Naturalisation and Dual Nationality: Immigration Law after Brexit.
British citizens in Germany do not have to make the efforts to obtain a right of residence as described above if they have a right of residence as a European Union citizen or have already been naturalised in Germany. Following Britain’s official withdrawal from the European Union and its current classification as a “third country”, British nationals can only claim rights as citizens of the Union if they have more than one nationality. In addition to British nationality, you must hold another nationality of a member state of the European Union other than German nationality.
Furthermore, the EU has concluded an agreement with several non-EU states on extensive rights of residence. This means that after the end of the transitional period, British nationals can claim continuing rights of residence if they hold an additional nationality of the following countries:
In order to invoke a right of residence in Germany from a multiple nationality, you must have provided proof of this to the relevant registration authority.
Naturalisation: German Immigration Law after Brexit
The fact that naturalisation has become popular as a “Brexit solution” for some British nationals is particularly evident in the significant increase in naturalisation figures in Germany.
Especially after the Brexit referendum on 23 June 2016, there was a jump in the number of naturalisations of UK citizens in Germany. In 2017, after the referendum on leaving the EU, a total of 7,493 naturalisations were counted. In comparison, 622 UK citizens were naturalised in Germany in 2015. At that time, the debate on leaving the EU was still in its early stages. Then in 2019, naturalisation numbers of UK citizens in Germany peaked at 14600.
Naturalisation, a popular alternative to claiming residence rights under the withdrawal agreement, is only possible under strict conditions. In addition, the official exit from the EU has brought about some changes with regard to the possibility of acquiring dual citizenship, which must be taken into account when applying for naturalisation.
Dual Citizenship: German Immigration Law after Brexit
For many dual nationals, the question arises as to whether they will have to choose one nationality after the Brexit transition period until 31 December 2020 or lose the other when acquiring one nationality.
If you already have dual nationality at this point, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will not affect this. This means that you do not have to choose between German and British citizenship, because the withdrawal agreement protects these pre-existing rights.
In return, acquiring a second nationality after the official withdrawal may pose some problems. German nationality law basically provides that a German loses German nationality as soon as they acquire foreign nationality. Multiple nationalities are usually to be avoided. An exception was made for EU member states in 2007. According to § 25 (1) Nationality Act (StAG), a German does not lose German nationality if he or she acquires the nationality of another member state of the European Union or Switzerland. In turn, this also applies to the retention of EU citizenship when acquiring German citizenship. Thus, the exemption previously also applied to the United Kingdom and was also effective until 31.12.2020 due to the transitional period.
However, applications submitted by 31 December 2020 also permit dual nationality, even if the acquisition has not yet taken place by the aforementioned date. For such a case, the German legislator has provided a remedy with Art. 3 of the Brexit Transition Act. However, it is a prerequisite that all other naturalisation requirements were fulfilled before the end of the transitional period and continue to be fulfilled when the naturalisation certificate is handed over.
However, dual citizenship is no longer possible for naturalisation applications submitted after 31 December 2020 or for applications whose requirements were not met until after that date. In this case, you lose your British citizenship when you acquire German citizenship. You should bear this in mind when applying for naturalisation in Germany.