How powerful is my British passport

German citizenship for the British and vice versa: Be faster than Brexit


by Dr. Imke Schneider


After Brexit, Brits living in Germany are currently facing the question of naturalization. Imke Schneider shows why a corresponding plan should be implemented until the exit is completed.

After the United Kingdom leaves the EU, British citizens will initially lose all privileges that come with European citizenship. This applies, among other things, to the free movement of EU citizens. Articles 45 and 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) guarantee the free movement of workers and the freedom of establishment for employed persons. There is also the general freedom of movement regulation in Art. 21 TFEU. In Germany, the law on the general free movement of Union citizens (Freedom of Movement Act / EU) regulates the legal status of Union citizens and their family members who are entitled to free movement.

From the EU's perspective, Britain will become a third country through Brexit. The extent to which freedom of movement will continue to exist is still uncertain. This will only emerge from the exit negotiations. In case of doubt, the general immigration law provisions of the Residence Act could initially apply to Brits in Germany. In order to take up or pursue gainful employment, you may then need a corresponding residence permit.

One possibility for British citizens to continue to enjoy freedom of movement in the EU even after Brexit is to additionally assume German citizenship. Political demands to offer young British citizens in particular German citizenship have already been voiced in the past few days.

Actually, multiple nationalities should be avoided

In any case, until the UK's exit from the EU is completed, dual citizenship can still be achieved relatively easily under current German naturalization law. After Brexit, this would first require a change in the law.

British nationals who have been living and working in Germany for some time, but also British nationals who do not live in Germany but have close ties to Germany and regularly stay here, should therefore now ask themselves whether they - if they are present the other naturalization requirements - want to take on German citizenship in addition to British citizenship.

In principle, German citizenship law applies that multiple citizenship should be avoided. Accordingly, the naturalization regulations in the Nationality Act (StAG) provide that a foreigner must give up his previous nationality when naturalizing. There are exceptions to this principle, including the naturalization of EU citizens (cf. § 12 StAG).

They can therefore accept German citizenship in addition to their foreign citizenship if the other naturalization requirements are met. This also applies to citizens of Switzerland, but according to the current regulatory situation not to citizens of the EEA countries. However, it is disputed in the commentary literature whether the exemption could be extended to these states in the context of an analogy.

Dr. Imke Schneider, German citizenship for the British and vice versa: Be faster than Brexit. In: Legal Tribune Online, July 6, 2016, (accessed on: May 19, 2021)

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  • Because I campaigned against Guantanamo Bay, for fair suffrage and data protection (pirate AK Vorrstadatenspeicherung), my connection was bugged and my computer was confiscated. Fiedensfürt Obama himself should have annoyed it when I reminded him by fax on the occasion of his visit to Hanover that Guantanamo was still not closed. The Stasi was a kid's garden in relation to what's going on here. I am a jouranlist. I am a blogger. I have already been politically imprisoned through elections so that I cannot participate in them. I was beaten up by the police.

    In the UK there is no STASI 2.0 that does system critic house searches
  • The CDU decided yesterday (December 7th, 2016) at its party congress to abolish dual citizenship for foreign children. I live in the UK, so currently still in the EU, but I was born German in Germany (i.e. not a foreign child). My question: if I also accept British citizenship before Brexit is completed, do I have to run the risk of losing dual citizenship again if the CDU's party conference decision becomes a reality?

    Gerhard Muller-Kosack
  • Nice that politics welcomes dual citizenship, but where the hell can I get the application forms ???

    Susan Bromby
  • that would interest me too

  • Hello,

    I will know why I cannot have a German passport? I'm 70, I was born in Germany, my mother, 93, is still alive and was born German. But if she got married to my English father, then she lost her German nationality. I was born as a German because my mother didn't get married, but after 7 months after my birth she and we both lost our German nationality!
    It means a lot to me, who never grew up in Germany, to have something of value from Germany, the country from my birth.

    Karen Hardman
  • Hello, what is the situation if, as in my case, you marry your British wife in 2018? Double citizenship possible? Will she be able to continue working here? The confusion is great at the moment. Thank you, Klaus Sauer

    Klaus Sauer
  • I have lived in Bielefeld for 30 years, today I had an appointment with the city of Bielefeld for naturalization, without success! First, they ask for a certificate to prove that I can speak German (although I have lived here for 30 years and we only speak German Then it was time to certify all documents, birth Ürkuende, etc. Since I have a family book, I could have some of it. It starts a harassment action and has to make 3 appointments based on the copies of various documents the incompetent has Employee did not fit, so it turned out really delicious. I have a recognized job through the IHK with certificates but I still have to go to the language school to be able to present a certificate ??? I am not a Yes man, and I am not in the kind of bully, that's because of that I decided that the German passport can be stuck where the sun doesn't shine !!! I'm waiting for what will happen after the Brexit, because I am firmly convinced The Germans can't kick me out. But I have to say I know hundreds of people who have received a passport, but can't even write A to Z! Poor Germany and the city of Bielefeld have to stop the harassment.

  • In my opinion, many people from Bielefeld are red-nosed and unhelpful!

  • I want to see if the city of Bielefeld will kick me out after Brexit ... a terrible office full of workers who are only arrogant. I was also employed in the public service for 12 years, always worked, and trained in Germany Made by the IHK and still have to go to a language school to get a German passport ... a laughing number. Yes, I don't write perfectly, I know, but I can communicate well and when I hear what the city of Bielefeld wants and notice that they just want to fool me because they have no idea, because they show no skills in what they are there for, i can only say donate my passport to the refugees who are criminals, who are dangerous for our society, the murderers and rapists are ... that is supported that are the future German people .... well done Bielefeld city ... you must be very proud! Well done Angela..your people will love you for th is .... ha ha ha !!!!

  • @Harry without joke ask in Gütersloh for .......

    The problem is the unlimited residence permit is NOT valid after 2004 because of new EU laws!
    I think it's a cheek that every non-EU citizen gets a permanent contract after 5 years but as a Briton I get NOTHING at all for 26 years

    Tomorrow I will ask GT about what you really need and then I will submit a complaint to Pit Clausen (otherwise I address him personally, often I see him in the park with his dog!) Bielefeld Immigration Office is EVERYTHING LAST

  • For the sake of completeness, a supplementary case should be dealt with:
    Does existing law guarantee that a British citizen who has already acquired a second German citizenship under the German regulations for EU citizens can retain both citizenships after Great Britain leaves the EU?

    Derek John Way
  • I have had a permanent residence permit since July 25, 1997. Will there be any disadvantages for me because of Brexit?

  • I was born in Germany and married my Scottish husband in Germany in 1976. Then applied for and got my UK citizenship. I've lived in Scotland since then. But now I would like to apply for my German passport again. I still have the old, expired German passport. Can I get my passport again because of my birth and how do I have to handle it?

  • Hello, I am a British citizen and live in Bonn. I completed and submitted my application to the Immigration Office on December 20th, 2018. Today on January 22nd, 2019 I received the notification of naturalization and will receive my naturalization certificate on Wednesday (January 23rd, 2019). First-class service in the immigration office of the city of Bonn, the employee Ms. Görges deserves special mention. Thank you and I have only had the best experiences here in Bonn. Thanks.

  • Hello, since I can prove a German university degree, I didn't need a German test, but I paid the fees of 255 euros.

  • thanks

    Sabine Wintin
  • I have already taken the first steps towards aspiring to dual citizenship. But how does it look the other way round? I am British by birth and my wife is German! Are our children 18 and 16 allowed to accept British too?

    Michael Timothy Hagon
  • Hello Michael - I found the following information:
    If British citizens living outside the UK have children out-of-country, the children will not automatically receive British Citizenship by descent. The ways for children to get British citizenship if they were born abroad outside the UK, is through adoption, naturalization or (usually) registration. Parents can register a child as a British citizen through a simple process using the application form MN1.
    A child must be registered as a British citizen before they can apply for a British passport. They must also be registered before they can enter the country. Registering as a British Citizen for a child born abroad can be done at any time before the child turns 18.
    It is best to inquire at the British Embassy.

    Regarding my own cause (see message from January 18):

    I turned to the citizens' office in my place of birth.
    I was told the following:

    In accordance with Section 25 (1) of the 1976 Reich and Citizenship Act (RuStAG), German citizens lose their German citizenship by law when they acquire the new citizenship, unless they were in possession of your express retention permit at the time, or if they did not have a place of residence or permanent residence had in Germany. This so-called "domestic clause" was not repealed until January 1, 2000 when the law was changed.

    Thank goodness I still have the de-registration certificate with which I can prove that I was still in Germany at the time of acquiring British citizenship.

    My sons, who were born in the UK in 1979 and 1981, have German citizenship because until 2000 the principle of descent was exclusively in force in Germany. A child became German at birth if at least one parent was German.

  • Hello, a question, my husband is English and retired and has been in Germany for 20 years, what about naturalization, the pension only comes from the UK.
    He won't pass a test, his German is too bad.
    He can take care of himself, but after Brexit he will no longer have health insurance.

    Silke Hoppe
  • Hello Silke

    Maybe this link will help

    The following is stated here

    Are you married to a German citizen and do not meet the requirements for naturalization with a naturalization claim?
    Then find out from the citizenship authority responsible for you whether naturalization as a husband or wife of a person with German citizenship is possible at discretion.
    This naturalization option for married people also applies to people who live in a registered civil partnership.
    The marriage or civil partnership must be valid for the German legal system and still exist at the time of naturalization. The German spouse or life partner of the naturalization applicant must be a German citizen at this time.
    Service details

    Requirements for naturalization are:
    Your marriage is recognized under German law and exists with naturalization.
    You have been married to your German husband or wife for at least two years. Your husband or your wife has had German citizenship for at least two years and also has this at the time of naturalization.
    You and your family members run your own household in Germany. The main focus of your living conditions is in Germany.
    You have been in Germany for at least three years. If you have interrupted your stay, the competent authority can credit previous stays.
    You have an unlimited right of residence. A residence permit is sufficient for Swiss citizens and their family members. Under certain conditions, a residence permit is also sufficient for other third-country nationals.
    You meet the requirements for the naturalization of foreigners without a naturalization claim, unless special regulations apply.
    You have sufficient knowledge of the German language.
    You meet the requirements of the language test for the Zertifikat Deutsch (B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference) in oral and written form.
    You have sufficient knowledge of the legal and social order and the living conditions in Germany. You can prove this either through a successful naturalization test or through the final certificate from a German general school (at least Hauptschule).
    Note: You do not have to prove knowledge of German and knowledge of the legal and social system if you meet the requirements
    due to a physical, mental or emotional illness or disability or due to age.

  • There won't be a Brexit! l have said for the past year that there will be a 2nd referendum and if there is, this time more people will vote Remain!
    l also hear on TV this morning that Theresa May`s advisor overheard a conversation in a pub in Brussels that "there will be no Brexit"! VERY revealing !!
    TRANSLATION in German:
    There will be no Brexit! I have said for the past year that there will be a second referendum, and if it does, more people will vote this time around.
    This morning I also hear on TV that Theresa May's adviser overheard a conversation in a Brussels bar saying that "there will be no Brexit"! Very revealing !!

    Karen Hardman
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