Are there people without nationality

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The German nationality law knows various reasons for loss, which are presented below.

Loss by taking on a foreign nationality

The most common reason for losing German citizenship is acquiring a foreign citizenship upon your own application (you can find detailed information on this in the information sheet from the Federal Office of Administration in Cologne.

For Germans living in the USA who have acquired US citizenship on their own application, this means: With the acquisition of US citizenship, German citizenship is regularly lost if a retention permit has not been granted beforehand. Children born after naturalization then no longer acquire German citizenship from their former German parent.

Conversely, if these children were born before the parent's naturalization date, they have regularly acquired German citizenship.

The loss of German citizenship, on the other hand, does not usually occur if underage children are automatically naturalized through their parents. This so-called extension acquisition usually does not lead to a loss of citizenship.

Loss due to entry into foreign armed forces

As a matter of principle, voluntary entry into foreign armed forces of a state whose nationality the person entering has since 01/01/2000 without the prior consent of the Federal Ministry of Defense constitutes a reason for loss of German citizenship.

As of July 6, 2011, the procedure has been simplified for certain countries. Accordingly, consent is now deemed to have been granted for Germans who are also citizens of

- Member States of the European Union (EU),

- Member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA),

- Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or

- States on the list of countries according to Section 41 (1) of the Residence Ordinance

and have joined the armed forces of one of these states. This regulation also includes the USA. A separate application is therefore no longer necessary. The consent is deemed to have been given. However, the entry must not have occurred before July 6, 2011 in order to be able to refer to this blanket approval.

Loss by renouncing German citizenship

A German can renounce his German citizenship if he has several citizenships. The waiver becomes effective upon delivery of the waiver certificate.

Renunciation of German citizenship

Loss by dismissal

A German can be released from his German citizenship if he has been assured of the requested acquisition of a foreign citizenship.

Release from German citizenship

Loss due to persecution by the Nazi regime


Special regulations apply to those persecuted by the Nazi regime who were deprived of their German citizenship for political, racial or religious reasons between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945. These persons and their descendants may have a right to naturalization according to Art. 116 II GG.

Loss through adoption

Since January 1, 1977, German citizenship can also be lost through the adoption of a German child by foreign parents. This means that children who were adopted by foreign nationals before this date have regularly not lost their German citizenship.

Loss through legitimation

The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled on November 29, 2006 that the legal provisions on the loss of German citizenship in the event of legitimation by a foreigner are no longer applicable retrospectively from April 1, 1953. This means that illegitimate children of a German mother who were legitimized by a foreigner after March 31, 1953 have not lost their German citizenship.

Loss through marriage

German women who married a foreigner before May 23, 1949 lost their German citizenship even if they became stateless. You may be able to be naturalized again.

German women who married a foreigner between May 23, 1949 and March 31, 1953 only lost their German citizenship if they did not become stateless as a result. Since April 1st, 1953, marrying a foreigner is no longer a reason for loss.