Before World War II, the Jewish community in Germany flourished, with German Jews playing a significant role in the broader German society. They held various professions, such as business owners, doctors, lawyers, and others. Tragically, the ascension of the Nazi party and the Holocaust led to the loss of many Jews residing in Germany. Some, nonetheless, were able to flee. Presently, the descendants of those who perished or fled can acquire German citizenship by descent, with the aid of legal assistance.
In this article, we will delve into the clauses of the German law granting eligibility for a German passport, and learn how a German Citizenship by Descent lawyer can assist in creating a much more streamlined request process.
Our law firm specializes in the German citizenship request process. We help our customers to enjoy a smooth and hassle-free process, to allow them great peace of mind along the way. If you wish to submit a request for German citizenship, we would be happy to assist.
Eligibility for German citizenship
Following World War II, Germany assumed responsibility for the atrocities the Nazis have inflicted upon the Jewish community. As a step towards reconciliation, Germany offered an avenue for the descendants of German Jews to obtain German citizenship.
Several sections in the German citizenship law sets the eligibility criteria. The first section is section 116. This section states that every descendant of an ancestor who was a German citizen, and whose citizenship was revoked by the Nazis, is eligible to get German citizenship.
In 2021 the German government decided to make amendments to the Citizenship Law, removing certain previously existing limitations. For example, before the new amendments came into action, there was only an option to get German citizenship through the father’s side. Now, requesters can submit requests based on ancestors on their mother’s side as well.
One of the amendments is section 15, which states that the descendants of a Jew who resided in Germany before 30.01.1933 and fled after this date, are eligible for German citizenship.
Other amendments were made to section 5 of the citizenship law. This allows for descendants born to a mother or father who were not German citizens, or descendants born outside wedlock, to get German citizenship (if born in the specific years noted in the latest version of the amendment).
How can eligibility for German citizenship be proven?
For a request for German citizenship to be approved, sufficient proof of eligibility must be submitted to the departments of citizenship in Cologne, Germany. To prove eligibility relevant documents must be presented, such as birth certificates, diplomas from educational institutes, naturalization certificates, and more.
It is not a rare occasion in which requestors do not hold the required documents to prove eligibility. However, there is still a way to obtain the required documents by contacting relevant archives in Germany. Currently, several archives in different cities in Germany have an astounding amount of documentation about those who were once citizens or residents of Germany. The search in the archives is made manually, so could take up to 6 months.
How can a lawyer help me get German citizenship?
Determining eligibility and reaching out to archives are only the first step in preparing a request for German citizenship. A German Citizenship by Descent Lawyer who specializes in the request process will be able to help you determine your eligibility according to the different law sections, and with contacting the right archives, as well as help you with the following request preparation steps and submission.
Once collecting all of the documents proving eligibility the next step is collecting personal documents in Israel (or your home country). These documents include birth certificates, marriage certificates, personal record extracts, and more.
All official documents must be translated into German by a certified notary. Another option is to have a translator translate the documents, which will then be approved by a notary. Finally, the translated documents must receive an apostille stamp. Then the request form can be filled in in German.
All of the prepared documentation will then get submitted to the German Citizenship Department, in Cologne in Germany, where the requests will be processed. The process of approval usually takes between 2-3 years.
Once the requests have been approved the requestors will be invited to make an appointment with the German embassy to receive their certificate of naturalization. This certificate officially states that the requestors are German citizens. The naturalization process by descent does not require the requestor to know the German language or to pay taxes in Germany.
After receiving German citizenship, the requestors can set an appointment to issue a German passport.
German citizenship by descent lawyer – A world of opportunities
Having German citizenship can open many unique doors. Since the German passport is one of the most powerful in the world, those who hold it can travel to an astounding number of 190 countries without having to issue a visa in advance . Furthermore, being a German citizen grants those who hold it can live, work and study in any of the 27 European Union countries without any limitation, including the right to study in leading European universities for free or with a major subsidy.
For many descendants of German Jews, the option to hold German citizenship has an emotional meaning. After the horrors inflicted on the Jews during the Holocaust, many survivors never got their citizenship back from the country they once called home. Now their descendants can retrieve what had been lost.
A professional lawyer who specializes in the process of acquiring German citizenship has an in-depth knowledge of German laws concerning the eligibility of requestors. An experienced lawyer knows exactly which documents must be obtained and how to submit requests with the most chances of getting approval. Furthermore, by getting professional assistance, clients can save precious time and enjoy a piece of mind.
If you are eligible for German citizenship and wish to submit an official request, we encourage you to contact us, and we will be delighted to provide you with a professional and efficient service.