As part of its reparative responsibility, Germany allows descendants of German citizens and permanent residents who were victims of the Nazi regime to apply for citizenship. Depending on your family history, you may be eligible to apply for German citizenship if one of your ancestors was persecuted or feared persecution by the Nazi regime. You may also qualify to apply on general grounds, such as to rectify a discriminatory loss of German citizenship by a female ancestor. Make the most out of your ancestry by acquiring a German passport and experience the full freedom and protection afforded to EU nationals.
Germany is one of the most powerful European countries, with an impressive economy, a high quality of life, and renowned education institutions. Major cities Frankfurt and Berlin are among the Top 25 and Top 40 cities worldwide, respectively, with the fastest-growing millionaire populations, and the country’s elite are expected to increase by 400 high-net-worth individuals by the end of 2023. German citizenship offers its holders visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to approximately 190 destinations worldwide. As a citizen of Germany, you can live, work, and study in the country and anywhere else in the EU and Switzerland at any time.
You can apply for German citizenship under a few conditions. The German government acknowledges Germany’s historic, reparative responsibility for the heinous acts committed during the Nazi regime and welcomes those who wish to rejoin the German community as citizens of ancestors who were persecuted by Nazis.
If you qualify for citizenship by descent, you do not need to relocate to Germany or speak the language. In many cases, such as if you apply based on Nazi persecution, you will not even be required to give up your present citizenship. As a German citizen, you will enjoy the full freedom and protection afforded to EU nationals.
All direct descendants, including those adopted as minors, of an ancestor who lost their German citizenship (or their ability to acquire German citizenship) as a result of Nazi persecution are eligible to apply for citizenship. The sequence of descent spans across several generations:
You may possibly qualify for German citizenship if one of the following conditions applies:
Persecution by the Nazi regime can be based on the following:
During the Nazi regime, Germany and German citizenship extended to eastern parts of the German Reich, which today belong to Poland (Pommern, Schlesien, Ostpreußen, Ostbrandenburg). Also, Austria was deemed part of Germany and its citizens were considered German between 13 March 1938 and 26 April 1945. So if your ancestors were Polish or Austrian under the abovementioned conditions, you may be eligible to apply for German citizenship.
Applications for citizenship must be accompanied by substantive documentation supporting the claim. Any documents that prove your German family background and/or persecution by the Nazi regime will be helpful, such as:
Henley & Partners can source supporting documents with the help of our legal partners in Germany.
Applicants are advised to read all the requirements carefully before submitting their application. Thereafter, they will need to complete a client intake form to check for eligibility.
Henley & Partners can seamlessly manage the entire citizenship by descent application process for you, from helping you prove your lineage and researching your ancestors’ experience under the Nazi regime by checking various institutions and archives, to assisting with legalizing and apostilling documents, to liaising with the relevant authorities, to you receiving your German passport in hand.
The process for acquiring German citizenship by descent or based on Nazi persecution takes about 18 months but may be much shorter if the application is prepared properly and communicated with the participating authorities. Certain groups of applicants deserve preference, namely those who personally endured Nazi persecution.
For more information on how we can help you secure your future by connecting with your family’s legacy, please complete the German citizenship by descent enquiry form below.
Have one of our qualified advisors contact you today.