Second citizenship has incredible upsides – visa-free travel, protected security and wealth, lucrative business opportunities, and more.
However, some countries do not recognize the possibility of second citizenship and may automatically revoke the citizenship of their nationals as a result. This is exactly the case with Germany.
Becoming a second citizen while having a German passport
The citizens of Germany cannot hold dual nationality on a legal basis. It is particularly disappointing considering that the country is the second-highest tax burden for single earners among high-income countries. One of the most important rules of German nationality law is based on avoiding multiple nationalities. That being said, there are certain exceptions to this rule.
When can you have dual citizenship?
- Children born to non-German and German parents could have the nationality of both parents
- Ethnic German repatriates and family members admitted with them acquire German citizenship when they are issued a repatriates certificate, in accordance with Section 7 of the Nationality Act; they do not have to give up their previous citizenship. If allowed by their countries of origin, their children born in Germany then acquire at birth both German citizenship and that of their parents
Is that all? At first glance, it seems that if you are not lucky enough to have a parent from a foreign country, then there is no further action to be taken towards dual citizenship. However, there is one small but important exception.
What is a German Retention Permit, and why you may need it
The first thing you can do while applying for second citizenship is to apply for Beibehaltungsgenehmigung — a German Retention Permit. Beibehaltungsgenehmigung is a document that protects from the loss of German nationality. It is important that you can get a German Retention Permit only before applying for second citizenship in any other country.
What are the reasons for applying for a German Retention Permit?
The applicant must provide reasons when applying for dual nationality. It is important to demonstrate why in your particular case, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. These advantages must be concrete. For example, the presence of a usual place of residence abroad is a weighty argument.
The holders of a German Retention Permit may have the freedom to relocate whenever they want. Of course, everything must be agreed upon in advance. You cannot get a German Retention Permit, and then think, “What country is best for me?” By the nature of the German Retention Permit, you should understand what you are looking for, and why this would be beneficial.