Dual citizenship after naturalization (Einbürgerung): How to keep your national passport

Die doppelte Staatsbürgerschaft ist im Prinzip bei der Einbürgerung nach deutschem Recht nicht vorgesehen. Es gibt jedoch einige Ausnahmen und Möglichkeiten, mit denen eine Einbürgerung und doppelte Staatsbürgerschaft möglich ist. Dieser Blogartikel zeigt Ihnen verschiedene Optionen, wie beides miteinander kombiniert werden kann und was bei der doppelten Staatsbürgerschaft beachtet werden muss.
Fabian Graske
Fabian Graske

Table of contents

Legal basis of dual citizenship

All important legal facts about dual citizenship can be found in the Citizenship Act. Here it is written exactly how German law stands on dual citizenship and how this issue must be handled.

§ 10 Nationality Act 

In principle, German law does not provide for multiple nationality in naturalization (Einbürgerung) according to § 10 StAG. Under the § 10 par.1 No. 4 states that, as a immigrant, you bring with you the conditions for naturalization (Einbürgerung) when you surrender the citizenship of your country of origin. 

From this it is clear that German law basically does not accept dual citizenship in the case of naturalization (Einbürgerung). The surrender of citizenship is thus one of the prerequisites for having any chance of success in an application for naturalization (Einbürgerung).

How to combine naturalization (Einbürgerung) and dual citizenship 

Although in § 10 para. 1 No.4 StAG states that a immigrant must renounce his or her citizenship in order to be eligible for naturalization (Einbürgerung), there are some exceptions that must be considered. The exceptions in the respective cases directly lead to the fact that one can keep his citizenship and still be naturalized. 

These exceptions are listed in § 12 StAG. If one of these exceptions applies, then the requirement according to § 10 para.1 automatically falls No. 4 StAG is omitted and replaced by §12.

Case 1: Home country does not provide for surrender of citizenship

There are countries that do not provide for resignation or surrender of citizenship, or that regularly refuse to surrender citizenship. Here the requirement from § 10 para. 1 No. 4 cannot be implemented at all and does not work. This case occurs in most Arab countries.  

So, as an Afghan citizen, you have the problem that Afghan law prohibits the involuntary loss of Afghan citizenship. The situation is similar in Iran. Iranian law does not provide for the surrender of Iranian citizenship. Similar regulations exist in countries such as Syria, Eritrea, Morocco, Tunisia, Cuba, Nigeria, Libya and Algeria. 

Case 2: Home country does not provide for loss of citizenship

In some states, there is no provision for losing one’s citizenship. These include Brazil and Argentina. If citizenship is renounced, a citizen would lose his or her citizenship. Accordingly, in such cases you automatically have two passports after naturalization (Einbürgerung). 

Case 3: Home country refuses to release from citizenship without right

There are also countries around the world that allow citizens to renounce their citizenship. In individual cases, however, these countries surprisingly do refuse to release people from citizenship…. These are very complicated cases, because the states actually violate the things that are in their legal order. In such cases, too, legal assistance is then necessary to make it clear that a release from the citizenship of the home country does not work.

Case 4: Home country imposes unreasonable conditions 

In the case of other countries, conditions are imposed for giving up citizenship that are not reasonable for the person in question. These states include Angola and Iraq, and sometimes Serbia and Thailand. 

These states allow for loss of citizenship, but attach impossible conditions to it for the citizen. The result is then again that multiple nationality is accepted by Germany after naturalization (Einbürgerung).

Case 5: There is a threat of economic disadvantages

There are examples in which a immigrant applying for naturalization (Einbürgerung) and withdrawal from the citizenship of his or her home country may suffer significant economic losses and property disadvantages. 

Legal help is also very necessary in such situations. It is necessary to provide detailed evidence of these disadvantages to the German government. If this condition is recognized by the German state, then two passports are approved after naturalization (Einbürgerung).

Case 6: With refugee status always dual citizenship

If a immigrant holds refugee status, then dual citizenship automatically follows after naturalization (Einbürgerung). However, in principle, it can happen that because of the basic legal order in the home country, the citizenship of the home country is lost. 

Does naturalization (Einbürgerung) with dual citizenship work?

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Contents of dual citizenship

Multi-citizenship always has different backgrounds and brings with it different important core issues. Before thinking about dual citizenship, one needs to think about and be aware of the issues involved.

Tax effects

In some countries it happens that dual citizenship has the consequence that one has to pay tax both in the home country and in the country of the newly acquired citizenship.

German tax law focuses on the fact that every citizen pays taxes where he lives and where he is economically active. To ensure this, Germany has so-called double taxation agreements with various countries. 

A list of all countries with which Germany has such an agreement can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Finance. With dual citizenship, it is important to keep an eye on certain reporting requirements. Reporting requirements may include disclosure about foreign accounts, assets abroad, and financial flows abroad.

Military service or civilian service

Depending on how young you are, the issue of military service or community service also comes into play. As a rule, the country in which you live and reside is the first point of contact. This means: If you live in Germany, you do not have to worry about this. 

Compulsory military service and compulsory civilian service were abolished in 2011. So, if you have the citizenship of Germany and your home country with the naturalization (Einbürgerung) and you have not done the military or civil service, then Germany is generally considered as the place of residence and not the rules in your home country.

Political participation and voice

A very important advantage, besides the wider choice of visa-free travel options, is political participation. Dual citizenship offers the right to participate in political elections in Germany as well as in the home country and to have a say, thus maintaining the connection and closeness to the home country. 

This allows you to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections in your home country and at the same time vote in the Bundestag elections in Germany.

Auf diesem Bild ist ein Reisepass auf einem weißen Tisch zu sehen. Er ist aufgeschlagen und man erkennt Reisestempel.

Paths to citizenship

There are several ways to become naturalized and obtain German citizenship or to obtain citizenship in general. The possibilities vary and the ways are sometimes complicated and lengthy and sometimes very simple.

Citizenship by descent

One option, if you are from a particular country, is to obtain citizenship of that country. In this case, everything proceeds according to the so-called principle of descent. 

This principle means that if you have parents or grandparents from a certain country that is not your home country, then it may be possible to obtain citizenship of that country. The reason is that you are automatically also from the country of your parents through your parents or grandparents and can obtain citizenship.

Nationality by birth

Another very simple and automatic way is citizenship by birth. In the country of birth one is also directly a citizen by the birthplace principle. It also does not matter whether the parents were born in the same country or not. One has the citizenship of the country of birth from birth and cannot lose it.

naturalization (Einbürgerung) by marriage of a national

Another way to obtain citizenship is to marry a national. For example, the marriage of a German citizen makes it possible to become a naturalized citizen after only 3 years compared to the residence period of 8 years that is normally provided. The decisive condition here is that you have already been married for 2i years and are not divorced or living in separation.

Nationality after work or study stay

If you stay and work in a foreign country for a very long time, then it is possible to apply for citizenship of that country after a certain period of time. In Germany, it is important to know that naturalization (Einbürgerung) does not work with a student visa. 

So you have to change the residence title in order to be eligible for a naturalization (Einbürgerung) to be eligible for naturalization. The path to citizenship through study and then work works. The decisive factor is the regulation of the respective country.

Conclusion and summary

As you can see, the issue of dual citizenship after naturalization (Einbürgerung) is very complex. Here are the most important points summarized for you:

  1. German law does not recognize dual citizenship in principle
  2. In principle, the provision under § 10 para.1 No.4 StAG to surrender the citizenship of the home country.
  3. There are some exceptions that deviate from this rule and can be found under §12 StAG.
  4. If there is no provision for giving up citizenship in your home country, then dual citizenship automatically occurs.
  5. If your home country allows you to give up your citizenship in principle, but makes impossible demands, dual citizenship is also the result.
  6. If you can prove that there is a threat of economic disadvantage if you surrender your citizenship, then a surrender is not necessary.
  7. With refugee status comes automatically dual citizenship
  8. You get dual citizenship even if your home country does not recognize the loss of citizenship
  9. You also do not have to renounce your home country’s citizenship if your home country unlawfully prevents you from renouncing your citizenship.
Do you still have questions about dual citizenship?

Take advantage of our free consultation. Our experts will answer your questions about dual citizenship after naturalization (Einbürgerung) a free consultation and help you on your way to naturalization (Einbürgerung)!

FAQ – The most important questions and answers about dual citizenship after naturalization (Einbürgerung)

Yes. Even though § 10 StAG requires a surrender of the citizenship of the home country, there are some exceptions that make dual citizenship possible after all.

Yes. If you hold the residence title of refugee status, you get dual citizenship. However, it depends on the legal situation in your home country whether the citizenship of your home country is not lost when you naturalization (Einbürgerung) as a German.

Yes. According to § 12 StAG, the threat of economic or property disadvantages is a reason why you do not lose your citizenship and automatically become a dual citizen.

If your home country prohibits you from giving up your citizenship, then you automatically become a dual citizen. Then § 12 para. 1 StAG.

Yes. Argentina or Brazil are such examples. Argentine and Brazilian citizenship laws do not provide for the loss of citizenship. Accordingly, one then becomes a dual citizen directly upon naturalization (Einbürgerung) in Germany.

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