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The BVA pro­cess­es dif­fer­ent pro­ce­dures in con­sul­ta­tion with the Fed­er­al For­eign Of­fice's mis­sions abroad. The in­di­vid­u­als' of­ten trag­ic back­grounds have to be treat­ed in­di­vid­u­al­ly and with re­spect.

The BVA car­ries out spe­cif­ic pro­ce­dures to de­ter­mine whether or not ap­pli­cants with Ger­man an­ces­tors, many of which live in East­ern Eu­rope, are still Ger­man cit­i­zens.

Vic­tims of the Nazi regime who were il­le­git­i­mate­ly de­prived of their cit­i­zen­ship be­tween 1933 and 1945 are en­ti­tled to ‘re­nat­u­ral­iza­tion’.

Ger­mans liv­ing abroad usu­al­ly lose their Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship on be­com­ing for­eign na­tion­als un­less they have ap­plied at the BVA for a per­mis­sion to re­tain Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship.

An­oth­er task refers to young peo­ple who are na­tion­als of Ger­many and an­oth­er coun­try and must de­clare, up­on reach­ing 18 years of age, which cit­i­zen­ship they want to keep (‘opt­ing pro­ce­dure’). The BVA is the com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ty for such young­sters liv­ing abroad.

The Fed­er­al Ex­pellees Act is the ba­sis for the recog­ni­tion of peo­ple as eth­nic Ger­man re­set­tlers. The BVA de­cides up­on the ad­mis­sion of eth­nic Ger­man re­set­tlers and places them in the fed­er­al states.


Ap­pli­ca­tion for the es­tab­lish­ment of Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship

For ap­pli­cants liv­ing abroad, the Fed­er­al Of­fice of Ad­min­is­tra­tion is the com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ty to deal with cit­i­zen­ship mat­ters.
The Fed­er­al Of­fice of Ad­min­is­tra­tion (BVA) car­ries out spe­cif­ic pro­ce­dures to de­ter­mine whether or not ap­pli­cants are Ger­man cit­i­zens.


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.

Teaserbild Optionsverfahren

Opt­ing pro­ce­dure

Since 1 Jan­uary 2000, chil­dren born to for­eign par­ents with­in the ter­ri­to­ry of the Fed­er­al Re­pub­lic of Ger­many have ac­quired Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship by birth un­der the con­di­tions spec­i­fied in Sec­tion 4(3) of the Na­tion­al­i­ty Act. Chil­dren born in Ger­many be­tween 2 Jan­uary 1990 and 31 De­cem­ber 1999 had the right to ac­quire Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship by nat­u­ral­iza­tion pur­suant to Sec­tion 40b of the Na­tion­al­i­ty Act.

Teaserbild Beibehaltung

Re­tain­ing Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship

Ger­mans who be­come nat­u­ral­ized cit­i­zens of an­oth­er coun­try lose their Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship un­less they have re­ceived a re­ten­tion per­mit pri­or to nat­u­ral­iza­tion. For this rea­son, the re­quest to re­tain Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship should al­ways be made be­fore re­quest­ing nat­u­ral­iza­tion in an­oth­er coun­try.