With an amendment on the German Nationality Act on 20.08.2021, a new naturalization possibility was introduced into law for victims of National Socialist persecution and their descendants – Section 15 of the Nationality Act.
Who can apply for it?
Persons who, for reasons connected with National Socialist persecution on political, racial or religious grounds between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945, gave up or lost their German citizenship or were never able to acquire it.
The competent Federal Office of Administration provides further information on eligibility and requirements
The entitlement to naturalization also extends to the descendants of such persons.
Which descendants can apply for it?
Legal descendants of those eligible under section 15 Citizenship Act have a claim for naturalization. Each descendant has an individual claim. It is thus possible for (great-) grandchildren to apply, even if their (grand-) parents decide not to. Children under 16 require parental consent.
How do I apply?
The competent authority for all applicants from abroad is the Federal Office of Administration (“Bundesverwaltungsamt”).
You have the possibility to submit your application with them directly or with the German Consulate General in Sydney.
If you wish to submit it with the Consulate General, please follow the following steps:
- Read the information sheet carefully.
- Compile the required documents as per the information sheet. If you lack any of the documents, please apply for them at the issuing authorities (also see: Family Research/Genealogy). For documents on naturalizations or the arrival in Australia, contacting the National Archive in Canberra and/ or the Australian Immigration Department might be helpful.
- Fully complete the application form in German and sign it.
If you base your claim on your great-grandparents, please also fill out “Appendix AV”
All forms come with an English courtesy translation at the bottom of the document. They are for your convenience only and are not to be submitted.Every applicant needs to fill out a separate application form. For children under 16 years the application needs to be signed by all legal guardians.
- Hand in your declaration either
Book an appointment online with the Consulate General in Sydney for the category “Consular Services” and bring your filled out declaration form and all documents as originals to your appointment.
Post your complete signed declaration form to the German Consulate General (100 William Street, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011). Please do not send original documents, but certified copies. Certified copies are accepted from Australian Notary Publics, the Australian police or the German Honorary Consuls in Australia. Please do not send in your application via email.
The consular officer will pre-check your application and then forward your application to the Federal Office of Administration for processing.
The processing time also depends on the ability of the Federal Office of Administration to find the necessary documents in archives in Germany. The more information you provide, the easier it will be to track down the required information.
The German Consulate cannot influence the processing times. Emails asking the German Consulate or the Federal Office of Administration for status updates will not speed up the process.
We will update you as soon as we have any news.
The application as well as the assistance by the German Consulate General are free of charge.
Do I have to renounce my current citizenship(s) on acquiring German Citizenship?
We, however, advise you to inquire with the responsible authorities of your country of origin well in advance to clarify whether making the declaration to acquire German citizenship will affect your current citizenship(s).
What should I do with my naturalization certificate?
You should keep the certificate at a safe place, as it is your proof of German citizenship. You and, if applicable, your descendants might need it to apply for passports or civil status documents in the future. It is not possible to reissue the certificate. If you lose it, you might have to apply for a certificate of citizenship.
You do not need to take the certificate with you when you are travelling. However, it is recommended that next to a certified copy of your passport, you take a certified copy with you in case you lose your passport.