the Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship to which they are legal­ly en­ti­tled.
If you want to be­come a cit­i­zen of an­oth­er coun­try and keep your Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship, please ap­ply for a re­ten­tion per­mit.

Please note that the whole ap­pli­ca­tion pro­ce­dure must be con­duct­ed in Ger­man.

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