Can Russians have dual citizenship





Retention permit

Russian Federation

General retention permit



generally applies to Acquiring a foreign nationalitythat German citizenship will be lost (§§ 17 No. 2, 25 Paragraph 1 StAG). A legal regulation that links the loss of citizenship to the voluntary, application-based acquisition of a foreign citizenship does not meet any fundamental constitutional concerns, because the loss occurs due to actions of the person concerned, which are based on a self-responsible and free will, has the BVerfG Decided in 2006. The need to choose between German and foreign citizenship, which may arise under certain circumstances, is not in itself unreasonable. It is a consequence of the constitutionally unobjectionable decision of the legislature against the unrestricted acceptance of multiple nationality. The decision on the application to retain German citizenship is a discretionary decision, which in accordance with Section 25 (2) of the StAG presupposes weighing private and public interests. In the case of an applicant who has his habitual residence abroad, the main focus is on whether he has continued ties to Germany. One should see clearly that in view of the case law and the (following) law it is not routine to allow multiple nationality, even if the following applies: The avoidance or elimination of multiple nationality no longer has priority since the change in the law, cf. BVerwG 2008. Rather, according to the Federal Administrative Court, the private interests of the individual in establishing or retaining dual or multiple citizenship are in principle to be weighed on an equal footing with the public interest in avoiding multiple citizenship.

Russian Federation retention permit


We are increasingly working on cases from clients who want to have German and Russian citizenship at the same time. Can I become Russian without losing my German citizenship? In this case, as in the other cases of countries outside the EU, the principle applies that if a foreign nationality is assumed, German citizenship is lost (§§ 17 Paragraph 1 No. 2, 25 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1 StAG). Accordingly, a foreigner who accepts German citizenship must regularly give up his previous citizenship (Section 10 (1) No. 4).


Previous regulation / practice in the Russian Federation


By law, foreigners had to swear an affidavit to give up their previous citizenship in order to apply for a Russian passport. Nevertheless, double citizenship existed in Russia even before that, as far as one orientates oneself on the constitution. According to Article 62 of the Russian Constitution, a Russian citizen can also be a citizen of another state, in the approximate wording of Article 62:


1. Citizens of the Russian Federation may, in accordance with federal law or international treaty, have the citizenship of another state (dual citizenship).


2. If a citizen of the Russian Federation is a citizen of a foreign state, this does not affect his rights and freedoms and does not release him from the obligations arising from Russian citizenship ...


3. Foreigners and stateless persons enjoy the same rights and obligations in the Russian Federation as citizens of the Russian Federation ...


“Dual citizenship” has so far been granted primarily to citizens of those foreign countries that have signed a special international agreement with Russia. The rule was that only the proof had to be provided that you had applied to give up your previous citizenship, not the task itself, Starinski notes. "Therefore it is theoretically possible to keep both without getting problems."


Foreigners living in Russia no longer have to give up their previous citizenship to take Russian citizenship. President Vladimir Putin recently signed a law to simplify the naturalization process. The regulation is intended to motivate residents of neighboring countries whose mother tongue is Russian to become citizens. The law also simplifies the naturalization of foreigners with Russian spouses. Anyone who has been married to a Russian for at least three years and has children together can receive a Russian passport without proof of income.

The Retention permit can be granted if public or private concerns justify the acquisition of foreign citizenship and the continued existence of German citizenship and there are no overriding concerns that conflict with the grant. General difficulties in business dealings, in establishing business relationships and in identity checks may be bothersome and costly, but are not sufficient for dual citizenship. The assessments of Section 12 (1) sentences 1 and 2 no. 5 StAG alone did not open up such a legal consequence for this. With regard to the intended business relations with Turkey, the court did not see that the Applicant concrete significant economic disadvantages within the meaning of Section 12 Paragraph 1 Clauses 1 and 2 No. 5 StAG. Even because of an inherited property, there are no significant financial disadvantages. Nonetheless, the court saw that the prescribed balancing would have incorrectly weighted the plaintiff's private interests as well as the public interests of avoiding multiple nationality. The authority attached too little weight to the private interests because they measured them exclusively against the criterion of the materiality threshold of § 12 Abs. 1 Sentences 1 and 2 Nr. 5 StAG and therefore exclusively based them. That is wrong, because even those, within the meaning of Section 12 Paragraph 1 Sentences 1 and 2 No. 5 StAG, do not have significant disadvantages Retention permit with ancillary provisions in particular can justify if an applicant seeks only a temporary acquisition of a foreign nationality.


On the basis of this too high standard, the authority did not seriously examine that the plaintiff was exposed to disadvantages in everyday life because of the different names in his identification documents. The public concern of avoiding multiple nationality the authority attached too much weight. This concern has a significantly lower weight than the average of the application procedures according to § 25 Abs. 2 StAG, because the applicant only requested the retention permit for a temporary period of about one year. This weighting does not do justice to the plaintiff's request and at the same time ignores the fact that the temporary acceptance of multiple nationality, also with a view to the addition of a condition, can be an entirely appropriate means of complying with the prohibition of excess.

We have carried out numerous retention procedures. If we know your constellation, we can say with some experience whether there is a chance of success in your case.