Home German Lifestyle How and When Can German Citizenship Be Revoked?

How and When Can German Citizenship Be Revoked?

German citizenship
German citizenship

When applying for German citizenship, you may wonder about the permanence of having a German passport. Knowing when German citizenship can be taken away is vital information for applicants. Let’s examine the laws and situations that can lead to losing German citizenship.

Legal Framework

German citizenship is mainly safeguarded by the Nationality Act, which delineates limited cases where citizenship can be revoked. Importantly, such revocation happens only in exceptional situations and must conform to legal statutes to guarantee fairness and compliance with constitutional law.

Grounds for Revocation


1. Criminal Convictions

German citizenship cannot be revoked solely due to criminal convictions, as confirmed by Dr. Sonja Kock of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community. However, exceptions exist under section 28 of the Nationality Act, where involvement in terrorist activities abroad may lead to citizenship loss, provided it doesn’t render the individual stateless.

2. Fraudulent Naturalization

Section 35 of the Nationality Act allows for the withdrawal of citizenship within ten years if the applicant provided false information during the naturalization process. If discovered, the withdrawal is retroactive, nullifying the citizenship as if it never existed. However, authorities consider individual circumstances, such as coercion or bribery, before making a decision.

3. Adoption by a Foreign Citizen

Adoption by a foreign national can result in the forfeiture of German citizenship, as it alters the individual’s legal status.

4. Joining Foreign Armed Forces

Without the consent of German authorities, joining the armed forces of another nation can lead to citizenship loss.

5. Acquiring Citizenship in Another Country

Failure to apply for retention of German citizenship upon acquiring citizenship in another country can result in forfeiture unless specific exceptions apply.

Key Points to Remember

  • German citizenship can only be revoked if it doesn’t render the individual stateless.
  • Exceptions exist for involvement in terrorist activities abroad and fraudulent naturalization.
  • Individual circumstances are considered before revocation decisions are made.
  • Criminal convictions alone cannot lead to citizenship revocation.
  • Adherence to legal statutes ensures fairness and due process.


In summary, while acquiring German citizenship offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to understand the conditions under which it can be revoked. By adhering to legal statutes and maintaining transparency throughout the naturalization process, individuals can safeguard their citizenship status and enjoy the privileges it entails.


  • Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community
  • Germany’s Nationality Act

By disseminating accurate information and clarifying misconceptions surrounding German citizenship, we empower individuals to make informed decisions regarding their legal status and rights within the country.


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