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Dual German-Israeli Citizenship: German Citizenship Lawyers

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our experienced German citizenship lawyers advise on all matters concerning dual German-Israeli citizenship. As experts in the field of German immigration and German citizenship law, our dedicated team is here to provide comprehensive service whether you are applying for German citizenship due to ancestry or descent, seeking advice as someone living in Germany for German citizenship through naturalisation, or in cases concerning retaining your German citizenship before applying for Israeli citizenship. German dual citizenship law is a complex field and, for that reason, it is recommendable to consult with experienced legal professionals before starting the process.

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Contact Schlun & Elseven for expert advice regarding dual German-Israeli citizenship

German Citizenship, Israeli Citizenship and Dual Citizenship Law

Dual citizenship law is complex as it requires both the law within the two countries to allow for dual citizenship. In many instances, Israel permits dual citizenship, and a significant portion of its population holds dual citizenship. Such instances primarily refer to those claiming Israeli citizenship under the “Law of Return”. However, dual citizenship law in Germany is quite restricted. Whereas German law permits dual citizenship between German citizens and those from other European Union countries (and Switzerland) under § 25 StAG, it is more difficult in cases concerning “third-countries” such as Israel.

For German citizens based in Israel looking to naturalise as Israeli citizens, they should beware that Israeli law does not generally allow for those seeking Israeli citizenship by naturalisation to maintain their previous citizenship. Also, please consider that German law may require you to give up your German citizenship when being naturalised by a non-EU “third country”. German citizens can retain their citizenship by applying for the “Beibehaltungsgenehmigung” (Retention Permit). If you are a German citizen living in Israel considering how to gain the Retention Permit, please consider all of its requirements before applying for Israeli citizenship.

Gaining German citizenship can be brought about in the following circumstances as outlined by § 3 Nationality Act (StAG)

Our German citizenship lawyers advise on all matters relating to German citizenship law.

Israeli citizenship can be obtained by birth, naturalisation and the “Law of Return“. Israeli citizenship by birth can be gained in the following circumstances:

  • Citizenship can be granted to people born in Israel to a mother or a father who are Israeli citizens.
  • For persons born outside Israel, where their father or mother is an Israeli citizen, acquired either by birth in Israel, per the “Law of Return”, residence, or naturalisation.
  • Persons born after the death of one of their parents, if the late parent was an Israeli citizen at the time of death.

For Germans based in Israel, it is possible to become an Israeli citizen by naturalisation should they have an Israeli permanent residence permit and have settled or intend to settle in Israel. However, as above, there is a general requirement to give up previous citizenship (which Germany allows for), but it is advisable to consult with a legal professional in advance of application as to how this requirement applies in your situation.

The “Law of Return” allows Jewish people from all over the world the right to come to Israel as an oleh (a Jew immigrating to Israel) and to become an Israeli citizen. However, exceptions exist for those who have serious crimes on their criminal record and those who may be considered dangerous to the state. Once again, obtaining professional legal advice from a reliable source is advisable.

German Citizenship by Descent & Ancestry

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our team of citizenship lawyers oversee applications for German citizenship by descent. The process of claiming German citizenship by descent involves sourcing the appropriate documents, determining whether your link to Germany is strong enough to apply and completing the application process itself. Thorough preparation is vital for success.

German citizenship by descent can be claimed through connections to Germany in the direct family line. The direct family line, in this case, means that if your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents were born in Germany, you might be able to qualify for German citizenship. However, determining and then proving that your family line opens up the possibility of claiming German citizenship is not straightforward. To claim German citizenship by descent:

  • Your ancestors had their citizenship taken away under Nazi rule on political, racial or religious grounds between 1933 and 1945,
  • Your birth was before 1975 to a foreign father and a German citizen mother, born in wedlock,
  • Your birth was before 1975 in wedlock, to a German father and a foreign mother,
  • Your birth was before June 01.07.1993, to a foreign mother, and your father was a German citizen at the day of your birth, born outside of wedlock, and paternity is proven before you turn 23,
  • None of your parents ever claimed German citizenship, but you had a German grandparent or great-grandparent,
  • Your birth was after 1975 in wedlock to a German parent.

Claiming citizenship due to your ancestors losing their citizenship between the years 1933 and 1945 is per § 116 German Constitution, which states

Former German citizens who, between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945, were deprived of their citizenship on political, racial or religious grounds and their descendants shall, on application, have their citizenship restored.

In recent years, there has been momentum in this area to widen those eligible under this section and now includes:

  • children born in wedlock prior to 1 April 1953 to mothers who were forcibly deprived of their German nationality and foreign fathers,
  • and children born out of wedlock prior to 1 July 1993 to fathers who were forcibly deprived of their German nationality and foreign mothers.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our legal team advises on all issues concerning German citizenship for ancestors of Nazi victims. Our lawyers will assess your specific case, determine whether you are eligible for German citizenship and determine whether you will be able to maintain your current citizenship, thereby allowing you to benefit from dual German-Israeli citizenship.

The Retention Permit “Beibehaltungsgenehmigung” for German Citizens in Israel

The “Beibehaltungsgenehmigung” (Retention Permit) is a permit that allows German citizens applying for the citizenship of other countries to maintain their German citizenship. Our law firm advises clients based around the world on it and oversees their applications. Germans in Israel who are interested in applying for the Retention Permit should be aware that they should apply for the Beibehaltungsgenehmigung before formally starting the application process for Israeli citizenship.

The application processing time can take over 14 months of processing and should be considered vital for those seeking dual German-Israeli citizenship. Our lawyers are experts in the field of German immigration law and will oversee the entire process. When applying for the Retention Permit, the Federal Administrative Office will make a discretionary decision on the granting of the application in which the public and private interests of awarding the permit will be weighed up (§ 25 (2) p. 3 StAG). These public and private interests concern whether the applicant can justify holding dual or multiple nationalities. If they can justify these reasons for gaining the retention permit and there are no overriding concerns in its granting, the permit will likely be granted.

Please note that the “Beibehaltungsgenehmigung” Retention Permit application form needs to be completed in German. From there, the application must be submitted to the competent authority with an original and a simple copy. The documents required for the application include the proof of possession of German nationality (e.g., identity card), proof of entitlement to reside in Israel (if applicable), and proof of ties to Germany reasons for acquiring Israeli citizenship.

Our lawyers have successfully overseen many Retention Permit applications and will advise you on the acceptable grounds for acquiring additional citizenships. Contact us now for comprehensive support.

Loss and Restoration of German Citizenship

Under § 28 StAG, German citizens can lose their citizenship if they join the armed forces of another country without the prior permission of the Federal Ministry of Defence or its designated representative. This rule has been in place for those who have joined the armed forces of another country after January 1st, 2000. An exception is in place for joining the armed forces of other NATO countries after July 6, 2011, however, although Israel is an ally of NATO it is not a member of the organisation. Therefore, dual German-Israeli citizens who may be considering joining the Israeli army run the risk of losing their German citizenship. If you make the decision to join the army, without writing to the relevant bodies beforehand, you run the risk of having your German citizenship automatically removed by law. However, it can be restored

German citizenship can also be lost in cases where a German citizen is adopted by foreign parents and they acquire the parents’ foreign citizenship.

Under German law, it is possible for those who have had their German citizenship removed to restore it. Often, the restoration process involves giving up the other acquired citizenship but the applicant can apply to maintain their current citizenship. The process for maintaining that citizenship is similar to the application for the Retention Permit. Please consult with a legal professional for specialised counsel on this matter and an in-depth examination of your case.

Why Use a Lawyer When Applying for Dual German-Israeli Citizenship?

Simplify the process of applying for dual German-Israeli citizenship by allowing our experienced German citizenship lawyers manage your application. Our legal team will assess your personal situation and determine whether it follows the complex requirements of dual citizenship law. Applying for dual citizenship is a time-consuming process and there are many inherent risks involved. Not having a legal professional oversee the application leaves it open to delay and rejection.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte our lawyers willanalyse your application, examine your documentation and advise you on whether you should make the application for dual German-Israeli citizenship. Whether it is for you or your children, our experieneced lawyers will be there throughout and they will ensure that the application follows the stated requirements.

As the process is so complex, we would always advise our clients to contact our legal team in advance of making the application. Mistakes made in the application process lead to further delays and complications. Our lawyers will assess whether dual German-Israeli citizenship is possible for you and ensure that you are fully aware of the consequences of what continuing with a citizenship application will entail.

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Practice Group: German Citizenship Law

Practice Group:
German Citizenship Law

Sandra Zimmerling


Daniel Schewior


Samir Muratovic


Nicole Eggert


Julie Schäfer