Article 116 II of the Basic Law reads:
“Former German citizens, who between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945 were deprived of their citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds, and their descendants, shall on application have their citizenship restored. They shall be deemed never to have been deprived of their citizenship if they have established their domicile in Germany after May 8, 1945 and have not expressed a contrary intention.”
What does it mean to be “deprived of German citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds?”
During the National socialist regime, German citizens were deprived of their German citizenship in two ways:
- German citizens of Jewish faith who had their permanent residence abroad on or after 27 November 1941
(based on 'Eleventh Decree to the Law on the Citizenship of the Reich' of 25 November 1941),
- Individual deprivations which were published in the Reich Law Gazette
(based on the Act on Revocation of Naturalizations and Deprivation of German Citizenship of 14 July 1933)
Which descendants can apply for it?
Legal descendants of those deprived of their German citizenship might have a claim for naturalization. Each descendant has an individual claim, subject to eligibility. It is thus possible for (great-) grandchildren to apply, even if their parents decide not to. Children under 16 require parental consent.
Federal Constitutional Court decision 2 BvR 2628/18 of 20.05.2020 has made it possible for more people to claim citizenship under Article 116 II of the Basic Law.
With immediate effect, the term “descendants” within the meaning of Article 116 II of the Basic Law also includes
- children born in wedlock prior to 01.04.1953 to mothers who were forcibly deprived of their German nationality and foreign fathers,
- and children born out of wedlock prior to 01.07.1993 to fathers who were forcibly deprived of their German nationality and foreign mothers.
Persons affected by this ruling, whose applications for naturalization under Article 116 II 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. The Consulate General will be happy to help.
What happens if I have meanwhile acquired another citizenship by application?
Anyone who after being deprived of their German citizenship acquired a foreign citizenship by application is entitled to have their German citizenship restored. This also applies to their descendants.
Those who acquired a foreign citizenship before being deprived of their German citizenship, might be eligible to apply according to § 14 of the German Citizenship Act .
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 the German Consulate General in Sydney.
- 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 the arrival or naturalizations in Australia, contacting the National Archive in Canberra (https://www.naa.gov.au) and/ or the Australian Immigration Department might be helpful.
- Fully complete the application form and sign it (scroll down for the English Version).
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.
If you base your claim on your great-grandparents, please also fill out “appendix V” (Anlage V).
- Book an appointment online with the Consulate General in Sydney and bring all documents as originals with one set of simple (non-certified) copies to your appointment
Post the document 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 e-mail your application.
The consular officer will pre-check your application and then forward your application to the Federal Office of Administration for processing.
How long does it take?
At the moment, an average processing time of 1.5 to 2 years has to be expected. 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.
The application is free of charge.