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Is it possible for an Australian citizen to acquire German citizenship and keep their Australian citizenship?

(All the links I've been able to find are going the other way—about Germans retaining their German citizenship upon taking up Australian.)

  • In general, a person is expected to give up their previous citizenship when naturalizing as German. There are some exceptions, but information about these is hard to come by. See bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/FAQs/EN/Themen/Migration/Staatsang/…. – phoog Aug 25 '16 at 14:04
  • "In certain cases or for certain groups of persons, however, multiple nationality may be considered."—yes, I want to know what those cases are. – Robert Atkins Aug 25 '16 at 14:40
  • Well according to Wikipedia, they are (1) the other nationality is EU/CH; (2) a German is naturalized elsewhere with permission; (3) a refugee is naturalized in Germany; (4 and 5) German and other nationality is acquired at birth. Also most descendants of those who lost their nationality under Nazi laws can be dual citizens. If you can trace German nationality from a German ancestor via jus sanguinis, you may also be in luck. I'm leaving this as a comment as I have no direct experience of any of this. – phoog Aug 25 '16 at 15:33
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Germany does generally not allow dual Citizenship, so they will ask you to resign the Australian citizenship first.

There are exceptions, of course:

  • some countries' citizenship cannot be resigned
  • some countries citizenship is by birth, so even if you resign it, you get it automatically back.
  • some countries theoretically allow resigning, but the process results in harrassment, jail, or worse
  • you can apply for an exception, for various personal reasons, but it's not too easy and 'just because you'd really like to keep the other one' is not considered a sufficient reason.

For an exception, typically you need to prove strong personal bindings to both countries, significant employment consequences (limitations), or specific financial hardships that would come from not having either citizenship.

Personal bindings could be ongoing longterm relationships, family, etc.; be ready to prove it - 'we are phoning all the time' is not enough.

Employment consequences could be you cannot apply for a significant part of your qualified jobmarket without the citizenship, like missing security clearances that only citizens can get.

Financial Hardship could be you have a mortgage in the country and you would not be able to refinance without being a citizen, etc.

The list is not exclusive, but should give an idea of the level of convincing arguments needed.

  • 1
    This is good info, do you have a reference? – Robert Atkins Aug 25 '16 at 17:21
  • No, sorry. I personally know three people that applied and got such an exception; but I have no written source on the internet. – Aganju Aug 25 '16 at 20:12
  • Does Germany actually ask for documentation that the other citizenship was renounced? I ask because the United States, for instance, in theory does not allow multiple citizenship, but in practice it isn't enforced; you don't have to document that you've actually renounced citizenship at, say, a consulate of your previous country. – Kyralessa Aug 29 '16 at 20:29
  • The USA does explicitly not care about other existing citizenships; they consider them irrelevant [source: USCIS]. Germany did require in the past that you show the renunciation document. I doubt that has changed, but I have no information from this year. – Aganju Aug 29 '16 at 20:37

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