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German Law/German Immigration Law x Constitutional Principles


Dear Andreas,

I am a brazilian citizen from german origins, from both mother and father sides. I've been reading all about the german immigration laws but couldn't find the answer to my question.

My german ancestry dates to around 1824, when the first german citizens came to live in Southern Brazil. Unfortunately, the citizenship laws don't apply to my case, since I have a woman (my both grandmothers) in my german line. Neither one of them applied in the german consulate for their childrens, mainly because they have very simple origins and don't even knew they were (or had the right to be) german citizens.

I've been reading about the german government effort on correcting the mother descent citizenship problem, with a simpler naturalization proccess. It shows that the question has been acknowledge for in the german gevernment.

I am not sure I can apply for the facilitated naturalisation (I was born in 77, but for what I've been reading only my mother and father would have the right, and their citizenship - if acquired now - would not be transfered to me), but it wouldn't be an option anyway, since brazilian laws demand that any citizen to acquire a new nationality must give up the brazilian citizenship. As a public employee, that is not a viable option to me.

My question is: do you think we have ground for a case in the german constituional courts, questioning not my case, but the immigration law itself? I know that the laws were hanged and no more woman discrimination exists, but the effects of the previous laws still prevail and they are discriminatory to women and their descent. Many other european countries (I know many cases from Italy, for example) were similar laws were overruled by constitutional courts. Do you know any similar case in German? Do you think there is a chance to succeed in such a complain?

Thank you in advance,

Eduardo Avila

Hello Eduardo,

no, there is no chance.

When an injustice is detected, it needs to be rectified. This happened in 1975 in this case (before your birth).
But there is no right to have this correction backdated indefinitely, particularly not in citizenship law. There is no constitutional entitlement to German citizenship. People losing citizenship or having to decide between two citizenships happens all the time. And we don't even have a case of someone being rendered stateless here.

Also, both your parents and you can apply for naturalization without living in Germany - - but you would need to speak fluent German and as you pointed out, you don't want to give up Brazilian citizenship anyway.

Lastly, a lot of procedural hurdles need to be overcome to file a constitutional complaint with the German Supreme Court (see for an overview of the process). In this case, your main problem is that a complaint against a law needs to be filed within one year of the law having been passed. Well, that's long gone. Your other option would be to make an application the German consulate, get it rejected, sue against that, appeal against that negative judgment and so on.
It would take years and only make your lawyer rich. There are better ways to spend your money, I am sure.

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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