You Or Family Lost German Citizenship In WW2? May Reclaim Citizenship Under Article 116

Posted on: 9 July 2021


There's no doubt it was very difficult growing up in Germany during World War 2. For some, however, it was even more difficult because they had to escape their homeland due to political reasons and consequently lost their German citizenship. Not only did they lose their German citizenship, their descendants who would have rightly been German citizens did as well.

Fortunately, in 2020, the German Constitutional Court amended the criteria for citizenship in Article 116 to extend it to this group of people. Because of this change, some U.S. citizens are seeking information on whether or not they can claim or reclaim the German citizenship they and their family members lost all those decades ago. 

Seek Counsel with an Article 116 Lawyer to Determine Eligibility

The key question to answer in determining if someone is eligible to reclaim their German citizenship under these changes is whether or not they would have had German citizenship naturally at the time of their birth if it had not been for the Reich Law that took their citizenship away.

That said, there's no cut-and-dry, one-size-fits-all answer because the laws regarding birthright citizenship have changed a number of times over the years. Therefore, to determine eligibility for the individual, seek counsel with an Article 116 lawyer

Reclaim German Citizenship While Still Keeping Your U.S. Citizenship

You can reclaim German citizenship yet still keep your U.S. citizenship. You will become a dual citizen. There are specific laws that apply to dual citizens that you need to be aware of, such as which passport to use and when, as well as other issues such as paying taxes, especially if you choose to live in Germany. Your lawyer will be able to give you more specifics on what to expect should you decide to reclaim your citizenship in Germany due to the changes in Article 116. 

Work with a Lawyer to Submit the Necessary Documentation 

If you have decided to reclaim your German citizenship and become a U.S.-Germany dual citizen, you will need to submit documentation proving your eligibility. Since the documentation will be reviewed by a German official, it's important that you hire an Article 116 lawyer to help you. That way, you will avoid any confusion that could lead to a lengthy process. If you cannot locate an Article 116 lawyer near you, search for lawyers who specialize in U.S.-German dual citizenship laws and immigration attorneys.