Dual citizenship

The principle of avoiding dual citizenship

Staatsangehoerigkeit Enlarge image (© picture-alliance/dpa) The German rules on citizenship are based on the principle of avoiding dual citizenship. This rule does not apply to Germans who receive the other citizenship by law or who applied for and received a citizenship of a member state of the European Union or Switzerland after August of 2007.

The German law on citizenship mandates that German citizens who voluntarily apply for and accept a foreign citizenship will automatically lose the German citizenship if they have not been granted a permission to retain the German citizenship prior to applying for a foreign citizenship.

This Beibehaltungsgenehmigung is granted by the Federal Office of Administration in Germany on an individual basis. To obtain the permission, you must prove that you still have substantial ties to Germany and are in a personal situation in which the dual citizenship would be beneficial to you and/or avoid individual detriments. 

Please note that applications have to be submitted to the German Embassy and that proficiency in German is mandatory.

Please read more on our German website:


German-Singaporean dual citizenship by birth

While the German rules on citizenship are based on the principle of avoiding dual citizenship, this principle does not apply to children who receive dual citizenship through descent from their parents (e.g. a German mother and a Singaporean father).

However, as Singapore does not accept dual citizenship, German-Singaporean children have to decide for one citizenships when they turn 21 according to Singaporean law. If the child decides against the German citizenship, he/she has to apply for renouncement of citizenship (read more below).

New Rules for German parents who were born outside of Germany after December 31st, 1999

The German Law on Nationality states that children who were born outside of Germany to one or more German parent(s) who themselves were also born abroad on or after January 1st, 2000, will no longer automatically acquire the German citizenship through the sole principle of descent from a German parent. Exceptions apply if the child would otherwise be stateless or if the German parent(s) will register(s) the birth with the competent German mission abroad within one year of the birth of the child (Sect. 4, 4 of the German Nationality Act).

Important: Only persons born outside of Germany on or after January 1st, 2000, will have to register their children with the German Embassy if the children are also born outside of Germany and if the parents wish they (also) hold German citizenship.

If you are a German parent born before January 1st, 2000, and your child was born outside of Germany after this date, you do not have to register your child with the German Embassy. The above mentioned rule might however become important to your grandchildren.

Renunciation of German citizenship

If you live in the Singapore, possess Singaporean (or another) citizenship in addition to German citizenship, and, for certain reasons, wish to renounce your German citizenship, you must file an application through the German Embassy. Read more...