German Citizenship under Article 116 #germany

Richard Oppenheimer

This question is to those who have successfully obtained German Citizenship through Article 116. How long did it take from your application submission until you received a certificate of naturalization of citizenship; and when did you apply? Thanks.


This online group is an excellent source of German Citizenship restoration information and support:
Good luck,
Jim Gelbort



I am not sure, but it maybe not enough to have a relatives from Germany (before 1940th), but also to prove your German.

If you need to be teached, I do it for free. I am jewish and teaching German at one university. It was my dream to teach jews online.

Please contact me:

Melody Schloss

My husband, my son, and two of my grandchildren received German citizenship under this Article.  My father-in-law was the individual through whom they qualified.  They applied in December of 2014 and received it in February of 2015.  This may, however, been expedited by the fact that my brother-in-law had already gone through the process and received his citizenship, and my husband, etc. could reference his file.  
As I recall they did have to have proof of my father-in-law's German birth (we have his birth certificate) and of course, the birth certificates of those applying. They did not have to prove knowledge of the German language.
My husband also succeeded in obtaining a German passport.

Melody Schloss
Santa Barbara CA

Naomi Sachs

FWIW, we applied in August 2019. At the time they said it could take 18 months to two years to process.  Of course that was pre-COVID and pre-full Brexit - no idea what the lead times look like now.

Ben Kempner

The German Consulate in Los Angeles told me to expect a 2 year wait after submission of all the required documentation. It's now been 25 months and I'm still waiting, but I suspect Covid slowed everything down.

David Seldner

Sorry I am answering so late.
It took two months, that was in 2016. Since I live in Germany I had to apply personally and brought notarized documents which prove that my father (and his parents) were German and left in 1940.They told me they only have to verify the information.
David Seldner, Karlsruhe, Germany

Peter Lobbenberg

I applied in June 2018 and was told it could take up to two years, although "in the old days" it used to be much quicker - but in the event citizenship took "only" 14 months and my new passport another two months.  That's from the UK and through the German Embassy in London, England, who were extremely helpful throughout.  Among other factors that I'd imagine could affect how long it takes might be (1) the country from which you're applying, (2) the backlog at any given time, (3) any issues or problems with the particular application or the supporting documentation, and of course (4) COVID and lockdown.

Peter Lobbenberg, London, UK


It took me about 5 months in 2017, but 2 months of that was waiting for a ceremony at my local Consulate (Toronto).

The process was very smooth.  I used a Berlin lawyer to handle it for me.

Good luck.

David Seldner

The German Federal Constitutional Court has ruled that many rejections of applications were not legal because the courts interpreted the laws too narrowly. This means that some negative decisions can be reversed. Here is an article that was published yesterday. One can use Google Translate or other tools to translate the text.
David Seldner, Karlsruhe, Germany

Ernst-Peter Winter

... and the judgement could be found at
reference number: - 2 BvR 2628/18 -

Ernst-Peter Winter, Münster (Hessen)

Am 18.06.20 um 14:24 schrieb David Seldner:

The German Federal Constitutional Court has ruled that many
rejections of applications were not legal because the courts
interpreted the laws too narrowly.


Do you think having a lawyer expedited the process or made it easier? If so, could you please share or PM the name of your attorney? I'm finding gathering the necessary documents daunting. I'm also worried because my German is so poor. Thank you.

David Seldner

Well, I did it myself, already had all the papers through my research and had them notarized in the States. The application lists what you have to know and the form is available in English. Look under, at the end of the page.
If your application was denied and you want to give it another try, it might make sense to hire a lawyer.
Actually, I am not even sure you have to prove the connections - if you have the dates and locations I think they have to check whether it is correct. I gave them the papers because I already had them and was told they only have to verify it. Getting the documents should not be that difficult, writing to the municipal archives should do the job. If have a lawyer do it, you will have to pay for it and German lawyers may charge less than US lawyers but still more than enough :-)

David Seldner, Karlsruhe, Germany



It certainly helped me here in Canada.  The German lawyer I used was:

Dr. Esther Weizsäcker

Siewer Weizsäcker Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftgesellschaft mbB

Potsdamer Straße 86

D-10785 Berlin


Best of luck,

Marc Stevens