Historically, any German national residing in another country who chose to naturalise as citizens of that country would automatically lose their German citizenship. German law states that prior to acquiring another citizenship, a German national has to obtain permission from the relevant German authorities, and if such permission is not given, their German citizenship will be lost. German nationals can also be subject to an administrative fine if they fail to obtain the necessary permission.
Since 28 August 2007, Germany has allowed its nationals to acquire the citizenship of another EU country (or Switzerland) without requiring any form of permission or forfeiting their German nationality. This is one of the few exemptions that will allow German nationals to hold dual citizenship.
Following Brexit, this exemption will not include British citizenship, unless an exceptional agreement were to be reached. Whilst Germany approved a bill that allowed British and German nationals to apply for dual citizenship during the Brexit transition period, there has been no indication that such a bill will be considered once the transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020.
As such, if a German national residing in the UK, who holds indefinite leave to remain or Settled Status, has made a successful application to naturalise as a British citizen prior to 31 December 2020, they may be able to hold dual German and British nationality.
However, as the law currently stands, Germany will not permit dual citizenship for those who do not meet the naturalisation residency requirements prior to 31 December 2020, and who choose to apply to naturalise as British citizens (and are successful) after 31 December 2020. In this situation, German citizenship must be surrendered upon becoming British. (Beibehaltungsgenehmigung).
If you are a German national residing in the UK who wishes to remain in the UK after the end of the Brexit transition period, you must apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. Should you wish to naturalise as a British citizen and retain your German nationality an application for naturalisation must be submitted prior to the end of the transition period. Please see https://www.gherson.com/blog/brexit-has-happened-what-now for further details. Should you require any further information in light of your current circumstances please do not hesitate to contact us. In light of the complex nature of German law, all applicants should seek independent legal advice from a German lawyer before proceeding with any citizenship application.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.