Citizenship; application for retention of German citizenship

German citizens who naturalize in another state usually lose their German citizenship. With a permit to retain German citizenship, they can also remain Germans.


If you, as a German, acquire another citizenship upon application, you automatically lose your German citizenship.

If you acquire a foreign nationality and wish to "retain" your German nationality, you must apply for a "Beibehaltungsgenehmigung" (retention permit) from the competent authority. If your application is granted, you will receive a certificate of approval to retain your German citizenship (Beibehaltungsurkunde).

Since 28.08.2007, Germans who acquire the citizenship of a state of the European Union or Switzerland no longer lose their German citizenship. Therefore, they do not need a Beibehaltungsgenehmigung.


The retention permit can be granted if it is determined in the course of a discretionary weighing that the personal reasons and interests of the applicant outweigh the public interest in avoiding multiple nationality.


The application must be submitted to the competent district administrative authority with supporting documents and justification.

The retention permit is issued after checking the requirements and is usually handed out by the authority.

Special notes

  • The retention permit becomes effective only when the deed is actually delivered to you. The issuance of the certificate or the message that the certificate is on its way is not sufficient. If you have authorized a person for this procedure, the certificate becomes effective upon delivery/delivery to that person.
  • If the foreign citizenship is acquired before you or your authorized representative(s) have the document "in hand", you will lose your German citizenship. Therefore, it is recommended that you do not apply for naturalization in another state until you have already been issued the retention permit.
  • If your naturalization in the other state is delayed, you must apply for a new Beibehaltungsgenehmigung (so-called "Anschlussurkunde") in good time (approx. six months before it expires) in order to avoid losing your German citizenship.
    The Beibehaltungsgenehmigung issued serves as proof, even after it expires, that you have not lost your German citizenship despite acquiring a foreign citizenship. You should therefore keep the retention certificate permanently and securely together with the naturalization certificate of the other state. This evidence can also be a valuable help for future generations (e.g. for your children/grandchildren) if German citizenship has to be proven.


The retention permit must have been issued before the acquisition of the foreign citizenship and must still be valid on the day of the acquisition of the foreign citizenship. Otherwise, it does not prevent the loss of German citizenship.

The retention permit is valid for a maximum of 2 years.

Processing time

The processing time can be several months. It is significantly influenced by the extent to which you support the citizenship authority within the framework of your duty to cooperate and by the cooperation of foreign offices, on whose processing time there is no possibility of influence.

Required documents

  • Application available from the competent authority
  • Evidence of continuing ties in Germany

    For example documents about

    • relatives living in Germany
    • professional ties
    • land/property ownership
    • pension entitlements
    • Pension withdrawal

  • supporting documents concerning the reasons for the acquisition of foreign nationality

    For example, evidence of concrete relief/benefits in the case of naturalisation or the avoidance/elimination of concrete disadvantages

    • in training or studies
    • in the exercise of a profession
    • in the awarding of scholarships or grants
    • in business relationships (e.g. in public administration contracts)
    • in the acquisition/sale of real estate
    • in inheritance law
    • in residence law, insofar as the burdens/disadvantages do not concern foreigners in general (e.g. concrete disadvantages when a spouse joins you, but not the lack of the right to vote in the host country)
    • other concrete advantages for you in the case of naturalisation


  • The fee for the retention certificate is 255 EUR.


Administrative court proceedings; information

An appeal against a negative decision by the authority can be filed with the competent administrative court.

Status: 09.01.2023

Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium des Innern, für Sport und Integration

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