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German Law/Non-EU Countries for Second Non-German Citizenship



Thanks for your blog & online FAQs. I wasn't able to find an answer to this, if it already exists please do point me to it:

I'm a German citizen by birth with no known recent ancestry outside of Germany. I would like to pursue a second (non-EU) citizenship / passport and I've read that there are non-EU countries for which Germany allows dual citizenship, for example those which make it difficult to renounce their own citizenship.

Is it possible to attain one of these citizenships as a second citizenship without risking my German citizenship? Are there countries for which one does not need special / repeated Beibehaltungsgenehmigung?

My main criteria:

* Does not put my German citizenship at risk
* Avoid regular legal paperwork like Beibehaltungsgenehmigung (and proof of ties to Germany) if possible.

Is there a list of such countries available somewhere?

I have additional criteria (location, tax, ease of attainment, etc) but can work those out from a larger list.

Thanks much for your time,

Hello Fred,

the list of countries which make it impossible/hard to renounce their citizenship is not relevant here. These countries are only relevant for citizens of those countries who wish to obtain naturalization in Germany. In these cases, Germany does not insist on waiving primary citizenship.

But your question addresses the reverse case.

If you don't want to go through a Beibehaltungsgenehmigung, you are only safe if you receive a second citizenship without having applied for it. Basically, you need to receive it by accident or as a legal consequence of something else.
The classical case used to be citizenship by marriage. Some countries automatically bestowed their citizenship upon anyone (or sometimes only the wife) who married one of their citizens. However, I am not aware which countries still do that today. It has gone out of fashion.
The other example would be honorary citizenship for which you don't need to apply. But then, you will need to save that country's president or a large number of its citizens from a terrorist attack or something like that. Maybe Russia is the easiest option if you speak out against the West and praise Putin. But then, you would have sold your soul.

Honestly, I don't now of any country where that is possible. And the language of 25 I 1 StAG is quite clear. If you file an application, you lose your German citizenship once the foreign one is awarded (except within the EU).
If your attachment to the German citizenship is really an attachment to an EU citizenship, then you could apply for another EU citizenship (of a country that doesn't have a problem with dual citizenship), and then apply for a third-country citizenship and you would keep the latter two and only lose German citizenship.

Lastly, getting the "Beibehaltungsgenehmigung" is not that hard because you decide when to apply, so that you can create the requirements yourself before doing so.

Andreas Moser  

German Law

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Andreas Moser


Extensive experience in international family law, especially international child abductions and child custody cases. All other areas of German law as well: constitutional law, criminal law, business and contract law, immigration law, inheritance law, and so on.


Lawyer in Germany from 2002 to 2009. Lawyer for US Army JAG Corps before. Bar-certified specialisation in family law and in administrative law. Articles and lectures about international and domestic family law.


2000 Law Degree from University of Regensburg, Germany 2002 admitted to the bar (until 2009) 2013 MA Philosophy at the Open University, UK

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