Under Article 116 II of the German Basic Law, the Grundgesetz “Former German citizens who between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945 were deprived of their German citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds may have their citizenship restored. This generally also applies to their descendants.”
What would an applicant have to prove?
An applicant would have to prove, first and foremost, that he or she is the descendant of a former German citizen. In some cases, not many, the applicant may be lucky as family archives hold a variety of documents providing proof of former German citizenship, such as old passports or registration cards in which citizenship is noted.
What to do when you are not in the possession of supporting documents?
Turning to the German embassy for help to investigate evidence will not yield results, they are not equipped to conduct “research”.
They merely hand out forms to be completed and collect them to be forwarded to the relevant German authority, i.e. the Bundesverwaltungsamt, for further processing. The Bundesverwaltungsamt will then evaluate your documents and conduct a research on your behalf and depending on its outcome and on the accompanying documentation provided by you, grant or deny your petition.
We at GCR specialize in considerably expediting the process by conducting the research prior to even approaching the Bundesverwaltungsamt and, only once the required proof is found and all other documentation have been received, file the petition on the client’s behalf, so that a positive outcome is almost certain. All that’s left for the Bundesverwaltungsamt to do is to cross reference our findings with what they require for approval and simply tick the boxes.
This cooperation between us and the Bundesverwaltungsamt has been established some 18 years ago via our legal department.
In general, petitions without the required proof or an incomplete list of documents can take more than a year and a half to process.
But by us investing in approximately three months of research, this processing time can potentially be reduced to only six to eight months.
How does the research phase work?
The client provides us with every bit of information he/she holds on the person in question. The minimum information we require would be name, date and place of birth. Every little extra detail is highly welcome, be it the names of the parents or siblings, addresses, names of schools or where they studied or worked, whether they ever received any form of payment from Germany and so on.
Further, we will ask to review copies of all original German documents the family may have in its possession, be it registration forms, family booklets, travel documents or even vaccination cards.
All these may provide us with a lead to yet another archive in which to search.
We are then provided with a number of original copies of power of attorney of the applicant, so that we can commence the research in as many archives a we can possibly think of.
Bear in mind that the research fee is relatively low and will later-on be set off against a petition fee, should the research be successful. We therefore have a vested interest in finding the necessary document, while conducting the research is ultimately of no extra cost to the client.
As to the chances of finding proof, they vary according to the region we are searching in.
Some cities and the registries therein have been more bombed than others during the war, so it highly depends on the location the client directs us to.
Of course, it also depends on how much information we are provided with. Based on the experience of almost 18 years, it is safe to say that if a person was indeed a German citizen, there is a 60% chance that we will succeed in proving it!
So instead of filing a petition where the outcome is unclear, why not increase your chances by having all the required documentation ready and speed up the process at the same time?