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Double citizenship possible for non-EU nationals
Federal Administrative Court creates clarity
EU foreigners can retain their citizenship when naturalizing in Germany, even if their country accepts dual citizenship when naturalizing Germans. With this judgment, the 1st Appeal Senate of the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled in April 2004 in favor of a Greek psychotherapist. The plaintiff had applied for his naturalization in Bavaria, but did not want to give up his Greek citizenship either (BVerwG 1 C 13.03).
The defendant city in Bavaria had refused naturalization with the argument that there was no reciprocity. This is already the case because, unlike Germany, Greece does not provide for a compulsory right to naturalization, but only grants it at its own discretion. On the other hand, the applicant successfully sued the Bavarian Administrative Court.
The Federal Administrative Court rejected the appeal by the Bavarian State Prosecutor's Office. The reciprocity requirement anchored in the Aliens Act relates to the acceptance of multiple citizenship in the respective EU member states, the court explains in a communication. "On the other hand, it does not require that the other requirements and consequences of naturalization also agree."
With the reform of citizenship law in 1999, the legislature wanted to facilitate naturalization for EU nationals, argue the Leipzig judges. This relief would not be achieved if, on the basis of reciprocity, one demanded that other EU states also provide for the entitlement to naturalization, which is essentially only anchored in Germany. Not only naturalization law, but also naturalization practice would have to meet the requirement of reciprocity. This was found in Greece by the Administrative Court.
So far, individual federal states have placed further requirements on the requirements of reciprocity, according to the court's notification. The representative of the federal interest pointed out that the Federal Republic had been criticized for the restrictive naturalization practice of these federal states abroad. The decision of the Federal Administrative Court confirmed the legal opinion of the federal government and granted the plaintiff a right to naturalization.
With the law on the reform of citizenship law of July 15, 1999, the federal legislature adopted a special regulation in Section 87 (2) of the Aliens Act (AuslG) with regard to the goal of advancing European integration: Union citizens are not required to give up their previous citizenship for naturalization in Germany if the other EU member state does the same in return for naturalization of Germans.
Germans who are naturalized in an EU member state are permitted to retain their German citizenship with a permit in accordance with Section 25 (2) of the Citizenship Act. This makes it easier for Germans living abroad to retain their German citizenship when acquiring the citizenship of the country of residence. This regulation currently applies to the EU countries Greece, Great Britain, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden, France, Belgium, Finland and Italy, in the Netherlands only to certain groups of people. Due to a different interpretation of Section 87 (2) Foreigners Act by the authorities of the Free State of Bavaria and the State of Baden-Württemberg, there has been some irritation in the naturalization of Union citizens. Bavaria has appealed against a judgment of the Bavarian Administrative Court of April 3, 2003, so that a nationwide uniform naturalization practice can only be expected after a decision by the Federal Administrative Court.
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