Germany plans British exception to citizenship rules during Brexit transition

Germany plans to allow British nationals who apply for German citizenship during the Brexit transition period to retain dual nationality. The proposal is contained in a draft bill tabled by the German Foreign Ministry to ensure legal clarity during the period following the UK departure from the European Union.

Under current rules, people obtaining German citizenship have to renounce their previous nationality, unless they are from a member state of the European Union or from Switzerland. The draft law clarifies that the German government will continue to regard British citizens as EU citizens during the Brexit transition. So those eligible will be able to apply for German citizenship and retain both passports. The draft bill specifies that the date of application counts, to avoid people missing out due to delays in processing requests.

In 2015, only 622 Brits acquired German citizenship. But the number rose dramatically after the EU referendum, reaching 2,865 in 2016 and 7,493 in 2017, according to the Federal Statistical Office.

Based on the draft withdrawal agreement, the transitional period should last from 30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020. During this time the UK will continue applying EU rules but will no longer be represented within the EU institutions. British nationals are also set to lose EU citizenship on 30 March 2019. A German passport will allow Brits meeting the requirements to maintain EU citizenship, with the economic and political rights deriving from it.

The draft bill does not mention German citizens seeking British naturalization. Dual nationality is currently allowed if British citizenship is obtained before the official Brexit date, according to a letter seen by Europe Street.

The draft bill will have to get the parliament approval and is expected to be enforced from the day the withdrawal agreement will come into effect.

While Germany allows dual nationality for EU citizens, Austria, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Slovakia are among EU countries that do not permit or limit the chances of getting dual citizenship. A recent report by the House of Commons Exiting the European Union committee warned that in the absence of free movement, some British nationals living in EU countries “may have to choose to renounce their British citizenship and apply to become a citizen of their host country to enable them to continue to live their lives as now.”


Claudia Delpero © all rights reserved.
Photo via Pixabay.

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