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Can You Have a German Passport And a US Passport?

During the tumultuous era of World War II, a number of German Jews exhibited remarkable resilience and resourcefulness by finding refuge in various nations across the globe, successfully evading the malevolent designs of the Nazi regime. Amongst these resilient individuals, certain Jews managed to secure visas for the United States, thus embarking on a fresh chapter of their lives in the Land of Opportunity. Today, the descendants of these courageous Jews, who proudly hold American passports, find themselves pondering the possibility of reclaiming their ancestral German citizenship, which had been lost amidst the chaos of the past. The answer to this question is yes; nevertheless, a systematic procedure must be followed in order to obtain the reinstatement of their German passport.

Descendants of German Jews who endured persecution under the oppressive Nazi regime or were compelled to seek refuge in the face of imminent danger now have the opportunity to acquire a German passport without relinquishing their US citizenship. However, before getting the passport they first must become citizens of Germany by going through a process which is required by the German nationality law.

The objective of this article is to provide comprehensive insights into the possibility of holding both a German passport and a US passport as a descendant of a German Jew who endured persecution. It delves into the procedures involved in obtaining a German passport, examines the relevant legal framework governing the reclamation of German citizenship, outlines the eligibility criteria for becoming a German citizen, and elucidates the intricacies of the process itself.

Our law firm specializes in German citizenship, and we have years of experience assisting those with a US passport to obtain a German passport according to German nationality law, as it applies to the descendants of German Jews who had lost their passports due to persecution. If you have any questions regarding this matter, you are welcome to contact us, and we will be happy to assist.

The German Nationality Law - Who can obtain a German citizenship

As stated previously, before obtaining a German passport, you first must get German citizenship. The German Nationality Law clearly states who is eligible to retrieve lost citizenship due to persecution by the Nazi regime. This means that if you are a descendant of a Jew who had fled Germany and had lost their citizenship due to persecution, there is a great chance that you are eligible for German citizenship. In the following discussion, we will delve into the nuanced aspects of the German Nationality Law, which has undergone recent amendments aimed at expanding the eligibility criteria for Jewish descendants.

On August 30th, 2019, new regulations were introduced to the German citizenship law, under section 15, by the German Minister of Internal Affairs. The purpose of the new regulations was to broaden eligibility for German citizenship to reprimand even further the damage caused by Germany during the second world war.

Up until the new regulations were introduced, the eligibility was determined by section 116 II of the German law book, which had created an imbalance among the descendants of German Jews. Section 116 II states that the victims of the Nazi persecution and their descendants are eligible for German citizenship without restriction or conditions. However, the German citizenship law prior to 1953 stated that citizenship could be passed down through the father alone. This meant that a descendant of a woman who lost her citizenship due to persecution was not eligible for German citizenship.

Thankfully, the new amendments made to the law have made it possible to commend equality among the descendants of holocaust survivors, and the eligibility clauses had been broadened immensely.

Who is eligible to get German citizenship?

According to the new amendments to the German citizenship law, the eligible individuals to get German citizenship under section 15 are the following:

1. Any descendant of a Jew who was persecuted in Germany for being Jewish between the years 1933-1945.
2. Any descendent of an ancestor who was a permanent resident of Germany before 30/01/1933 that had to give up their citizenship due to their ethnicity. In case the ancestor was a minor during this time, there is no demand to prove a center of life in Germany.
3. Descendants of German citizens whose mother marries foreign citizens, thus losing their citizenship.
4. Descendants who were born outside of wedlock to a German father and a foreign mother.

If you are eligible for German citizenship, you can file an official request to obtain your German citizenship. Our Law Office, located in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, has helped numerous eligible requestors with this process until obtaining their citizenship. If you are interested in professional assistance, we would gladly walk you through this process efficiently.

How does the process of getting German citizenship as a US passport holder works?

The obtainment of German citizenship as a descendant of a Jewish holocaust survivor requires following a specific procedure. Here are the steps for requesting German citizenship for Jewish descendants:

1. A request application in German must be filed to the German citizenship department in Cologne.
2. To the request, you will be required to attach documents proving your eligibility, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, name change certificates, and other relevant documents.
3. The request will then be processed by the German citizenship department in Cologne. The approval process for requests filed under section 15 may take up to 3 years.
4. Once the application is approved, you will be required to set an appointment at the German embassy to get your certificate of naturalization.

To get your application approved, you will not be required to pass any language, history or other tests. Also, you are permitted to serve in the army without losing your citizenship.

If you are unable to gather the relevant documents for the application on your own, you can file archival requests in various federal and local archives in Germany. This process can be overwhelming if attempt to carry it out on your own. This is why we advise you to use the assistance of a law firm like us, which specializes in performing efficient archival searches. Our expertise will allow you to save valuable time and enjoy a much more streamlined process.

How do I get a German passport?

It is important to understand that on the occasion of receiving your certificate of naturalization, you will not be receiving your German passport. To obtain your German passport you will be required to make a separate appointment with the German embassy to issue a German passport by displaying your certificate of naturalization. The issuing of the passport requires paying a fee. After your appointment with the embassy, you will receive your passport after a waiting period of about 3 months on average.

If you have already obtained your German citizenship and you wish to issue a German passport for your children, you can do so by making an appointment at the German embassy for consular registration. During this appointment, you will need to present the child’s birth certificate, as well as your certificate of naturalization or German passport. After the appointment, the child has to be registered in the German population registry.

What are the benefits of a German passport?

The German passport is one of the most powerful passports in the world due to the strong German economy. With a German passport, you will be free to live and study freely in any of the EU countries.

German citizens are also eligible for a “working holiday visa,” which grants permission to work for a year in countries such as Canada, Japan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and more.

Another benefit of the German passport it that you will be able to live, study and work in Germany freely while enjoying a higher quality of life.

Contact us - Get a German passport

The process of obtaining German citizenship and a passport can be challenging to go through on your own. The process requires comprehensive knowledge and access to different resources; therefore, it will be highly beneficial to choose a skilled and experienced attorney to guide you through the process.

How we successfully helped an astounding number of clients to obtain their German passports. We have developed an effective method of reaching the desired goal. If you require any information or clarification regarding the new law amendments or the process itself, contact us, and we will be delighted to assist in understanding the different clauses as well as commencing your own journey to acquiring your German passport.