Would you give up the citizenship of Singapore?
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On January 1, 2000, the new German Citizenship Act (StAG) came into force, which fundamentally renewed the “Reich and Citizenship Act” (RuStAG) of January 1, 1914, which had previously been in force.
You can find detailed information on the website of the Federal Office of Administration
Acquisition by parentage
German citizenship is acquired on the basis of descent from a German parent. Birth in Germany has only led to acquisition of German citizenship in a few individual cases since 2000.
A child acquires German citizenship if one of the parents has German citizenship when the child is born. In the event of a birth out of wedlock, the child generally acquires the nationality of the mother. Since July 1, 1993, the child born out of wedlock has been able to acquire the nationality of the father if paternity has been effectively determined under German law and the determination procedure has been initiated before the child's 23rd birthday.
At this point, we would also like to point out a regulation that will only become important in the future, most likely only for the generation of your grandchildren: Children born abroad of German citizens whose parents were also born abroad after December 31, 1999, only acquire German citizenship if the parents report the birth to the responsible German diplomatic mission abroad within one year.
Acquisition through naturalization
German citizenship can be acquired through naturalization. A foreigner who has legally been habitually resident in Germany for 8 years can acquire German citizenship if he:
* has sufficient knowledge of German and
* has not committed any criminal offenses and
* is able to provide for himself and his relatives, i.e. does not make use of any social benefits.
Naturalization in the German state association generally requires that the naturalization applicant give up his previous citizenship (exceptions exist if the person to be naturalized is a citizen of a member state of the EU or Switzerland).
In the case of habitual residence abroad, naturalization can take place under the above-mentioned conditions if the Federal Republic of Germany is also interested in naturalization and there is evidence that special ties to Germany exist. Here, too, the previous nationality usually has to be given up (see above).
The procedure is a discretionary decision. The requirements are particularly high and naturalization is only granted in exceptional cases.
The competent authority is the Federal Office of Administration (BVA) in Cologne. Application forms and detailed information can be found on their website: Federal Office of Administration (BVA)
The Request you can submit the relevant documents via the German Embassy for forwarding to the BVA. The German Embassy certifies your signature on the application and forwards it to the BVA.
Please understand that the German Embassy cannot provide any information on the status of processing.
Naturalization of descendants of victims of Nazi persecution
The decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of May 20, 2020 - 2 BvR 2628/18 - expanded the group of beneficiaries from Article 116, Paragraph 2, Clause 1 of the Basic Law (GG).
As of now, descendants in the sense of nationality also count
- legitimate children born before April 1st, 1953 to German mothers and foreign fathers who have been expatriated and
- Children born out of wedlock before July 1, 1993 to German fathers who have been expatriated and foreign mothers.
Recourse to the existing naturalization options according to Section 14 of the Citizenship Act in conjunction with the decrees of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Home Affairs of March 28, 2012 and August 30, 2019 is no longer necessary.
Those affected by this, whose application for naturalization according to Article 116, Paragraph 2, Sentence 1 of the Basic Law has been rejected in the past according to the previous case law, can contact the diplomatic mission abroad at any time.
Facilitated naturalization options according to § 14 StAG apply to the following persons:
- Children, regardless of their date of birth, whose German parent acquired foreign citizenship and lost German citizenship in the period from January 30, 1933 to May 8, 1945 before February 26, 1955 in connection with Nazi persecution measures:
- Before 02.26.1955, father or mother lost their German citizenship in connection with National Socialist persecution measures by adopting a foreign citizenship (naturalization).
- The mother lost her German citizenship before April 1st, 1953 through marriage to a foreigner or stateless person (§ 17 No. 6 RuStAG old version).
The possibility of naturalization is also available to descendants of these children up to the so-called generation average according to Section 4, Paragraph 4 of the Nationality Act (StAG). This states that children born abroad whose parents, who are decisive for the acquisition of German citizenship, were themselves born abroad after December 31, 1999, can only acquire German citizenship under the conditions specified there. For the last time, the descendants born after December 31, 1999 in the line of succession have the possibility of facilitated naturalization. For their underage children, however, there is a transitional arrangement until December 31, 2021.
Further information, application forms and information sheets can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Administration: Federal Office of Administration
If you have any questions, please contact the German diplomatic mission responsible for you.
Retention of German citizenship if you are naturalized in another country
According to Section 25 of the Citizenship Act (StAG), a German who acquires foreign citizenship on application automatically loses his German citizenship unless he has received prior written approval to retain German citizenship (“retention permit”).
Note: The automatic acquisition of a foreign citizenship without an application does not lead to the loss of German citizenship. Anyone who acquired a foreign nationality by birth and, at the same time, German nationality by descent from a German parent, has both nationalities without having to apply for a retention permit.
An exception applies to Germans who are naturalized in an EU country or in Switzerland: In these cases, German citizenship is not lost. A retention permit is therefore not required (legal situation from 08/28/2007).
You apply for a retention permit at the embassy. From there, the application is forwarded to the Federal Office of Administration. During the procedure, you must make it credible that you still have ties to Germany.
Please note that all statements refer exclusively to German citizenship law. Whether and under what conditions the other state allows multiple citizenship can only be clarified by the local authorities.
Further information can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Administration
Not gainful employment if you are born abroad
If born abroad, children whose German parents or German parents were born abroad after December 31, 1999 and who are / has their habitual residence abroad at the time of the child's birth do not acquire German citizenship by birth, if they acquire foreign citizenship by birth (Section 4 (4) sentence 1 in conjunction with sentence 3 of the Citizenship Act).
The child will only acquire German citizenship retrospectively at the time of its birth if the parents submit an application to the responsible registry office in Germany or the responsible German diplomatic mission in the birth register within one year of the child's birth.
Mr A is transferred to Grenada from his company in 1999. His daughter Klara was born there on February 1st, 2000. The family returns to Germany after a few years. In 2018, Klara met a citizen from Trinidad and Tobago with whom she moved to Trinidad. Her son will be born there on January 1st, 2020. Although his mother is German, he does not acquire German citizenship by birth, as he acquires citizenship of Trinidad and Tobago by birth.
In order for the child to acquire German citizenship, Klara or the child's father must submit an application to the responsible registry office in Germany or the responsible German diplomatic mission abroad for the birth of their child to be certified. If the application is submitted on time and in full, the child can be issued a German passport upon application.
Please note: All Germans (expats and emigrants) who were born abroad and have a child abroad can be affected by this regulation, regardless of the reason and length of their stay abroad.
Dual citizenship / military service
German citizenship law is based on the principle of avoiding multiple citizenship. This means that a German who accepts a foreign nationality upon application will automatically lose the German one.
Germans who apply for the citizenship of a member state of the European Union or Switzerland after August 28, 2007 do not lose their German citizenship.
Singapore does not accept dual citizenship. If you want to acquire the Singaporean citizenship, you have to give up the German citizenship. It is not possible to retain German citizenship.
Children who derive German citizenship through descent from German parents and Singaporean citizenship through descent from a Singaporean parent usually automatically have dual citizenship.
However, according to Singaporean law, a dual-national child must choose one of the nationalities by the age of 21. Should the child opt for Singaporean citizenship, he or she must submit an application to renounce German citizenship.
According to the military law of Singapore, all male Singaporeans as well as holders of permanent resident status (PR) are required to serve for 16 years and 6 months. Compulsory military service generally ends at the age of 40. Military service lasts 2 years. It is not possible to do alternative civilian service or the like.
The convocation begins at the earliest at the age of 18. From the age of 13, however, an exit permit may be required for a long-term or permanent stay abroad. The embassy recommends contacting the relevant Singaporean authority when traveling from this age.
Loss / renunciation of citizenship
German citizens who acquire citizenship of another country on their own application automatically lose their German citizenship (§25 StAG).
Germans who voluntarily enter the service of the armed forces or comparable armed associations of a state of which they are also citizens without the consent of the competent authority (Federal Ministry of Defense) have automatically been losing their German citizenship by virtue of the law (Section 28 StAG) since 2000.
People with dual citizenship have the option of renouncing their German citizenship. You can find information here: Waiver of German citizenship
Right to vote for Germans abroad
Germans abroad who are registered in Germany
Germans who stay abroad temporarily (for example during a longer vacation) and are still registered in Germany are officially entered in the electoral roll of their municipality and can exercise their right to vote by postal vote.
Information on postal voting
Germans abroad WITHOUT RESIDENCE in Germany
Who is eligible to vote? Pursuant to Section 12 (2) sentence 1 of the Federal Election Act, if the other requirements are met (completion of the 18th year of age on the election day and no exclusion of the right to vote in accordance with Section 13 of the Federal Election Act), those Germans within the meaning of Article 116 (1) of the Basic Law who are outside Federal Republic of Germany, provided they live
1. have either lived in the Federal Republic of Germany for at least three consecutive months after they have reached the age of 14 (i.e. from the day of their 14th birthday) and this stay was no longer than 25 years ago, or
2. if they have acquired personal and direct familiarity with the political situation in the Federal Republic of Germany for other reasons and are affected by them.
The necessary familiarity with the political situation in the Federal Republic of Germany must have been acquired personally in each individual case on the basis of personal experience and directly. A purely passive participation in communication, for example by consuming German-language media abroad, is not sufficient. Affectedness can result from the fact that a German foreigner is currently subject to German sovereignty (for example due to the employer), but is not limited to this.
How can you take part in the election?
Both of the above-mentioned variants require an application for entry in the electoral roll to be newly created before each election of the responsible municipality in Germany. The Germans abroad named under 2. must also make credible the facts that prove a personal and immediate familiarity with and concern of the political conditions in the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Application form and further information can be found on the website of the Federal Returning Officer
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