FAQ on German Citizenship Law – updated 2022

Almost every day, I receive e-mails with the same questions. So I decided to post the most frequent questions – and of course the answers to them – for everyone to read for free. I therefore invite you to browse these FAQ before you contact me (or any other lawyer) about your case.

Before asking a new question, please read through the many comments which may already answer your questions. And if you find these FAQ useful or if you ask a new question, it would be very nice of you to support this blog. Thank you!

1. Does Germany have a system of ius sanguinis or ius soli?

Germany has traditionally always been a ius sanguinis country, meaning that citizenship is passed on to the next generation by birth, irrespective of the place of birth. Only recently (1999) has the law been amended to incorporate ius soli, giving German citizenship to a child born in Germany to two parents of foreign citizenship.

I will explain these different ways of obtaining citizenship in more detail below.

2. Does ius sanguinis mean that I am entitled to German citizenship if I have German great-great-grandparents, even if they left Germany generations ago?

Possibly, but not automatically. You are a German citizen under ius sanguinis if your ancestors had German citizenship at the time of the birth of the next generation and passed on this citizenship respectively. It is therefore necessary to find out the exact timeline of events to determine if your ancestors might have lost their German citizenship (e.g. by giving it up voluntarily, or by accepting a foreign citizenship) or if they still had it and could thus pass it on.

You see that this requires a lot of research into your family history and into the respective laws of the relevant points in time. But if you are lucky, you might have German citizenship even if your parents never knew about it and neither you or them have ever been to Germany.

3. Is there any chance to obtain German citizenship for someone without German ancestors?

Yes. You can become a German citizen trough the ius soli option (more about this below), through adoption by a German citizen and through naturalization.

Please note that German citizenship cannot be obtained through marriage with a German citizen, although this does increase your chances of naturalization.

4. So what is the ius soli component of German citizenship law?

Ius soli means the acquiring of a citizenship based on being born in a country’s territory. Germany’s ius soli law is much less far-reaching than that of the USA or Mexico for example. Since 2000, a child born to foreign parents in Germany is born a German citizen if at least one of its parents has been a legal resident of Germany for at least 8 years and has a permanent residence status (§ 4 III StAG).

Because these children usually also receive the citizenship(s) of their parents, they will have dual or triple citizenship.

5. Does German law allow dual citizenship?

Germany disapproves of dual citizenship, but cannot completely prevent it, especially in cases where only one parent is German and the child receives two different citizenships at the moment of its birth. In these cases, both citizenships are of equal standing and nobody could be forced to give up one of them.

In cases of naturalization however, Germany requires the foreigner to give up his or her original citizenship in order to obtain a German passport (§§ 9 I Nr. 1; 10 I Nr. 4 StAG). There are quite a number of exceptions to this requirement (§ 12 StAG), for example if your home country does not allow you to renounce citizenship, or if the loss of your original citizenship would result in the loss of economic rights in your home country, and for all citizens of another EU country. Restitution cases are also exempt from the requirement to renounce your existing citizenship.

Lastly, the current government has announced that it will relax the rules on dual citizenship. If you follow this blog, you will automatically hear about it as soon as it happens. Or maybe a few weeks after, if I will be travelling at the time.

6. How long do I have to live in Germany before I can get a German passport?

For the spouse of a German citizen, the residence requirement is usually 3 years (of which you need to have been married for the last 2 years).

For other foreigners, it is between 6 and 8 years, depending on your language skills.

After 8 years of residency, a German passport can no longer be denied, you have acquired an entitlement to it (if you fulfill the other requirements, e.g. German language skills, no criminal record, no dependency on welfare).

7. Is it possible to obtain German citizenship although I don’t live in Germany?

Yes. § 14 StAG opens this possibility if you can show that you have close ties to Germany despite your residence in another country. Due to the number of questions about this possibility, there is now a special set of FAQ on naturalization from abroad.

8. How do you lose German citizenship?

There are several ways how German citizenship can be lost (§ 17 StAG): The main cases are applying for another citizenship (§ 25 StAG), renouncing German citizenship if this does not render you stateless (§ 26 StAG) and adoption by a foreign parent (§ 27 StAG).

9. Are there special rules for victims of the Nazi-regime and descendants of these victims?

Yes. The Nazis stripped a number of Germans of their citizenship for political, racist and anti-Semitic reasons. These former German citizens or their descendants have a right to have their German citizenship reinstated (Art. 116 II GG).

Please see the FAQ on reclaiming German citizenship for more on this.

10. If I don’t meet any of the legal requirements, is there still a chance for me to get a German passport?

Do you play football very well?

If all of this text is too much for you, please check out my infographic on German citizenship law.

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in German Law, Germany, Immigration Law, Law and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2,077 Responses to FAQ on German Citizenship Law – updated 2022

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  3. Yaz says:


    The post in this page is full of info, i thank you so much for it,

    I would you mind if i ask what do you mean in Question #5 (if the loss of your original citizenship would result in the loss of economic rights in your home country)


    • In some countries, if you give up your citizenship, you lose all your property rights there, especially relating to real estate. Some countries will declare you ineligible to inherit any property.
      In these cases, Germany would not insist on you giving up your previous citizenship.

      Because there are so many questions about dual citizenship, I’ll be happy to post a list of FAQ about dual citizenship in Germany or relating to German citizenship as soon as somebody deems it important enough to send me a book from my wishlist.

    • Nicolaas says:

      Hello Andreas
      I am a South African, My father grandfather French and my grandmother German.
      My Ex is German and we have a daughter together, they live in Berlin. I fly her to south Africa once a year but we would like to see each other more. Can I get German citizenship due to my daughter being German?
      Kind Regards
      Nicolas Joubert

    • Unfortunately there is no way for parents to derive citizenship from their children. It only works the other way round.
      Non-German parents can derive a residence permit in Germany from their German children (§ 28 I Nr. 3 AufenthG), but that’s a matter for a different set of FAQs.

    • Nicolaas says:

      Thanks Andreas.
      What entitles a residence permit?
      Kind Regards

    • I will publish the FAQ about residence in Germany as soon as someone finds it important enough to send me a book from my wishlist.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Andreas,

      My Grand Farther was born in Germany and went to Namibia formally know as South West Africa. My Mother had a german passport as a child which has expired and she has passed away. I was born in 1982 to a German Mother and South African Farther.

      Would I be able to become a German Citizen ? My Sister was born in 1975 and my parents got her a passport when she was little. She recently got her German passport.

      Am I eligable ?
      Christoff Bisschoff

    • Gretel Hermann Villa Juan says:

      Hi Andreas,
      I was adopted when I was 16 years old by my German adoptive father, I’m now 45 years old from the Philippines. Sometime in 1986 my adoptive father applied on my behalf a German passport. However, this did not push through because of lack document requirements. My adoptive father is now deceased. Can I pursue the passport application or am I still eligible for a German citizenship?

    • I will be happy to answer this question once I receive a donation (see “Make a Donation” button in the top right corner).

    • James B. says:

      I was born to a German mother Berchtesgaden and later adopted by an american citizen. can I by way of my birth certificate acquire German citizenship?

    • I would need to know all the dates (birth, emigration, adoption) and who your father was/is.
      And of course I would need a donation first, or at least a book from my wishlist. Thank you!

    • Feyisola says:

      Hii Andrea.
      This is Feyi who send you an email about naturalisation processing and made payment fee to your account as well.

      When will i be emailed my answers. :)
      I look forward to hearing from you.

    • Pumukli says:

      Hi Andreas,
      I have the following problem. My boyfriend (non EU-Citizen person) rejected (didnt accept) his german cititenship. He married before a german girl after living and working 5 years in Germany. Now he is in divorce. Then 2 years ago he moved out from Germany to an other european country. He think (He asked emigration office) he never can go back to germany, because he didnt accept the citizenship. Is this true??
      He hasnt got any chance to go back?
      Thanks, Pumukli

    • No, that’s not true.

      A general note to all those posting questions: please don’t say “non-German” or “non-EU” when describing your nationality. I need to know the exact citizenship of all parties involved because it makes a huge difference in immigration and citizenship law if somebody is Australian, Russian or Somali.

    • Jika says:

      My x-boyfriend is German. I got pregnant and decided to have this child. He doesn’t want to acknowledge his parentship. I know that he is afraid of ailments etc. but I need only a citizenship to my child as his father is German. I live outside of Germany. Pls advice what can I do?

    • You would need to establish paternity. If he does not cooperate, you would need to sue him. Please feel free to contact me for more specific advice and don’t forget to mention the country you live in, as that may be important for the jurisdiction of that lawsuit.

    • Aaron says:

      Hi, I had a question hopefully someone can help me with.
      I have American-German dual citizenship. I am eligible for Israeli citizenship and would like to apply. However I do not want to lose my German citizenship. I know I could still remain a US citizen but I don’t know about Germany. Please help. Thanks

    • Aaron says:

      Hi I am a US citizen, I have a US and German passport. I would like to apply for citizenship of Israel. If I do this would I lose my German passport? I would like to remain an EU citizen

    • Heinz Koehler says:

      My parents were born in Germany and so was I. my parents moved to the United States when i was two and became U.S. citizens and by default me also. Can I keep my U.S. citizenship and get my German citizenship back also?

    • That situation is addressed in my FAQ on reclaiming German citizenship, but you would need to make a strong case to be allowed to keep US citizenship when re-applying for German citizenship.

  4. Adam Verona says:


    My wife is German and I am American. We would like our newborn son to have dual citizenship.

    Should we first apply for naturalization, or go ahead and apply for his German passport?

    Where can we find instructions for applying for naturalization?

    Thank you,

    • One parent being German and ther other parent being American is the prime example of a obtaining dual citizenship at the moment of birth. You do not need any naturalization and you can apply for both passports. Please note that a passport is not a document of citizenship, it’s a travel document. A passport does not establish citizenship, it regularly requires the citizenship of the country that you ask to issue the passport.

    • obinna Ezewudo says:

      I am a Nigerian that was born in Germany in 1977 with German God parents . My parents relocated to Nigeria shortly after my birth. Is there any possibility of obtaining German citizenship for me?

    • graniti says:

      I’m 18 years old i live in republic of Kosovo with my parents,i have born in germany in 1995,i have a certificate birth of germany in 2000 i went to Kosovo and now i live in kosovo for 13 years.Can i get now citizenship(German)??

    • Unfortunately it’s too late now. Your parents (if they fulfilled the requirement according to no. 4 of the above FAQ) would have needed to file an application by 31 December 2000: § 40b StAG.

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  7. Malia says:

    I am concerned that my ex-husband will try to take our daughter to Europe from the United States without my knowledge or consent. I am wondering if my daughter could lose her German passport to make this more difficult. The reason I think she might be able to lose her passport is because my ex-husband applied for the Hungarian citizenship for our child (#8), while in Germany, declaring to be a German. As a result, our daughter has passports from Germany, Hungary, and the U.S. Frankly I am more concerned that our child be taken to Hungary than Germany, but I would really like any information you could provide. Can I declare to the German Government that they please take my daughter’s citizenship? Is this a good idea, since having 3 nationalities seems like it has some benefits? Thank you!

    • Oliver K says:

      No – Hungary is part of the EU and Germany citizens are allowed to obtain Duality of another EU country.

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  10. ricochetmw says:

    I was born in Germany in 1940. My father, a German soldier (not a member of the NAZI party), was killed in WWII. In 1950 my German born mother emigrated with me to the US. At the age of 18 I became a naturalized US citizen as I did not have any resources to do otherwise. I would like to obtain dual citizen with Germany in recognition of my birthplace. I am financially secure and would not be an encumbrance to Germany. Years ago I wrote a letter to the German Embassy and was told I was not eligible for dual citizenship as I was a naturalized US citizen. Do I have any recourse?

  11. kevin says:

    The last comment on “do you paly football” made me laugh so hard! Nice blog by the way. I had one question. What was the nationality law before 2000? Could foreigners born in 1950 who moved and lived in Germany for in 1951 and lived there for 40 years until 1991, would they be able to obtain citizenship based on the length of years spent in Germany? Or was it purely based on the jus sanguis principles?

    • There was also a way for naturalization in Germany before.

    • Prince says:

      Hello Andrea,

      I want to know how long a master students needs to stay in Germany before he can become a permanent residence holder because i read on some forum and blog that you cant get PR or citizenship if your previous permits have been on the basis of studies and even your spouse can’t get it as well as your kids even if they were born in Germany.

    • I read that all the time as well, but it is wrong. Don’t believe anything that anyone who is not an expert on immigration law writes about immigration law.

      In answer to your question: you would need to find a job after studying, and then it will depend what kind of contract you have, how much you earn and how good your German is.

  12. billard says:

    hello , i am indian and i am living in germany , now i have daueraufenthalts karte , i want apply german citizenship , please tell me after how manny years i can apply and what i need for this.
    thanking you

  13. Ryan says:

    So I just spoke with a German lawyer and I was given the following (great information). Here’s my situation. I was born in the United States to my German mother and my American Father. The verdict:

    I am a German Citizen by birth. I can get a passport immediately from Germany, even though I don’t live there. In fact, my children who were born in 2008 and 2011 also have German Citizenship because of me. They can get a German passport as well.

    In order to do this, I need to appear at a German mission in the United States and provide the following documents to get a passport (i’ve listed the reasons why I need the documents as well)

    1) My birth certificate (proving who my mother is)
    2) My U.S. Passport
    3) My mother’s (who is German) Passport (proving she is a German citizen)
    4) My mother’s Green Card (proving she did not give up her German citizenship)
    5) My parent’s marriage license (proving they were married at the time of my birth)
    6) My father’s Passport (proving his identity)
    7) My American Driver License or Utility bill (proving address)

    For my parent’s documents, they can either be original or notarized copies of the original (since I highly doubt my parents are going to send me their original passport).

    Nationality law if you were born after January 1, 1975 is if your Mother was German. I am sure there may be other exceptions to the rule, but I actually went to and paid an attorney to ensure I was on the right track.

    • Katja says:

      Thanks for posting this! It was really helpful. I also had a German mother and American father and just recently found out I had German citizenship and got my first German passport as an adult. The process was really much easier than I thought! But I wonder if it’s enough to just have the passport or if we’d need a certificate of citizenship too down the road.

    • Christine says:

      Thanks….so helpful! Were you born before 1975 or after? I’m the same situation as you and born in 1973 in the US to German mother/American father. Have read conflicting info about the 1975 cutoff and hoping it might be contested/challenged?!?! The German consulate has been less than helpful! So frustrating!!!

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  15. David Allison says:

    In all serious, can you get in contact with me regarding point number 10! Haha.
    I’m planning on studying and living in Germany for 3-6 years and I wish to play an international sport for them, cricket, if I am deemed eligible. Will this mean I am entitled to a citizenship? (to play for Germany in cricket one must live there for 4 years and play cricket for 3 of them I think)

  16. g says:

    If what your saying is that since my mothers was still german citizen when i was born in oct 1964 in usa Im still entitled to get a passport to use for travel , but im not a citizen, unless I claim stateless at which point i could be considered for it. Or would i have to file under the “right to return” in order to get citizenship ,My intent is to spend the next 15-20 years traveling but i would like to do it as an german citizen since i have lived most of my life in u.s. I have no intrest in returning to it but living abroad until i return to germany to finish my life!

    • Matt says:

      To g,
      1975 onward = mother or father
      before 1975 = (you are 1964) = paternal, father or grandfather only.
      Your mother’s citizenship will not play into the equation if you were born pre-1975.

    • Missy says:

      Those born before 1 January 1975 could normally only claim German citizenship from the father and not the mother. Exceptions included cases where the parents were unmarried (in which case German mothers could pass on citizenship) or where the German mother applied for the child to be registered as German on or before 31 December 1977.

    • hitchhaika says:

      This rule has apparently changed … in February 2013 they issued a statement saying that children of a German mother and foreign farther born prior to 1975 also have a right to German naturalization. Check it out the link, in German …


    • Fabio says:

      Has it really changed? My older brothers were born before 1975 to our German mother and therefore they are not able to get their German Citizenship. Are you sure?

    • Thank you very much for that update and the link! – Although you are giving away for free what I am charging people for if they hire me for a private consultation. ;-)

    • Fabio says:

      Is it also valid to persons born abroad? My brothers were born in Brazil and have lived there since birth. Isn’t naturalization only for foreigns (or, in this case, born to a German mother), who live in Germany?

    • This link is about naturalization of people who would receive German citizenship from birth were they born now, but who didn’t because before 1975 the citizenship law distinguished between those born to a German father and those born to a German mother. This combines two completely different things, naturalization and ius sanguinis.
      And indeed naturalization is possible from abroad.

    • Fabio says:

      Dear Andreas,

      But the leaflet says “to facilitate “Einbürgerung” of children born of German mothers and foreign fathers before January 1975, (they) were born according to § 14 of the Nationality Act”.

      Besides, it’s says in the whole document the word “Einbürgerung”, which means naturalization.

      § 14 of the StAG it’s about naturalization and not citizenship from birth, it also guidelines you to §§ 8 and 9 of the Law, that explains how do a foreigner can obtain its naturalization.

      My question is still up: foreigners born before 1975 to a German should apply for naturalization or citizenship?

    • Allen says:

      If you were born in the USA to an unmarried 2nd generation German woman before 1975, and several years later she later married your father, would you still be able to apply for German citizenship?

  17. Saad says:

    Hi, I married a german woman in Pakistan and she is the love of my life, I am a Pakistani citizen and she is german citizen residing in Pakistan from a long time. After our marriage my wife wants us to settle in europe. Can I get german citizenship if my wife is german?

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  19. Alex says:

    Like to get my german passport.Born in germany,mothers german,dads canadian.Moved out from germany in the year 2000 and i am now in england.Can i get my germany passport with out any probblems.

  20. Chalata says:

    hello, i Had Germany Ancestors which were moved by force from Germany back in 19th century from Swabia (Bavaria) region, is there any chance that i can claim Germany citizenship, if there is any procedure or government entity please advice. Thank you in advance

    • Please see # 2 of the above FAQ.

    • In the answer to question #2 you mention that it may or may not be possible, as for example if one of the ancestors lost his/her citizenship (did I get it right?).
      I have my lineage back to a Great-Grandparent (male), born in Hanau, Germany, in 1829, died in Brazil in 1907. After that other members of my family didn’t mantain their German citizenship. Would I be eligible anyway…?
      I’m Brazilian, and my lineage back to my great-grandparent comes from the men in my family (great-grandfather –> grandfather –> father –> me).

    • Ahn… I mentioned that because I was born prior to 1975 (1969).

    • Aloysius says:

      I’m asylum seekers please can I get passport in Germany yes or no

  21. Michele says:

    Hi Andreas, I’ve been trying to find information regarding a combination of #2 & # 7. My father was born in Germany in 1948; however, he was born “stateless” and never obtained German citizenship. My Grandparents, I believe, eventually obtained German citizenship and entire father’s side (aunts, uncles, cousins etc.) were all born German citizens and reside in Germany to this day, where I frequently visit them. Would it be difficult to obtain citizenship based on these facts? If possible, please direct me to any info – on this site FAQ or others. Thank you in advance.

    • Michele says:

      * Please note: by “aunts, uncles, cousins”, I mean my aunts, uncles, and cousins, and my father’s sisters, brothers, and nieces/nephews.

  22. frederick says:

    lost my german naturalisation/citizenship certificate. lives in london, how do i get a replacement

  23. slodewijk says:

    first of all thank you for your insightful information on this page.I have a question, My husband is dutch and I am from the caribbean but we reside in germany at the moment, and we would like to adopt my 16 year old niece who has a child. Would it be possible to adopt her and not seperate her from her daughter as well?

  24. Lance says:

    Hey, I was born in Germany in Augsburg in 1997, because my father was in the military at the time,(Not born on military grounds I believe) But my parents are both natural born US citizens, and did not get German citizenship, even though they had lived there 8 or 9 years. I moved out of Germany when I was 3, and have lived in the US since then, but visited Germany last year. I’m wondering if I would be eligible for Dual citizenship. I’ve been a US citizen since birth I believe.

  25. Ryan says:

    Here’s an update from my September 15 post.

    I now have in my possession a German Passport !!!

    The hardest part of the whole thing was getting a document that proved my mother’s German citizenship at the time of my birth. As it turned out, all I really needed was her USA Permanent Resident card. Even though her current physical card was issued in 2005, it had an original issue date of 1967, so the SF consulate accepted this as proof she was German when I was born. In hind sight, the whole process was fairly easy once I got all the documents. We decided to make a week trip out of it. We drove down to SF on a Sunday, got there on a Monday afternoon, checked into a hotel and enjoyed SF for a few hours that evening. Our appointment was for 10am the next morning. It took about 30 seconds for the consulate agent to review my documents. Then, she got on the computer and started inputing the information in. Fifteen minutes later, I signed a document, gave her a lot of cash (for myself and my children’s passport too). The passport was ordered on November 6 and it came to my house via Fedex on November 29.

    • Congratulations and thanks for the update and for sharing your experience!

    • german by blood says:

      But you were born after 1975 , right?
      I am in the same shoes but i was born in 1964 does this process include me?

    • Heidie says:

      My understanding is before 1975, like me, it only counts if it was your father was born in Germany.

  26. Ponny says:

    Dear Andreas,
    My husband is a legal resident in Germany for more than 20 years; we have been married for 5 years now and have 4 years old child who is born and living with me outside of Germany. We (I & my child) haven’t been traveling to Germany or applying for any legal thing (not even registered as a spouse and child in Germany) till now. But my husband has now applied for a German citizenship. What I would like to ask you is:-
    -How long does this citizenship process take?
    -After my husband gets the citizenship how can we (Me & my child) get permanent resident permit and what is the procedure.
    -Does a German resident permit works to any other European countries

  27. german by blood says:

    My brother was born in germany on a air force base to a american solider and german mother but when we moved to u.s and lived when he turn 18 he was given the option of being u.s. citizen or a german citizen, he had to pick u.s. or they would have deported him, why wasnt he given the right to retain dual citizenship?

    • If your brother sends me all the documents pertaining to both his citizenships, I will be able to find out what happened or what went wrong there.

    • german by blood says:

      This took place in i believe 1980, even though we travel alot throughout our youths with our father being an air force service man, My brother had an german passport but he also had an american passport the only time he had to carry both was when we were in germany, otherwise he used the american since we were mostly on military bases living. I never understood why he had one and I didn’t ,He was born on a u.s. military base “Hahns air force base” in germany. From my understanding since my mother was german citizen and my father was american he had to have both, but when i was born in U.S. i only got u.s. citizenship. I have checked many time throughout my life to see if anything had changed and i could possibly get citizenship as an german but have alway been told no! Even if i had been offer the choice between u.s. and german I would have went with german, I had consulted with an few attorney to see if it was possible they all wanted money upfront and made no guarantees ,I had payed one $700 and all he did was send a letter asking if i could get citizenship . Which they replied no, without even receiving any of my information!

    • ricky says:

      m indian living in germany my girl frnd is germn citzn i have marry with her when i will get germn citznship

    • german by blood says:

      I would have to look at the health care system over there , Since he has metal health issue I am not sure if they would take him or provide him with what he gets here.

  28. Kenny says:

    I was born in Germany in the early 90s, lived there for three years and then moved to the United States. Neither of my parents are German citizens, but my grandfather was originally from Germany. Do I have any rights in becoming a citizen?

    • You could try the naturalization route, but do you speak German and are you willing to give up your existing citizenship?

    • Kenny says:

      I speak a little German, not enough to get me by, though. I’m more than willing to give up my existing citizenship.

    • For German citizenship, you will need to get to the B1 level in German at least, preferably certified by the Goethe Institute if you are not in Germany.

  29. Renate says:

    I was born in germany and lived in germany until I was 35 Years old. I got married to an American and received my american citizenship just in 2005 at the age of 42. Do I have to reapply for my german citizenship? I want to go back or at least travel more often to see my family and maybe later on down the road go back to stay for a longer period of time.

    • If you applied for US citizenship without requesting and receiving permission from Germany to maintain your German citizenship then you did indeed lose it. Re-applying is an option, but Germany will want you to give up your US citizenship in that process.

      This information comes too late for you, but it may serve as a reminder for others to plan carefully if they wish to retain their German citizenship while applying for a second one. It is absolutely possible to do that, but it needs to be done before applying for the foreign citizenship.

  30. karim ghaleb says:


    i was born in Germany and lived there for 5 years and my dad lived in Germany for about 27 years and he speaks perfect German and he doesn’t have criminal record, he doesn’t depend on welfare, but he does not have the German pass,he is living now in Egypt since 15 years….

    1st question: can he get the German pass?

    if yes,

    2nd question: im now 23 years old can i get it too?

    Thanks in Advance, your feedback will be highly appreciated.

    • Please feel free to contact me for a consultation. I’ll even offer you a discount and answer both of your questions for the price of one consultation (150 €).

  31. Sandra Pesch says:

    Hi Andreas!
    I am from Uruguay and my husband is German, we have been married for the past 16 years and living in the Philippines all that time. We have been told that I cannot apply German passport because I have not lived in Germany for a certain period of time or speak fluent German language. Your point #7 says that I need to show ties with Germany. Being married for 16 years to a German national and having 2 German kids is not enough??

    thanks in advance!

  32. Lauren Busch says:

    Both my grand parents on my fathers side were born and married in Germany. They came out to Australia when my dad was 3. Due to the work that my dad now does etc he got naturalised as an Australian in his mid 20’s. i have read point no 2 above… however does this completly rule me out as my dad got naturalised or not?

    • It depends on whether your father lost his German citizenship (by applying for the Australian one) before or after you were born. If he did so before your birth, then he was no longer German at the time of your birth and could not pass on the German citizenship. Once the chain is interrupted, it’s the end of ius sanguinis.

    • BB says:

      Andreas, I have a similar situation to Laura in that my German born father moved to Australia when he was three (1952). While I’m not sure at which age he became a naturalised Australian citizen, he was a child when it happened. Is there any law changes on the horizon in regards to children relinquishing their German citizenship? At such a young age can a child know the consequences of being made to take on another citizenship? Could be said that he didn’t ‘voluntarily’ give up his German citizenship??

    • No chance. § 25 I 1 StAG clearly states that a voluntary declaration by the child’s parents is sufficient. It is quite normal throughout all areas of the law that parents act on their children’s behalf. Some of those decisions turn out to be beneficial, some don’t. In the cases of naturalization, it’s also hard to imagine how the minor could have lived the same live in the new country without that country’s citizenship.

    • Sarah Louisa says:

      My sister has a similar situation my father got another citizenship before he died in 2001 but we dont know exactly when and she was born in 23.11.1995 .. and now when my sister went to update her pass the embassy asked for a paper to prove when he had the other pass .. when she got the paper the paper said that he got it in 23.9.1995 so two months before she was born .. would she lose her german pass ?

    • She might.
      The only thing to protect her might be § 3 II StAG, according to which a person can remain German if they have been treated as a German citizen for at least 12 years. But I would need to look at the details to say for sure.
      Your sister can e-mail me at moser@moser-law.com.

  33. Ryan Shipley says:

    Quick question. I went through the process of getting a German passport, at which time I was able to successfully prove to the German Consulate in SF that my mother was German at the time of my birth. So, the passport was issued. My question is, is there any benefit to applying for a Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis? Will the process be easier now that I have a German Passport? Or with having a passport, is this even necessary? Thanks in advance.

    • For most intents and purposes, you don’t need the “Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis”. You can use your passport to travel and to perform most other activities in Germany (one exception is joining the public service in Germany).
      However, if you (will) have children and you wish to pass on your German citizenship, it could help them if you have a “Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis”.
      So I would say it’s neither urgent, nor a priority, but it’s better to have it, just in case.

    • Deb says:

      I have a situation similar to Ryan’s and live close to SF. My parents were born and raised in Germany. They married in the US and I was born in the US. I would like to apply for a passport. I’m 51. My daughters are grown, in their twenties, but they would like to apply too. Can they do so? does it matter that my parents became US citizens About 10 years ago? We’ve been to Germany many times because all of our relatives are still there! Thanks for any advice.

    • If your parents were still German at the time of your birth, then you obtained German citizenship at birth.
      In that case, you could also have passed it on to your children if they were born after 1975. If they were born before 1975, they have a chance to get naturalized without having to give up their US citizenship (see no. 8 of my FAQ on naturalization in Germany while living abroad).

  34. ponny says:

    Dear Andreas, heare I’ve kindly posted my Inquiry again.
    My husband is a legal resident in Germany for more than 20 years; we have been married for 5 years now and have 4 years old child who is born and living with me outside of Germany. We (I & my child) haven’t been traveling to Germany or applying for any legal thing (not even registered as a spouse and child in Germany) till now. But my husband has now applied for a German citizenship. What I would like to ask you is:-
    -How long does this citizenship process take?
    -After my husband gets the citizenship how can we (Me & my child) get permanent resident permit and what is the procedure.
    -Does a German resident permit works to any other European countries

  35. Michael Brett says:

    Hello Andreas, I have a doubt.

    my ancestors were germans. I don’t remember so well but I’m the fourth or fifth generation since they came to South America. I was wondering if I can do something to get a german passport because I love Germany more than my home country and even though I’m the fourth or fifth german generation born in SA, my mom raised me as a german.

  36. Andrew says:

    My ancestors immigrated from Germany to the United States several generations ago. How can I prove, or find out if they ever voluntarily gave up German citizenship? I cannot find any records of them having given it up, just each successive generation obtaining U.S. citizenship based on being born in the United States. How can I prove to Germany that they did not give up German citizenship or voluntarily obtained U.S. citizenship when there is no record of any of them having done so? How do I provide proof of something that did not happen?

    Also, when I inquired through the German consulate a few years ago they stated that I had to provide proof of my ancestors having visited Germany every ten years because I wanted to claim it from so long ago. Is this true?

    How many generations can I go back? I have a direct paternal line to Germany, but many generations back.

  37. Astrid says:

    I am travaling to germany this summer i was told that I have both passport for my son american and german is that true

    • If you are asking me if you have both passports for your son, I recommend to look into the drawer where you keep his passport(s).
      If you are asking me if your son has both citizenships, I would need to know far more details about your son’s background than the mere fact of him travelling to Germany in summer.

  38. Mike says:

    Thanks for posting this; It was very informative. I have a question. I am a Canadian Citizen married to German wife who currently lives with me in Canada. We are planning to move to Germany in 3 years. I am also taking German language courses to learn German. Is it possible for me to apply for German citizenship directly while still in Canada? Or am I required to live in Germany first?

  39. von says:

    Hi Andreas,

    How will I get my citizenship? My father is a German Citizen (he is officially residing in Switzerland). My mother is Filipina. They have never been married. I was born 1984 in the Philippines. My father acknowledged me in my birth certificate but both of them forgot to bring me to the German Embassy (I do not know if this is needed). Now, I have been to the German Embassy twice last 2005 – 2006 — asking about my German citizenship as my father told me to get it in the embassy. I have never been to Germany. How can I get my German citizenship? Do I need a DNA test for this?

    Thanks a lot.

    • Please feel free to contact me at moser@moser-law.com to schedule a consultation. You will probably have read that I charge a flat fee of 150 EUR for this.

    • Danso Augustine says:

      please am a Ghanaian am now living with my girlfriend who is a German we have one Dauther who is now 8 month and also has German passport is there anyway that i can also obtain german passport ? although we are not staying in the same apartment and not married in germany.

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  41. Gail says:

    My mother was born in Germany in 1947. Her father was Ukrainian and her mother German. They were married at the time. Since immigrating to Canada in 1948, both parents became citizens of Canada. My mother is trying to establish which citizenship she has. She has never been naturalized as a Canadian and now is unable to collect her pension until she can prove her current citizenship and then apply for Canadian Citizenship. Is she German or Ukranian?

    • Gail says:

      My mother asserts that her father worked for the German Army during WWII. Does this prove that he actually had German citizenship?

    • No. First of all, a mother’s assertion is of course no legal method of proof. Second, non-Germans could and did serve in the Wehrmacht and the SS in World War II, some of them voluntarily, some of them forcefully recruited.

  42. Gail says:

    My mother was born in Germany in 1947. Her father was Ukrainian and her mother German. They were married at the time. Does this make her Ukrainian by descent or German by birth?

  43. Ognjen says:

    Dear Andreas, I have one question for you:
    I was born in Serbia in 1992. At the time of my birth, my mother was Serbian citizen and my father was citizen of Montenegro. Few months after my birth my parents divorced and my father moved to live in Germany, where he currently lives. In 2002 he became German citizen by naturalization.
    I live in Serbia , and I am Serbian citizen. Can i get German citizenship because my father is German citizen, who lives in Germany ?

    Thanks a lot !

    • No, unfortunately not. The citizenship that your parents had at the time of your birth determines your citizenship.

      Of course you could apply for German citizenship through naturalization, but you would need to meet the same requirements as anyone else, especially the language and integration requirement.

  44. Alex says:

    Hi Andreas,
    My mother is Italian, but my father was born in Germany. They both moved to Canada in the 1950s, giving up their respective citizenships to become Canadian citizens. They then gave birth to me in Canada. Is there any chance of me being able to obtain dual german/canadian citizenship through my father? My father still has his German birth certificate.

    • No, because your father had already given up/lost his German citizenship when you were born.

    • Alex says:

      That’s what I thought, and thanks for the quick response! Would it make a difference if my father re-applied for german citizenship now (which would be dual german/canadian), and THEN I applied for mine? Or am I completely out of luck?

    • Whatever your father does now (and Germany would require him to give up his Canadian citizenship if he wants to apply for German citizenship) does not change the fact that when you were born, both of your parents were Canadian citizens only. Whatever happened before or after your birth is not relevant in the eyes of ius sanguinis.

  45. Stephanie says:

    Hi! I have been living in Germany since 2001 – present under dependent status (and excluding 6 month periods of university study in the states during four years. but always came ‘home’ to Germany during breaks) as part of the SOFA Agreement for US Govt family members in Germany. As of a year or so I have become self sponsored as part of my job and no longer held a dependent status. I hold dual citizenship: panama from my mother and USA from my father; but my mothers father was German and his father settled in panama two generations ago. I am interested in applying for German citizenship as due to my leght of stay here from childhood- now it’s become home to me. I am currently dating a german and could see myself settling down here in the future. Out of all the aforementioned scenarios which would serve as most beneficial in order to follow the correct procedure to apply for citizenship? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • You may qualify for naturalization, depending on your language skills, but you would need to be prepared to give up your two existing citizenships of Panama and the US in order to obtain German citizenship.

  46. Matt says:

    Hello. Excellent site. I was born in Canada in 1965. My grandfather and grandmother were German citizens and that automatically made my father German and therefore myself. I applied for German citizenship through my father/grandfather and received my German citizenship 5 years ago. I am now a permanent resident of Slovakia using my German passport. My mother is a Slovak citizen. I was told by Slovak immigration that by living in Slovakia just 2 years, mastering the basics of the language that I would get Slovakian citizenship as my mother was considered a Czechoslovakian at the time of my birth. (§ 7 ods. 2 písm. j) z.c. 40/1993 Z. z. o štátnom občianstve SR.)

    My question. If I apply and take Slovak citizenship by descent through my mother, must I give up my German citizenship? (I know if Slovak citizenship was through naturalization, I would have to give up German citizenship) Isn’t citizenship by descent my right as blood to be a dual German/Slovak? (Canadian by birth). Therefore keeping both German and Slovak passports? Thank you and love your website!

    • Matt says:

      I found my answer:
      Die Slowakei gehört zur EU, da braucht man keine Beibehaltungsgenehmigung, §25 Absatz 1 Satz 2 StAG.
      So it seems German citizens can take other EU citizenship keine Beibehaltungsgenehmigung. So yes, you can be dual!
      Hope this helps others!

  47. ian says:

    im british and work and live in germany… i would love a German passport and dual citizenship… where and how do i APPLY?

  48. Mayyas says:

    Thank you for your info.
    I have a question though, my father studied and lived and worked in germany between 1975-1988 , and he didnt get the citizenship, can he now as for it ?

    and one more question, my current Citizineship now is Jordanian, and i want to work in germany, but im not allowed to leave my country without the German work-Visa, and i cant get a Visa unless i have Job contract, then how im suppose to get a job contract if im not even allowed to come to germany, ? or should i come with a Visitor-Visa and when i get accepted in a work there change the Visa to work ?
    thank you

  49. Shabbir says:

    Hi Andreas,
    Its really great to see that you are so knowledgeable about the German Laws.
    I do have a situation here .
    My wife and my son is a Hungarian Citizen (EU) My wife living in Germany since 2010, presently self employed… , My son was born in Hungary 2012, presently Hungarian Citizen (EU) living in Germany after his birth . I am an Indian citizen living and working legally with a 5 years residence permit as a family member of a EU citizen .
    My question is how can my wife apply and receive German citizenship…
    I would be highly oblige if you could answer my questions .

    • Your wife can apply with the local municipality where she lives. She will need to prove fluency in German, but as an Hungarian citizen she can keep her prior citizenship.

  50. cae briones says:

    hi andreas,
    this is my current status..i was born and raised in the Philippines..my mom is a filipina and my dad is german..but he didnt actually acknowledged me at birth.but then the past few years,he did.can i acquire german citizenship though im already 26 years old?read that its only up until you’re 23.is it still possible?any suggestions?

  51. Karlo Krauzig says:

    Hello Andreas,

    My father is German and I was born in Canada where I still live. He still has his German passport and never gave up his citizenship. Unfortunately I am not in contact with him anymore but would love to be able to obtain a German passport. Who should I contact to pursue this?
    Thanks in advance.

    • You can either contact the closest German General Consulate or file your application with the Bundesverwaltungsamt in Germany.

  52. munir alam says:

    my Pakistani daughter is married to a french national who is living and working in Germany (Schwandorf). She has given birth to a female baby. Baby has now become one year plus of age. Which documents will be required for registering legally for baby and her mother now. After which they could easily travel from Germany to Pakistan..?? kindly give me guidelines in detail on my email address

    • What a coincidence: I grew up only 30 km away from Schwandorf and went to Law School close to there (Regensburg).
      Please see these FAQ about my fees for a personal consultation.

  53. hester says:

    Hi. I’m 15 years old and have both UK and USA passports. My grandfather was a german citizen who fled germany to england in the late 1930s because he was jewish. My father does not have a german passport because my grandfather didn’t pass on his citizenship to him. I have lived in germany for 18 months with in the past 8 years, and went to grundschule all the time that i was living there. I speak close to fluent german, and last year i took an IGCSE in german and recieved an A* grade. Thanks to your post i now know that germans who had to give up their citizenship because of the nazi regime, and their descendants, are able to apply for their citizenship to be re-instated. I was wondering if i would be able to apply for german citizenship based on these terms, as I am would love to live in Germany possibly as a student and further on in the future. Anything you can tell me would be very useful!

  54. Natalie says:

    Just wondering if I am a dual citizen.
    I was born in Australia in 1989.
    My Father was (and still is) a German citizen at the time of my birth.
    I know I am eligible to become a German citizen but i’m hesitant to give up my Australian passport as I don’t plan on living in Germany permanently but only for a short amount of time at the moment.

  55. gaurav says:

    i m an indian. If i marry to a german girl wil it be sufficient to get citizenship of germany.

  56. Sakhi says:

    Hi I’m srilankan, I get asylum visa (convention of 26 July 1951) in November 2012 in Germany.
    This is 3 years resident permit .when I can apply for the German citizenship?
    Please can you explain the the Practices for that..

  57. lyle says:


    I need some infomation. Me (south african) and my wife (german have decided to get divorced after 1 1/2 years of marraige. We both live in Germany and we have a baby.

    When we get divorced, does it mean that I have to leave the country?
    Can I get a visa to stay in germany to be with my child?

    I hope someone can help ke please

    I hope aomeone can please

  58. Donnah says:

    I need advice on how to proceed. My son would like to know if he can claim German citizenship.

    His father was born in 1949 in Kassell, Germany, possibly in a DP camp, though his birth certificate does not say so. He has health records from the Ludwigsburg resettlement camp (1951) prior to his parents and sister were emigrated to the US in 1952..

    He was born to a woman from Stuttgart and a man who was a slave laborer from Hungary. Both of these people have since died. There is no family record that they were married in 1949 and the birth certificate lists them with different last names. When they arrived in the US, they presented themselves as a married couple however. Of note, the surviving family believes that the father had been married with a family in Hungary before being kidnapped for slave labor.

    After the family was resettled in the US, the parents became naturalized citizens and my husband was included as part of a family package kind of arrangement. He was only 10 at the time, so not legally free to choose.

    The few documents we obtained from Bad Arolsen are inconsistent with each other and do not match the original documents that we already have.

    What more do we need to have for documents and how can we obtain them?

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  59. Viswa says:

    Hi I am Indian, deputed by an IT company on a project to Germany and work here. I am now 3 months pregnant. I want to know if my child will automatically obtain a german passport by virtue of being born here in Germany? Both me and my husband are Indians.

    Any authentic information you can provide will help me immensely.

  60. Flavia says:

    Could a foreign student currently studying in Germany with a good command of German qualify for the citizenship process? Please take note that this foreign student is bound to enter a prestigious career field.

    • Of course you can. But your chances will be higher if you don’t claim to be more “prestigious” than others. Let the facts speak, and the immigration authorities will evaluate them. Prestige does not play a role in that evaluation.

  61. Matt says:

    Born before 1975, ONLY through your father’s side can you be granted German citizen by blood.
    I have been through the process and thank goodness I was born pre-1975.
    Post 1975 laws changed to mother/father’s side.

  62. Asif says:

    Thank you for your post its really helpful, but I have a question regarding answer 3, that can adult be adopted? if yes, then is eligible to claim citizenship? Adult aged 21. Thank you.

    • Adults can be adopted in Germany, but under stricter requirements than those for minors (§ 1767 BGB). This does not confer German citizenship on the adoptee. The adoptee has to take the normal route of naturalisation.

  63. jeremiah kuumson says:

    I was born in Germany on the 21st July 1988,my parents brought me to Ghana when i was 1 yr. Old. Is there any chance for Me to get a German passport or citizenship?

    • What citizenship did your parents have at the time of your birth? That’s the most relevant piece of information.

    • jeremiah kuumson says:

      My parents were Ghanaians at that time

    • Then # 4 of the above FAQ states that you did not receive German citizenship at the time of your birth.
      Your only chance is naturalization, the requirements for which are outlined above.

  64. Jed Fehrenbach says:

    Hi Andreas,

    Thank you for such an informative website. My Father was born as a German citizen in Germany in 1944, and both parents were German citizens. His mother left Germany several years later with him (age 7), to the US, where he eventually gained US citizenship. Both he and I would like to reacquire German passports and citizenship if possible, to move back in the future. But can we do this while retaining US citizenship dual status? Must he apply before I can apply, or would I simply need to furnish his necessary documents when I go about applying? Thank you very much.

    • When your father received his US citizenship, he automatically lost his German citizenship (§ 25 I StAG). If that was before you were born, then he could not have passed it on to you at the time of your birth.

  65. Andrew says:

    Hi Andreas,

    I’m a German/American from birth. Born in Germany (US Air Force Base) and have a US Certificate of Birth Abroad. I grew up in Germany, as a German with German and American passport. Since moved to the US and German passport expired. Go today to get it renewed. They now ask me for proof of my fathers citizenship. (he has passed away). What?? My passport is not proof of citizenship? I got the last one from the same consulate that is now turning me down. Yes, it expired – that does not mean it was not valid in the past.

    What can I do? Even worse – when researching German citizenship for my son they make it very clear that a German birth certificate is not needed to get a German passport for a dual citizen… So he to will run into problems in 20 years when he needs a new passport and I’m not around?

    So what? I need to keep my dead fathers passport? Not sure I have it. What if I loose it – do I loose my citizenship? Then my son needs my fathers passport and my passport and so on down the line? What kind of craziness is this? I’m German and it is very strange when people start looking at you like you may not be, all be it in a very polite and friendly way.

    • I agree with you that this is absolutely crazy. And I bet if you go to a different Consulate or you go there again in 2 months, you will get a different answer.
      But still the best thing is to get some records of your father. You can contact the “Einwohnermeldeamt” of the city where he was last registered in Germany. They will have his data, including his citizenship.

  66. Rapha Mendes says:

    Hi Andreas,

    Such an extremely explanatory website. Thank you so much in advance.
    However, my case has just gotten a little complicated and I would please like your expertise on this if you could.
    I am a brazilian national, living in Hamburg for just over a year, where I am married to a German citizen for almost 2 years and we have our son who is also German and is now 6 years old.
    I am here on a spouse visa, not yet the permanent one, giving I am still going to school to learn the language, therefore, not quite meeting the requirements to obtain one just it.
    Things went downhill when me and my wife started having marital issues, which sadly now came down to me being almost thrown out of the flat we 3 live in.
    However, I don’t know where to go to. Is there anything I could do to stay in the country for my kid?
    And, what If due to the circumstances I get to fly back home and my current visa comes to expire next year? Do I have any chances of making an appeal to apply for a German passport in Brazil then? Would our son, my impediment to stay in the country, even though I wanted to and the knowledge of the language I will then have, work in my favour?

    Once again, thank you so very much Andreas.
    I appreciate any help I can get.
    Take care!

    • Hello Rapha,
      you can change your spouse visa to a parent visa, as long as you retain at least shared custody of your son (§ 28 I Nr. 3 AufenthG). This will give you the right to a residence permit in Germany until your son will turn 18, by which time you will easily have qualified for the German citizenship.
      All the best!

  67. Jacob says:


    My Wifes Grandmother was born in Germany and currently lives in the USA (She has a valid German passport), none of her parents ever applied for a German citizenship but my wife is interested in obtaining a German citizenship, is she eligible to do so without her parents being German and if yes how does she go about it?

    Thank you so much in advance.

  68. Fakhriy Muhammad Faisal says:

    Dear Sir

    I have interest to study in Germany. I have read that we need 8 years residence in Germany. I would like to ask about the residence period. If I continue the master and Ph. D in Germany will I than I return to my country, will I get German citizenship? I would like to ask also about the ordinary residence in Germany. Should we have to residence continuously and consecutive in Germany??

  69. John Beck says:

    Dear Mr. Moser,
    My great grandparents were German. They moved to Canada but I do not know if they still had German citizenship when my Grandfather was born. I might not otherwise be able to apply because of my age, 66. The older I get the more like a German I feel, however. I do not speak good German yet but I have done very well in my language courses. I am sure that I could fit in there. In fact, when I traveled there people always thought I was German until they found out otherwise. That was interesting. Any suggestions?

    • Matt says:

      You follow your grandfather. Seeing your age, he was a German citizen to his death.
      You just prove your grandfather was born in Germany and you get your citizenship within 6 months. I was born in Canada as was my father and they ONLY looked at where my grandfather was born (Germany)
      Viel Gluck! Remember through descent and NOT naturalization

    • Linda says:

      Looking at your age and saying you descend from Great Grandparents, I’d say you fall into the “have to register at the embassy” problem. If your GGF was in Canada before 1904, he would have to register at the embassy to retain citizenship. Most didn’t because they didn’t know of this requirement or had no intention of every going back to Germany. If he didn’t register, then your Grandpa couldn’t have gained citizenship through descent, and thus neither your father or you.
      You have to prove unbroken citizenship lineage to have citizenship by birth.

  70. narlen tamayo says:

    hello im filipina and i have a German boyfriend.Im confused for the requirements needed before getting married in the Philippines because some say i need to send documents e.g. NSO birth certificate,Cenomar and my photocopy of my passport.Do i need to have a red ribbon of the following documents .please i need your help sir.thank u so much and godbless

  71. kat says:

    Hi there.

    Brainteaser for you. I am a Canadian-American citizen, born Canadian, naturalized American a couple of years ago. My mother is a Canadian-German citizen (born on a third continent) with a long expired German passport/ID (and she was also German at the time of my birth in the ’80s). If I were to give up my US citizenship (of which Canada and certainly Germany have yet no knowledge) would I possibly be able to claim German citizenship? Or would I likely hit obstructions?

    • If you received German citizenship at birth, you lost it by getting naturalized in the US.
      Thus your only route is naturalization in Germany, for which you would need to be fluent in German, live in Germany and give up your Canadian citizenship.

  72. Dierk says:

    I need help with this. I was born in Germany in 1998 and now I live in the US and have a citizenship here. I am wanting to know if I’ll be able to go back and live in Germany?

    • What citizenship did you have before moving to the US and how did you obtain US citizenship? If you used to be German, did you (or your parents) ask Germany for permission to keep your German citizenship despite applying for the US citizenship?

    • Dierk says:

      My parents were immigrants to Germany for 7 years and I was born there. My parents moved to the US when I was at a young age. We are here for 13 years so far and when my parents took the citizenship test, they passed. This meant I was a US citizen because I was at a young age. Our whole family is still in Germany and we want to go back and live there. What can we do?

    • If you had German citizenship (which I don’t know), you would have lost it through the naturalisation in the US.
      That means you will need a visa for a long-term stay in Germany or you will need to apply for German citizenship (and give up US citizenship) in return.
      Because you mention that your parents immigrated to Germany, you might however also have the citizenship of their home country (which you haven’t mentioned).

  73. MoMo says:

    Hi Andreas,
    I’m a highly-qualified non-EU German resident. I’ve been in Germany for more than 2 years and I’m working as a university lecturer. Do I have a better chance to have my citizinship early? what do you advise me ?

    many thanks.

    • How good is your German? Did you complete the integration course?

    • MoMo says:

      Thx for ur reply !
      I’m almost fluent but I didn’t take the exam yet (plan to do it in a short time). If I take this B1 & integration exams, how easy would be my citizinship? by the way, my wife already did both exams here with distinction one month ago.

    • Excellent, that sounds very good! Most immigration authorities insist on at least 3 years of residence, so I think it’s better to use the remaining year to prepare to the application by creating additional evidence for your integration (at university, in charities, cultural events, sports clubs, politics and so on). As there is no statutory minimum residence, you can apply before, but most likely your application will just sit on somebody’s desk until the 3 years are over, so it’s smarter to file the application then, with boosted grounds to support it.
      But it sounds like you are both on a very good track!

    • MoMo says:

      Thx again Andreas for your prompt and helpful reply! All the best.

  74. jens says:

    how easy would it be for ex Germans to regain citizenship? i have been living overseas since I was 6 and consider myself to be German even though i also love being an Aussie. would be nice if they recognised dual nationalities as this is something i would like to have.

    • You’d have to go through the normal naturalisation process, which is rather easy if you speak German fluently and can show that you are integrated in Germany.
      This information comes too late for you, but it is important to remember that retaining German citizenship is possible when you apply for a second citizenship. You just need to get the German permit to maintain German citizenship BEFORE you get that of another country.

  75. JD says:

    My great grandfather emigrated from Germany in 1880. He became a citizen of another country in 1895.. My grandfather was born in 1893, my father in 1919, and myself in 1955. My grandfather and father never took any actions re naturalization, and lived the citizenship of the country where they were born. I though left the country of my birth in 1995 and became a citizen of another country in 1999.

    I assume that I might have had conferred German citizenship on me when was born through ius sanguinis, although I was completely unaware of this possibility until I came across your website today!

    Have I lost the prospect of acquiring German nationality? If so, is there a possibility to restore it?

    • Could you specify the countries involved?

    • JD says:

      Yes certainly. My great grandfather emigrated from Germany to the now defunct South African Republic – it became part of the Union of South Africa in 1910. I was born in South Africa, but became a Canadian citizen in 1999.

      I wish I knew about this prospect many years ago, as I have visited Germany many times and I do speak German.

      Thank you.

    • Unfortunately, even if you had German citizenship by birth, you lost it by applying for and receiving Canadian citizenship (§ 25 I StAG). I had to ask for the countries involved, because when you apply for the citizenship of another EU country, you can keep German citizenship.
      Now your only chance would be naturalization in Germany, for which you would be required to give up your Canadian citizenship.

    • Matt says:

      You stated: “I had to ask for the countries involved, because when you apply for the citizenship of another EU country, you can keep German citizenship.”,
      I have understood that this is correct and I would ask you, must you apply for permission from the German Govt before receiving another EU citizenship or is this permission document not required?
      Vielen Dank.

    • You don’t need any permission in that case. It is stated in the Citizenship Act itself: § 25 I 2 StAG.

  76. jen says:

    hello sir..
    my grandfather is german/filipino his father is german and his mother is filipino.. he died already and as her granddaughter i wanna ask if we could claim as german ancestor.. correct me if im wrong..

  77. Nolan Ramage says:

    Hi Andreas!
    I am Australian,28 years old, and currently reside in Germany. I married a German citizen in Australia in July 2010, and after a year of marriage we moved to Berlin on a marriage visa. We have now been married over two and a half years, and unfortunately we have mutually decided to get a divorce. I am and have been employed full time as a chef for the duration of my stay here, and hold a work permit until 2015. I wish to remain in Germany thereafter, so my questions are as follows.
    After the divorce is processed, am I eligible for residency, based on a three year marriage, and two years of residency in Germany?
    Do I need to seek sponsorship from my workplace?
    Is there a third visa related option?

    Thanks for your time!

    • Hello Nolan,
      only if you have been married and living together for 3 years in Germany could you get a marriage-independent residence permit, and even then for only 1 additional year (§ 31 AufenthG).
      In your case you would therefore either need to pretend that you are still living together, or take the risk of not notifying the authorities or change your residence permit type to either a work-based residence permit or a student residence permit.

  78. smellthehorse@y7mail.com says:

    Right. Thanks! So with a work based residence permit do I need to seek exclusive sponsorship from one place of employment, or will that enable me to possibly relocate and work and live in different places around germany? Is there a set time duration for that permit?
    Thanks again!

    • As this is the page about citizenship law and I like to keep things in order, I would rather not get into residence permits on this page. Citizenship law is already confusing enough for most people.
      But I will be happy to put up a similar list of FAQ about visas, residence permits and immigration to Germany if you mail me one of the books from my wishlist.

  79. Kabelo Gabriele Strupowski says:

    Is it true that my fiance, who has been living in Spain for 8years and is due for a spanish passport in 1,5 years, can get a german passport through the birth of our child but only if I deliver in germany(am a german)?

    Please let me know, where I can get more information about this or fill me in,when you know more.

    Thank you……

    • I think that should be answered by the above FAQ.

    • Kabelo Gabriele Strupowski says:

      hallo Andreas,

      thank you for your reply. Unfortunatly, I can not find an answer among the FAQs.
      Please let me know, where I can get information to this…..

      Thank you and best regards…


    • I’ll be happy to answer your question in detail then after receiving one of the books from my wishlist. Thank you very much in advance!

  80. Jennie says:

    Hi Andreas,
    I am Canadian-American and my husband is German. Our children would be entitled to both Canadian and American citizenship by birth through me and German citizenship by birth through my husband. Would German law allow them to have all three nationalities, since all would be acquired at birth?

    • Yes, that’s exactly the case. Your children would automatically receive all three citizenships and could keep all three of them forever (as well as pass them on to their children).

  81. Melissa Burton says:

    Your page is by far the most informative that I have found, I thank you for all the food for thought. I was born to a single German woman in 1970 in Germany. She later married my father and moved to the US in 1972. I have not lost my German citizenship have I?

    • Not if you haven’t acquired any other citizenship. If you got naturalized in the US, you would however have lost your German citizenship in that process (§ 25 I 1 StAG).

  82. Bianca Luyt says:

    Hi There Andreas,

    I am getting married this year to my German fiancé.
    We are also moving to Switzerland later this year.
    I am South African, but I am not sure if I will be able
    to obtain a German passport once we are married.

    If not I can go through the normal procedures to be able
    to work in Switzerland / Germany. Just wanted to know as it
    might help a little if I could obtain a passport.


    • Questions 6 and 7 of the above FAQ lay out your path to German citizenship. Keep in mind that Germany would require you to renounce your South African citizenship.

  83. Robert Schoell says:

    Thanks for this great site first of all! Would very much welcome your advice on a question that may or may not be complicated! My father is German and mother British – when I was born, I was not eligible for British citizenship as a child of a British mother, so was German alone. When the UK changed the law in 2003, children of British mothers were allowed to ‘register’ as British citizens, which I did that same year. Since 2007, I believe, Germany has permitted dual nationality with other EU countries. However, as I registered in 2003, would the German nationality be lost? I can understand naturalization would trigger this, but have assumed that registration is a different process. Many thanks for any advice on the matter!

  84. ada says:

    My sister has german citizenship and my mother not…can my mother obtain the german citizenship through my sister???

  85. Madeleine says:

    Hi Andreas, Thank you for providing the information above although i am still a bit confused with my case. I was wondering if you had any advice.

    My grandmother (who has since passed) was born in Palestine 1923 under a British mandate but she is a German citizen (holds german passport), She was interned to Australia during the war then had the choice to go back to Germany which she did. Years later moved to Australia and married a Lithuanian and resided in Australia having my mother who was born in 1961. I have since found out that my Grandpa lived in North Germany previous to Australia and could have possibly held a German citizenship as well. Is there a chance for me being the granddaughter getting a German Passport. (Australian citizen).



  86. ada says:

    Thank you for responding! I thought was possible since in US it is…

  87. Carlos says:

    I am from Colombia if I get married to a german girl in England but we are thinking to move to Berlin am I allowed to work and study in Germany?

  88. Tricia says:

    fantastic information…..thanks!!!
    Is there any way to inquire in a more private forum?

  89. Katerina says:

    My great grandfather was German and was a prisoner of war after WWII in the USA, his family (my grandmother) returned to Chile after the war and none of them have German citizenship despite being of German decent, they where in Germany for the durration of WWII. My grandmother as well as my mother where educated in at the deutsche schule in Chile. My Grandmother speaks fluent German and my mother can speak it though not fluently. My Grandmother would be interested in obtaining her citizenship as well as my mother potentially. I have been told that it is only through the paternal line that this could be obtained but am unsure as to how valid this is, what is the possibility of obtaining German citizenship for both my grandmother and mother? Thank you for all you helpful information.

  90. Thomas says:

    I’m an ethnic German, Hungarian citizen, living in the Netherlands. My Donauschwaben ancestors moved to Hungary in the late 18th century. My great-great-grandfather and one of his sons, the brother of my great-grandfather were expelled back to Germany after WWII, where they received citizenship and lived until their deaths. My father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all born Hungarian citizens and lived all their lives in Hungary. They were also born to fathers of single Hungarian citizenship at the time. But they could have all gotten the German citizenship, from their respective fathers. None of them has ever rejected or denounced their German citizenship. Living under the socialist regime, they never had the chance to be offered one.
    Do I have any chance of getting German citizenship, based on this heritage?
    I have no real intentions of living in Germany, all I would like is to ensure my EU citizenship, which -as a Hungarian- may be less than guaranteed. I only speak very basic German, but I am fluent in English and French :)
    Would my father stand a better chance of getting German citizenship? For him, it was his great-grandfather, who received the German citizenship, after having been expelled. (He speaks no German at all.)

  91. em says:

    I’m filipina and my partner is german,were living in philippines almost 4 together,were having a 1 year old daughter..were not married because I was married before with the pilipino..but my annulment is under of processing maybe this year 2013 is finesh..my problem is about my daughter because untill now she did not register in manila german embassy,we can not get a passport for her and she’s not german citizen rightnow,,were planning to marry when my annulment is done.
    My question is the following,
    1.when were married with my partner,there is no problem about late birth registration in german embassy?
    2.my daughter using the name of her father surname’I mean
    philippines birth certificate,,its a problem in german embassy?
    3.they can release a german passport even she’s late regist

    4.and papers needed?

    Please tells me some advice…
    Thanks a lots..
    Sofry my english is not so good…

  92. samiha says:

    I am a Bangladeshi Citizen living in Germany for last 2.5 years .i am a foreign married student .Me and my husbend came together here . so i want to ask you if we take any child after 1 year , is there any chance of having German permanent resident Permit…or does it have a possitive influence.if there is any possibilities please leave your personal contact detail. i would like to contact you.

    Thanks in advance

  93. Jean says:

    Hello Andreas,
    I am a South African Citizen born in SA in 1978. My grandparants were German, but my mother was born in South Africa. My mother does not have a german passport. Will I be able to apply for a German passport? The lady assisting me at the German Konsulat in Cape Town indicated that I will be able to apply because I was born after 1975, but my sisters who were born prior to 1975 will not qualify. Is that correct?

    • No. It depends on the citizenship that your mother had at the time she gave birth to each of you, regardless of whether she had a German passport.

  94. hamid says:

    Hello Andreas
    I am Algerian and I have lived for 06 years in Germany as expat (holder of a visa and work permit)i paid taxes and health insurance.now that I am retired ,is it possible to get a German passport while I am living in Algeria?

  95. Sanjay Gupta says:

    If I am working in Germany as being an Indian resident, so can I take my parents along with me to Germany.??

    Thank u.

  96. Ephraim says:

    Interesting website, Andreas. My grandparents, after escaping the Nazis to Argentina, were re-granted German citizenship as part of the Wiedergutmachung in the late 1950s. My father passed on his German and Argentine nationalities to me. I was born in the Netherlands, but never became Dutch and instead retained my German and Argentine nationalities. I, in turn, have done likewise and passed those same nationalities to my daughters. Since my girls were born in the US they also are American. I now live in the US for over 15 years and am married to an American citizen. I would like to naturalize and become an American citizen as well but am concerned that by doing so I would lose my German nationality. If possible, what are the steps I should take in order not to lose the German nationality?

    • Hello Ephraim,
      you would need to apply for a “Beibehaltungsgenehmigung” in accordance with § 25 II StAG from Germany before you apply for naturalization in the US. This is a permit issued by Germany which will allow you to retain German citizenship despite getting naturalized in another country. In your petition, you would need to point out both the advantages you hope by becoming a US citizen as well as the lasting ties you have to Germany.
      I receive many questions about this “Beibehaltungsgenehmigung” and I have been wanting to write and publish an article about what to include in your petition, where to file it and how to increase the chances, as well as another list of FAQ about dual citizenship. I am just waiting for somebody to send me two books from my wishlist in order to motivate me to move those two subjects to the top of my to-do list. ;-)
      By the way, your daughters do not need to worry about that. Because they got all of their citizenships at the same time (the time of their birth) by law, they can keep them (and pass them on).

  97. Hi there Andreas. Very interesting blog you have here. I am 14 years old. My Dad was born and raised in Germany and my mother is Italian and a natural Uruguayan citizen. I am a German and natural Uruguayan citizen, and can claim Italian citizenship if I wish, though I primarily consider myself German. I moved to the United States when I was 10, and we will be reaching the 5 year mark of our permanent residency in about one and a half years. My father intends to apply for the Beibehaltungsgenehmigung, and I believe that he has sufficient need to have both citizenships. Like me, he is absolutely unwilling to relinquish his German citizenship. Should he become American (while still retaining his German citizenship), I would, by American law, derive his citizenship because I am under the age of 18. I see no reason why I would have to relinquish my German citizenship, especially because the derivation is automatic, but I want to make sure. If I derive American citizenship and my father remains German, will I lose my German citizenship?
    Also, simultaneously, my mother intends to naturalise. Italy allows dual citizenship, as does Uruguay for natural citizens, so she would follow a standard procedure for obtaining American citizenship. Even if my father can somehow not obtain the Beibehaltungsgenehmigung, she would go on to become American (this is especially important because if the process goes on too long and I turn 18, I will no longer be able to derive citizenship). If my father remains only German and my mother becomes American and I derive her citizenship, will I lose my German citizenship?
    I have been doing a lot of research on this topic, but so far, I have not been able to answer this question. I am very confused because I should be able to keep the citizenships that I have obtained at birth, but this is not exactly obtaining citizenship at birth, but I’m not technically naturalizing, either.

  98. Hello Andreas,

    My name is Andrés and I’m a Chilean national. My great grand father was German and we was force to leave Germany a little before the start of WWI. He was a mechanic crew member of the SMS Dresden that was sunk here in chilean coasts. The story of the SMS Dresden is quite famous among other things because of Wilhelm Canaris (intelligence officer). My great grandfather along with 300 other crew members of the ship were held captive for 5 years in Quiriquina Island and were unable to return to Germany, only canaris was helped by german network to escape, obviously the rest of the crew was not very important. After 5 years the chilean government decided to release the captives (my great grandfather among them) on Talcahuano shore, leaving them at their own luck. The german colony present at Concepcion city helped them and fed them. Of course he could never return to Germany and was forced to rebuild his life here in Chile. Some years after the WWII started and obviously the situation to even think of going back to Germany was absolutely impossible. Since was released with almost no possessions the only document my family still holds is the marriage certificate issued by Chile where it shows the name of his parents, the name of his chilean spouse and children and specifically says German born.

    I wanted to ask if in this case it is possible to reclaim a german passport, thinking that the situation is very unusual and obviously he had to stay in Chile agains his will.


  99. Ron says:

    Hi there,
    I was born in Germany in 1958. My mother was a German citizen and my father was an American Soldier. I have a German birth certificate. In 1976 I became naturalized as a US citizen when I entered the US Military.
    Would it still be possible to get German citizenship and a German passport?

  100. Gund Wehsling says:

    Hi Andreas, great blog and good clear information. My father was German citizen, but he has passed away some years ago. I would be interested to get German citizenship/passport. I have been told I need to prove my father was a citizen at the time of my birth – 1973. He left Germany for the last time in 1959. Can you suggest a starting point for me to research this? If this is something you can help me with, I am happy to employ your services, please contact me.

    • Is there any indication that your father acquired any other citizenship between 1959 and 1973?

    • Gund Wehsling says:

      Hi Andreas, yes, my father naturalised or applied for South African citizenship in this time. Is this a factor?

    • Yes, that is a crucial factor. See question no. 2 above and plenty of my answers to previous questions. § 25 I StAG is the relevant clause.

    • Gund Wehsling says:

      Hi Andreas. I may have been approved for a Certificate of Nationality, I am still awaiting this paperwork to go through, so it would seem my father was still a German citizen at the time of my birth. I suppose my next question, if you can help again, I cannot find what this certificate entitles me to – can I work and live freely in Germany on just this certificate?

      Thanks again for your help and advice, very clearly, you re an authority in your area :-)

    • Yes, once you obtain the certificate of citizenship, you have it confirmed that you are a German citizen. You may move to, live, work, vote, do anything you like in Germany without any limitations.
      For practical purposes, you can use the certificate of citizenship to apply for a German passport, which will make it easier to travel to Germany and in fact any other EU country where you will enjoy similar residence rights.

  101. Matteo says:

    My dad passed on and I was born before 1975. My dad was born in Canada but my grandfather was German and I became a German citizen no problem. My dad was Canadian and never took German citizenship but they based it on my grandfather. You should be fine.

    • Gund Wehsling says:

      Matte, this is very encouraging. The most important thing for me is to be a present father to my children. Can you recall if you worked through an agency or if you worked directly with a consulate or embassy? Any starting points you can advise for me would be of great benefit as I have no idea where to start this journey. Many thanks.

    • Matteo says:

      Hey Gund,
      I went through the consular division at an embassy. They were very helpful, assisted in filling out my documents and I didn’t even have my grandpa’s reisepass. I spent a few months gathering passenger docs that showed he was “a German” when he came to Canada in the 1930s and used the passenger list as my proof. The whole process took 9 months and no language tests, no headaches, no naturalization bs papers as this was pure citizenship by descent. I love Germany for this respect for blood and feel more German than Canadian. Viel Gluck! Go through a consular and be consistent and have all the papers you can find. I was told 25 years ago it was not possible but after dad died, I promised I would get it and do my best to pull out all paperwork. Born pre-1975 is ONLY from your father or grandfather no matriarchal.

    • Gund Wehsling says:

      That’s encouraging Matte. Thanks. I’ll follow this up today.

    • Ann says:

      In using the ships manifest, to prove your grandpa was German, how did you get it notarized, and did you need anything else? Also did you have to fill out the ‘V’ form for your father too?

    • Matteo says:

      I never needed the passenger manifest certified. Process took 9 months. Very smooth as one would expect from Germans. Father passed and only had grandpa’s marriage cert as well as grandma’s reisepass. They did the research and check in Köln. I feel very lucky and thankful.

    • Nick says:

      You mentioned that the whole process took only 9 months. I am in a similar situation and sent off my confirmation papers in late 2013, but was expecting a longer wait period. Other sites that I visited mentioned that the process could take years, so this is very encouraging!

  102. Brian says:

    My great grandfather was born in 1900 in Germany, came to the U.S. in 1926 and married in 1928 to a U.S. citizen. My grandfather was born in 1930 in the US, but his father was still a German citizen at the time of his birth. It is my understanding that my grandfather is a dual German-US Citizen. He has never served in the military. He married to a U.S. citizen in 1950 and my father (now deceased) was born in 1953. Since my grandfather was a dual citizen, wasn’t my father also when he was born in the U.S. in 1953 and I as well in 1983? Or am I missing something? I have my great grandfather’s German birth certificate, his German Personal Ausweis (1922), U.S. marriage certificate (1928) and my grandfather’s (1930), father’s (1953) and my (1983) birth certificates.
    Although my great grandfather died before he was able to return to Germany, his widow did as well as his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to visit family. Both my father and aunt attended school for some time in Germany, although they permanently resided in the U.S. I have knowledge of the German language and culture and make trips to Germany to visit family at least every two years.
    Am I a German citizen under this scenario, and if so, are there agencies that would assist in obtaining the citizenship certificate and also apply for a German passport?

    • There might be such agencies, but it seems like you have the bulk of the paperwork that you would need. I’d recommend to contact the German Consulate closest to you and save the money which you’d pay to an agency. – That is, until I will open such an agency myself. :-)

  103. Ray says:

    If I were a German citizen and have a good income. Can I bring my non German or European parents as permanent residents in Germany; because they are so old and have nobody to take care of them, also they can’t learn German?

    • I’ll be happy to publish a list of FAQs about family reunion to Germany, but would like to keep it separate from this citizenship thread which is already getting quite long. I’ll do that as soon as somebody deems it important enough to send me one of the books from my wishlist.

      A general note to all those posting questions: please don’t say “non-German” or “non-EU” when describing your nationality. I need to know the exact citizenship of all parties involved because it makes a huge difference in immigration and citizenship law if somebody is Australian, Russian or Somali.

    • Ray says:

      Their nationality is Syrian and they live in Jordan, I’ll be glad to know as soon as you can create a new link regarding that, or at least a quick little answer here :)

    • That’s a very useful piece of information because for Syrians, other humanitarian factors will also apply as long as the civil war in Syria is going on.
      It’s a really complicated situation depending on many factors, so I can’t really give a “quick little answer” in this case. Please feel free to contact me for a consultation, or as I said, any book present will get you a new list of FAQ.

  104. Ray says:

    Thank you. I’ll keep in touch if I needed anything, Andreas. :) I’m gonna wait for the new FAQ list

  105. Gina says:


    My Partner’s father is German but was born in New Zealand (speaks fluent german and has a german passport). His Grandfather faught in the war for Germany but moved to New Zealand afterwards. My partner was born in 1987 and his mum and German Father were never married. Will this have any bearing on his ability to get German citizenship? They asked for his parents marriage certificate when I asked what we needed for him to get a german passport…


    • He’ll be fine if his father officially acknowledged paternity before your partner turned 23 years old (§ 4 I StAG).

    • Gina says:

      Is his name on the birth certificate an acknowledgement? They were together for a few years after my partner was born.

    • No, it needs to be an official acknowledgement of paternity or a court order establishing paternity.

    • Gina says:

      There is another thing though – My partner’s father went out of his way to obtain a German passport before his father denounced his German citizenship to become a New Zealand Citizen- will this affect anything? I’m hoping not because my Partners Father seems to think he got in in time.

  106. geraldine says:

    helo i just want to know if a married german national can invite his filipina girlfriend to germany…this is a case for my friend

    • 1. Of course he can invite her or you. He can invite as many people as he wants.
      2. But I assume your question meant: will she or you get a visa?
      3. That would be a question about a visa to Germany, which I’d like to keep separate from this thread about citizenship because there are already too many unrelated questions to go through. If you send me just one book from my wishlist, I’ll put up similar FAQ about obtaining a visitor’s visa to Germany.

  107. Jessie says:

    I recently found out that my Grandfather on my Dad’s side was born in Germany in the 1920’s. He and his family moved to New Zealand just before WWII and were put into internment camps during WWII as they were German’s. My Grandfather decided to fight for the NZ Army to get out of the internment camp. Does this mean he was no longer a German Citizen when my Father was born in 1960 as fighting for NZ meant he denounced his German Citizenship?

  108. Adam says:

    I am Australian and my wife is German. We have a 2 week old son born in Australia.
    My wife has been approved for Australian Citizenship.
    Can she hold dual citizenship?
    Her family all live in Germany.
    Also can our baby apply for a German passport?

    • Your wife has to apply for a permit to keep her German citizenship (“Beibehaltungsgenehmigung”) in accordance with § 25 II StAG before she will obtain Australian citizenship. Without doing so, she would automatically lose her German citizenship upon naturalization in Australia.

      If your wife was still German at the time of birth of your child, the German citizenship was passed on to your baby.

  109. Ceren says:

    Woaw! You received a record number of responses for this post. Even you received a Turkish one:) And I really appreciate that you answered most of the questions. You are a determined blogger.

  110. LL says:

    Hi – my grandmother was a Jewish-German national who left Germany in 1939 to go to the UK as a refugee. She married a British national during the war, and my father was born in the UK during the war. After the war, the whole family moved to the US and my father obtained US citizenship as a child when his father was naturalized. I know that my grandmother would have been considered to have been deprived of her nationality because the 1941 act that said all German Jews not physically in Germany would no longer be considered citizens – but does the right for reinstatement of nationality apply to me? ( born before 1975). I know this is partly addressed by your Q9, but not sure how it applies to the matrilineal descent line.
    Thanks! LL

  111. CJ says:

    Thank you for all the good iformation. I was born in the U.S. to American mother and German father. My dad passed away several years ago and I’m not sure if i can get all the documents for the german passport. Who should I contact to get these? Secondly, your fairly certain that i indeed do have German citizenship by birth? Thank you for any advice you can offer.

  112. Fabio says:

    Hi Andreas,

    This is a great blog! Congratulations!

    Here’s my family story:

    1878: My great grandfather was born in Hannover, Germany.
    1900’s: He emigrated to Brazil. (Don’t know the year exactly, I assume it was in 1904).
    1904: He got married in Brazil to a Brazilian woman daughter of German parents.
    1907: They had a son, born in Brazil, my grandfather.
    1931: My grandfather got married to a German woman in Brazil.
    1933: They had a daughter, my mother.
    1948: My great grandfather naturalized as a Brazilian (but I think it doesn’t matter because his son was born before that, right?)
    1953: My mother got married to a Brazilian man.
    1978: I was born in Brazil.

    Am I German?

    My question is: can I apply for the German Citizenship since I was born after 1975? My great grandfather didn’t register in the Brazilian Consulate while he lived here, so, did he lose his citizenship? Even if he lost his citizenship in 1914 for not registering, his son (my grandfather) was born in 1907, before he was 10 years abroad, do you think he’d lost his citizenship?

    Thank you very much!

    • Fabio says:

      Dear Andreas,

      Any comment about my situation?

    • I am sorry, but I am unable to research the German citizenship laws in place before and around World War I without any compensation.

    • George says:

      You have misunderstood the ten year rule. It does not mean that citizenship could be passed to the next generation if they were born less than ten years after their father emigrated from Germany. Here is an example. Johann leaves Germany in October of 1903. He marries and fathers a son, Fritz, who is born in June of 1913. In October of 1913 both Johann AND Fritz lose their claim to German citizenship. IF Johann had left Germany after December 31, 1903, then both he and Fritz could have been German citizens until their deaths. This is because a new law took effect on January 1, 1914, that ended the ten year rule. Conclusion: if your great grandfather left Germany before January 1, 1904, you cannot possibly be a German.

  113. manish says:


    I am from Inda and 25 years old boy. I meet a Germany woman on facebook. Who is 45 years old. we fall in love and want to spend our life with eachother. Is it possible.that if she come India and we get marry and we can Live together in Germany. And when will I be able to get the citizenship of Germany.

    • Your question about citizenship is answered in the FAQ above and I will be happy to write a similar list of FAQ about residence permits for Germany if you send me just one of the books on my wishlist in return.

  114. Dipesh Poudel says:

    My parents are in Germany and i am in Nepal i had made all the legal documents of Germany but they are with my parents even my passport of Nepal. i was born and grown up in Nepal but i had been to Germany around 7 years ago and stayed for three months and returned Nepal and started to live with my uncle. Now i had completed my school level and want to go Germany but my Parents are refusing to call me because they give birth to another son (might be possible reason). So, is there any way for me to get citizenship.
    *note- My parents origin is also from Nepal.

  115. Lonelyme says:

    I am a Filipina , 35yrs old. married to a german citizen last august 30, 2012. I am a nurse but, at this moment I am not employed since I only came here in germany on may 21, 2013. Since I came here me and my husband are having difficulty in our relationship. because, his son (9 yrs old) from his ex-wife (German Citizen) doesn’t like me. And my husband ex-wife told that if i will not go home to the philippines she wil file a case that she will take the full custody of the child. and she will not let my husband to see her son anymore. and to remove the rights of my husband as a father of her son. Now, my husband want a separation/annullment. and he wants me to go home now to the philippines. I already applied my residence permit in germany and it will release on Aug. 14, 2013. I also have already enrolled in Deutsch Intensive course for 6 months and it will start on august 5, 2013…

    My questions are:

    1. Is it possible that i can still stay in Germany even though my husband wants an annullment and he wants me to go home in the philippines?

    2. Is there any chances that I can acquire a german citizenship even though my husband wants to abandon me?

    3. Do i have the right to refuse for his action. and fight for my rights as his wife?
    Thank you in advance for the advice!

    • My FAQ about divorce in Germany will answer your questions about divorce and annulment.

      As to your right to continue to reside in Germany, I’ll be happy to publish a similar list of FAQs about residence permits in Germany if you send me just one of the books on my wishlist.

      The question about citizenship is answered under no. 6 of the above FAQ but depends of course on whether you’ll be able to maintain residence in Germany.

  116. karla says:

    Hello Andreas,
    Thank you so much for all the info you have written here it is so helpfull.
    I have a question if you don’t mind to answer, I am marry to a German citizen and I have a daughter, she was born in USA, she is a minor but my husband is not her boilogical father, I have the german citizenship wich I got by naturalization last year, we want that he legally adopt her, but we don’t know if that would be a problem because she is american citizen, will she loose the american citizenship if he legally adopt her? Thank you so much.

  117. Asmaa says:

    I was born in Germany in 1977, left Germany when I was a small child, I’m married now to a German wife, but we live in Jordan, I’m a PhD lecturer in the university, my PhD degree is from a British uni. and I would like to work in Germany and to get the Germany citizen, what is the chances to get it?

    • Asmaa says:

      the chance to have a German citizen and to keep my Jordanian citizen (dual citizenship)

  118. Chanice says:

    Hi Andreas Moser

    I am a South African female & I’m trying to get out of the country. After staying in the UK for almost a year, I have realised that I like being abroad & do not want to stay in SA any more.
    My great grandfather is German & I am wondering if I will be able to get citizenship over there? My grand father & my dad never ever bothered about trying to get citizenship. Is this possible? Or should I rather just give up hope?? :-)

    Would appreciate your help!!

    • Hello Chanice,
      I can understand the wish about travelling. I feel the same and feel no urge of returning to my native Germany.
      As to your chances of having German citizenship, it depends if your grand father and father were born as German citizens respectively and did not lose it (e.g. by applying for another citizenship). They wouldn’t have needed anything to obtain it, as they would have inherited it, but they should have refrained from losing it. As both receiving and losing German citizenship can occur without knowing it, this would require quite some research into your family’s history.

    • Hi there, I am in a similar position to Chanice. How does one even start researching into the family history regarding the losing citizenship? My other problem is that apparently there was a fire and it destroyed a lot of the records where my ancestors lived in Germany. Is there a list of the documents one could use to prove German ancestry? Thanks

    • The issue of losing German citizenship won’t be recorded anywhere. Most people don’t even realize when they lose it.

      For that, your best chance would be to e-mail me a detailed history of your family tree beginning with the German emigrants to another country. I would need details about birth, marriage, international moves, naturalizations, military service and so on. I charge 200 EUR for such an analysis.

  119. Uchenna says:

    I love Germany and will love to live here am Refugee I need help to get my papers

  120. Ramzi says:

    Hello Andreas,

    Thanks, very informative and fruitful post, I was wondering if it covers in a way or another my situation which I am explaining right now.

    I am from Jordan and was born in Germany in 1981 and left it by 1990 after finishing the kindergarten and school (till 3rd grade). My father used to live and work in Germany since early 60s until he died in 1995 in Germany, he got the German passport just in 1992 and at that time I have been back to Jordan with my Jordanian Mom.

    My question is whether I fulfill the needed legal requirements to apply for the German passport now?

    Your advice is highly appreciated,

    • Unfortunately you did not get German citizenship at birth. So your only chance is naturalization.

    • Ramzi says:

      That’s a shame, was my parents fault when I was born! well do you mean that it could be done through Naturalization by discretion, or by entitlement?

      I have been reading the ‘Naturalization as a German citizen’ section on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_nationality_law but got a bit confused and did not found more accurate information about the procedure on how to apply and what is exactly needed in terms of documents, etc…

      Could you please put me on the correct track so I can move forward with that, if and only if I am eligible, even have no idea at the time being!

      You won’t believe how much I would appreciate that :)

      Thanks a lot again,

    • The FAQ above, especially no. 6 and 7, lay out the requirements for naturalization. The main requirements are living in Germany and speaking German well.

    • Ramzi says:

      Alright thanks Andreas, I have looked at both points and surfed the web to find this naturalization application that need to be filled carefully and send to the Federal Office of Administration where I used to live in Germany (Cologne). http://www.germany.info/contentblob/2095222/Daten/278878/Article116_2_PDF.pdf

      Could you please confirm on the above and let me know if I am on the right track now and this is only the official way to do it?

    • Ramzi says:

      Hello Andreas,

      I have contacted the German Embassy in Amman and they informed me that I can’t ask for the Statsangehornskeit (Naturalization) since my father didn’t include me when he got it however I speak German, lived over 8 years, and was enrolled in school till 3rd class.

      I am not that much convinced with the Embassy answer!

      What would you suggest me to do now?


  121. Neal says:

    Dear Andreas
    I am an Indian and just completed my MBA degree from Bangalore university. My girl friend who is a German is doing her B.Sc in Nutrition from Fulda. As it is really very hard for both us to stay for long in such a distance relation we want to get married soon and live in Germany together. I need your advice here. I am almost confused with my research over internet about marriages for different country nationals and different religions. Please guide me how we should proceed.

    Greetings from India.

    • Hello Neal,
      because I receive a lot of questions about marriage in Germany, I’ll be happy to put up a similar list of FAQ about how to get married in Germany. I am just waiting for someone to send me one of the books from my wishlist and then I’ll get cracking on it.

  122. Pingback: "How did you find a job in Europe?"

  123. Nick says:

    Dear Andres,

    My grandfather was born in Prussia, my Grandmother was born in Wolfenbüttel. My grandfather served in the German Air Force and towards the end of the war fled to west Germany meeting my grandmother, they had a couple of sons before moving to the US in the early 1950’s where my father was born, I was also born in the US in 1986, after visiting Germany a few times I have fallen in-love and felt I have found my place of belonging. My questions, do I have any possible birth right based on my ancestry to claim German citizenship or would I have to go through standard naturalization of a decedent of non-German heritage?

    • It depends on when and how your grandparents and/or your parents became US citizens.

    • Nick says:

      Hi Andreas,
      First thank you for a timely response I did find out some other info that might be helpful. After speaking with my father, I found that my grandparents moved to the US in 1952 in a program via. the Lutheran Church, my father was born in 1956 in Montana and one year later my grandparents were naturalized.

  124. Jose Torres says:

    Hi Andreas, I am Brazilian Citizen, and My husband is Portuguese Citizen, He lived in germany for 5 years and He wants to become german citizen, which is the requirements to him as he is european citizen? Other Question: I have my german resident permit card which expires 2016, which left 2 years to expire, If when the resident card and me renew and they give me a unlimited resident card is that possible to me apply to become a german citizen? I am married in germany!

    Thank you

    • Max says:

      Hello Andreas! My great-grandfather Maximilian was a German soldier in WW1, but later fled the terror Nazi party and gave birth to my grandmother in the states. I have his German passport, birth certificate, and military ID. I was named after him and have German ancestry on both sides. He was born in Mannheim in 1904. Would I have a chance at becoming a German citizen? I am tired of paying taxes to fun a war machine. Can you please tell me how to find out whether or not my grandmother received German citizenship? Thank you so much!

  125. Ed says:

    Hi Andreas. My brother just got his german passport and citenzenship. Is there anyway we(his inmediate family) can apply for residence? We all have Colombian passport


    • Unless there are special circumstances (like taking care of sick siblings or parents), he can usually only sponsor his spouse and his children.

  126. Jenice says:

    I was born on an American Air Force base in 1966. Around 1980, around the age of 14 my mother obtained a naturalized American citizenship for me.

    I do not have a birth certificate from Germany, and only a copy (non-certified) of my american military birth certificate.
    Recent developments in my husbands job may allow us to live in Europe for a couple years in the country of our choice. Germany is wonderful and appeals to us as a possibility.
    1) From what I have read, I cannot get a dual citizenship. Is this correct?
    2) What are the chances of me obtaining a German Passport?
    3) Why would I want to do that? It is talked about on here, you have explained it is not the same as having citizenship, but what are the benefits?

    Thank you!

    • Now, I don’t know what citizenship your parents were at your time of birth and thus I don’t know with what citizenship you were born.
      But as you said you were naturalized as a US American in 1980, I have to assume that you lost the German citizenship if you had it until then (§ 25 I StAG).
      1) You are right, that Germany does not allow you to keep your US citizenship if you wished to apply for German citizenship.
      2) Without German citizenship, I don’t see how you could get a German passport, given that you already have a (US) passport.
      3) If you previously had German citizenship, it may make it easier for you to obtain long-term residence in Germany, but as you will be coming for the duration of your husband’s job, that is probably also not necessary.

  127. alireza says:

    Hello Andreas,
    I am Iranian. I moved to Germany in 2008 for studying. I completed my PhD from German university. I am working in Baden-Wurttemberg.
    I would like to know when can I apply for German Citizenship? what are requirements?
    Thank you very much.

    • Question no. 6 of the above FAQ should answer that.

    • alireza says:

      Thanks for your answer.
      During my studying, I had scholarship. Let me know, will they consider my studying time? I did not pay tax in that time.

    • That is not a problem. Financially, the important thing is that you can support yourself at the time of the application. A scholarship is not welfare, so it’s not a problem.

  128. Manu says:

    My girlfriend its not a German citizen , but thanks to her German high school she has finished her ausbildung on “Medizinische fachangestellte” in Germany and during this time she had “aufenthaltserlaubnis für ausbildung ” but now that she is done with ausbildung she has “unbefristete Arbeitsvertrag” . And i would like to know if it is possible on this condition to take me in Germany if we are married ?

    • I will be happy to publish a similar list of FAQ about family reunion visas for Germany, but I wouldn’t want to mix it with this list of citizenship FAQ as the list of questions here is already very long. I am just waiting for someone to send me a book from my wishlist to convince me to do it.
      Also, please remember to always mention the citizenship of the people involved. It’s usually relevant.

  129. Anwar Bhatti says:

    I am Pakistani and i am in germany for 14 days visa and now i want to get citizenship of germany please guide me the procedures to get passport. In the time if i m single before marriage in Germany can i live and work in germany

    • Question no. 6 of the above FAQ addresses the minimum residence requirement. 14 days, as you may have thought, is not enough.

  130. Thomas says:

    I’ve been doing a lot of research both into my family history and German law. I think I’ve found the key to my case, I’d only like a confirmation of my findings.

    Is there a legal distinction between being naturalized as a German and being recognized as a German? In other words, is someone, who arrived into Germany as a stateless expellee, considered to have been born German, if he was recognized as one, upon entering Germany? (Basic Law, Article 116 (1))
    My original post, explaining my heritage:

    Thank you for any advice you can give on this matter! I’ll be visiting the embassy in a couple of weeks, when I get all the relevant papers in.

  131. Anna says:

    Dear Andreas, I hope that you will be able to help me. My grandmother and grandfather were German. My mother was born in Yugoslavia (as Banat-Swabian – German minority) and was Yugoslavian citizen at the time I was born, 1954. I am citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Is there any chance I can gain German citizenship, or my children? Thank you in advance!

    • Thomas says:

      Dear Anna,
      Your grandparents must have been born around 1900 or before. So your family has lived through the post-WWII period, in Yugoslavia. I’ve done a lot of research into that period and the Federal expellees law (BVFG), dealing with its aftermath. Also, the current practices, in applying this law. It didn’t much help me, but it may help you. I’ve found no indication of it making any difference, if you’re German in this minority sense, from your mother’s or your father’s side.
      If you speak German well and were immersed into German culture, as a child, you may be entitled to German citizenship. All you need to do is go to the German consulate in your country and present your case. (Nowadays, it is preferred over showing up in Germany.) You need to show German family roots, but knowing the language and the culture is more crucial. If your family has suffered any atrocities for being German, in the aftermath of WWII, would help your case even further.

      The law (in German):

      A study written about the law, its effects and changing practices (in English):

      Click to access 4WG_Koppenfels.pdf

  132. OK says:

    A couple who are not a Germans but gave birth in Germany. Will the daughter be a German citizan? Many Thanks

  133. koorosh h says:

    Hi, my father has the passport of Germany, i’m 23.5 years old, can I obtain a child visa?

  134. Jason says:

    Hi, my mother was born and raised in Germany and has always had German citizenship. I was born in the USA in 1982 to her and my American father. According to your FAQ I understand that I would be a dual citizen of both countries. My question is how do I obtain a proof of citizenship from Germany, or is better just to apply for a German passport? Thank You in advance!

  135. Sonia Ensz says:

    A lot of information here.. i am curious sir, i was born in Landstuhl, Germany in 1970 at Landstuhl army base. My parents are both Americans. They say i had dual citizenship until the age of 18. We moved to the U.S because My father was transferred to U.S. in Nov. Of 1980. I obviously became U.S.citizen but i never filled out anything to say that. Would i be able to get dual citizenship now or is that not even possible?

    • Whoever told you that you had dual citizenship was wrong. In 1970, Germany had no ius soli, which meant citizenship could only be derived from your parents.

      Also, even under the current ius soli law (see no. 4 of the FAQ) someone in your situation would not qualify because American soldiers, airmen and their dependants do not fall under German immigration law according to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement and the Supplemental Agreement between Germany and the USA.

      I generally sense a lot of confusion in many questions about the different ways of receiving dual citizenship and I’ll be happy to put up an extra set of FAQs about this.

    • Sonia Ensz says:

      I see. Thank you sir, i appreciate the info. And your time to give it.
      It is a great help although i would of liked the idea of calling myself a German too. lol many great memories while over there.

  136. Aaron Helmer says:

    Hi, my grandparents are both German & born there, however when they moved to Australia they gave up there German citizenship in order to live in Australia. My father was also born in Germany. My question is, what are my chances of obtaining a German passport ?

    If you could reply to my email ahelmer_88@hotmail.com
    Would be great

  137. Miles says:

    Andreas Moser says:

    Hello Andreas,

    I’ll just preface this question by thanking you for this blog post; it’s an extremely helpful resource. Now, concerning my question:

    My German-jew born grandmother (born in 1925) moved to America in 1938, one year before WWII began, to flee NAZI persecution. She received American citizenship in 1944 at the age of 19.

    In 1954 she and her America husband had my father. She never applied to have him become a citizen because she herself was never interested in becoming one. Does this automatically disqualify me, or is it possible tfor me to still become a German citizen without having a German grandfather?

    After all the research I’ve done, it”s still unclear to me whether or not I’m eligible for German citizenship.

    Thanks in advance,

  138. estifo says:

    hey how u doing
    i am Germany citizen i was refugee for 10 years through the process i got the passport no main time i m in new York city i want apply asylum seeker do u think they will guaranty me usa green card
    the reason why i cant stay in Germany is coz my parents live in usa i want be with them

  139. Uz says:

    Hi there,
    I’m presently doing a research on behalf of my sister who has just lost her husband (last week). He was a legal resident in Germany for over 20 year but his wife who happens to live in Africa had their two children (a 9 year old and a 3 year old) in Africa, and they never visited Germany, but had plans to do so just before their father died…. Now my question is; can the kids get German citizenship based on the fact that their dad had a permanent residency before his death.

  140. Melly says:

    My Great great Grandfather came to America from Germany in 1838 when he was a boy. Is is possible for me to establish German citizenship. I am not sure where to start.

  141. Graham Raath says:

    Hi, I am a serving soldier with the British Army (however I am originally from South Africa and only hold a South African passport) and have been based in Germany since 2007. I got married in March 2013. I would like to become a German national as we intend to live in Germany once I am finished my career. Am I legible to German passport? Thank-you in advance.

    • Three questions:
      1. What’s the citizenship of your spouse?
      2. How good is your German?
      3. Are you willing to give up your South African citizenship?

    • Graham Raath says:

      Wife is German
      I can get by, sometimes takes a bit a of time

    • Then the answer is in no. 6 of the above FAQ.
      The tricky part is that your time as a soldier may not count towards the residency requirement because you did not fall under German immigration law. It might therefore be in your interest to apply for a residence permit in Germany as a spouse now, even though you don’t need it. But then you can be certain that the time will count towards citizenship.

  142. Ann Helsel says:

    Hello Andreas,
    I love your site.
    I am wondering about citizenship, or the possibility for German passport.
    My Great grand parents immigrated to the USA from Germany in 1906.
    My grandmother who was the first to be born in the USA 1908.
    I found a paper my Great Grandfather filed “intent” for citizenship for 1920, yet on 1920 census was still an alien, and as far as I can find they never proceeded with the paperwork. My Grandmother was about 11 years old at the time.
    In 1929 my Grandmother had my father, she was not married at the time.
    Does your # 2. Does ius sanguinis apply for me? Does this make it possible for me to have “blood right” to German citizenship?

    I have many reasons to desire this, one of the most pressing is my son moved to Germany three years ago, and has just married a wonderful German girl. Since they plan to have children I would love to spend extended periods over there and a German passport would make it much easier.
    My son is now fluent in German and I am learning.

    Thank you for any information you can give.

    • Ann Helsel says:

      While I was doing my research I noted there was at one point a law that if a German citizen joined the military of another country German citizenship was lost.
      Since my father was in the US army before I was born 1956, was he not a citizen at the time of my birth?

    • Ann Helsel says:

      Although, upon looking at the law translated into english it clearly states: # 28 of the “German Imperial and State Citizenship law of 1913”:

      “A German who enters the service of a foreign country without the permission of his government may be declared to have lost his citizenship by decision of the central authorities of his home state, if he does not comply with an order to retire therefrom”

      So since my father had never applied for German citizenship, never received an order to ‘retire therefrom’. Does that mean I should go ahead and file for citizenship?

  143. Nathan says:

    Hi Andreas,
    The information here seems great and was hoping you may be able to assist with some guidance. I’m currently trying to obtain german citizenship, and consider myself ethnic german. My grandmother is german (born Naschau, Sudetenland) and arrived in Australia on her german passport late 1950′s, after time in Germany after the Benee.s decree. She is still alive but the German descent goes far back. she married in Australia to a Ukraine man and gave birth to my mother here. At the time of my mums birth (1958) my grandmother was not an Australian citizen, nor has she formally relinquished it. My mum would like to get german citizenship, and I hoping from hers. Is this possible from this information? Any information/feedback would be appreciated.

    I have gone through your FAQ and I still can not determine wether I could get citizenship.

    Kind regards

  144. Jack says:

    Since obtaining another citizenship automatically means you renounce your German citizenship. How does Germany know if you’ve become a citizen of another country and in that case, is your passport invalid even if it hasn’t expired?

    • Finally somebody spotted that! Germany won’t notice that at all, of course (unless you tell them or otherwise advertise the fact of having gained another citizenship). You will usually be able to retain your German passport. Once it expires and you apply for a new one, you will be asked if you have any other citizenship. Then it’s up to you whether you want to be honest or not.

    • Fabio says:

      According to the German Embassy in Brazil, it is required to show a certificate that of “non-naturalization” issued by the country the German citizen used to live.

    • But not all countries will issue such certificates, and also you may have gained the citizenship of another country than the one where you apply for your new passport. These passports are valid for 10 years, so you can live in quite a few countries (and obtain citizenship) while on one German passport.

  145. Jeffrey Haynes says:

    hi I’m a u s citizen I lived in Germany for 21 years I had a permanent visa to reside there I have two children that are living in Germany I had a divorce and moved back to the United States
    I’ve been here 13 yearsI was wondering can I move back to Germany being a parent do I have the right to stay there as I want to be with my family?

    • Because of the length of this citizenship thread, I’d like to keep the residence/immigration questions separate. I’ll put up a separate list of FAQs about residence in Germany as soon as somebody sends me one of the books from my wishlist in order to motivate me.

  146. Christopher says:

    Hello Andreas,

    I have a question about gaining citizenship. My entire maternal side is from Germany, i am first gen born in the US. My mother immigrated at 13 with my grandmother and her US army stepfather after the war. I’m positive the us gov required her to become an american citizen. My parents divorced before i was 5 and i do mot know my fathers side. Both my mother and grandmother passed away about a year apart a few months back and i now have no family. The only family i feel i have is in Germany, can i gain citizenship as my mother could have had dual citizenship in more recent times. Technically couldn’t she have regained her Germany citizenship or dual citizenship as she was forced to lose her Germany citizenship upon arrival in the US in 1969? In turn, could we have gotten mine as well?

    Thank you very much,

  147. Ann says:

    I have not been able to find my German great-grandfathers birth certificate, is there anything else I can use when applying for german citizenship?

  148. abraham kleinman says:

    I was born in Landsberg am Lech Displaced person camp in 1948.My parents were Holocaust survivors and married in Germany in 1946. I and my parents emigrated to the US eleven months after my birth. I became a naturalized US citizen along with my parents in 1957. Having been born on German soil, am I entitled to German/EU citizenship and passport? After all, I was never able to run for the Presidency of the United States even if I was the most qualified candidate. thank you.

    • abraham kleinman says:

      As a follow up, I note that both of my parents were of Polish origin and were teenagers during the war and ended up in Germany after liberation from concentration camps.

  149. Hi thanks for this brilliant website u have created, very clear information provided.
    I am referring to question 7. What do you mean by S14StAG opens possibility. I am a Ghanaian national married to a German national with 3 children living in the Uk. I had my unbefristete before relocating. I want to know if I can apply for a German passport out of the country.
    Thank You.

  150. Marilia says:

    Hi Andreas! Great FAQ. I have a question:
    I am Brazilian, as my father is. My grandfather, who passed away in 2010, was born in Germany, but flew to Brazil when he was 14, with his parents (both German) during WW II, because my great grandmother was of jewish descent. My father was born when my grandparents were not married, in 1958. They’ve established a stable union, which is a type of union that is not a marriage, but entitles the people in it to the same rights as if they were in a marriage. My father never got a German citizenship, and I’m not sure but I imagine my grandfather had lost his German citizenship, since he was a Brazilian citizen.
    My question is if there is a way now (even though my grandfather is not alive anymore) for my father to get a German passport (and a way I can get it aswell), even though he was born outside a marriage.

  151. James Cook says:

    I am British, have been working in Germany for over a year now, I am married to a German for over 3 years, we have been living here for 3 and a half years, can I now apply for a German passport, and if so where do I go and how do start the process?

    • You can apply with your local municipality, preferably after having passed the integration test and the language test. As an EU citizen, you are not required to give up your primary citizenship, so you can keep your British citizenship.

  152. Shafaat says:

    I would like to ask a question. Is it allow to work outside of Germany after getting an assurance of naturalization letter and before getting a German Passport? if yes then how much duration one can stay or work outside of Germany?

    • Once you are a German citizen (for which the certificate of naturalization is relevant), you do not need to fulfil any residency requirement. You don’t need to spend any time in Germany at all and won’t lose German citizenship.
      You can even apply for the German passport in another country. Just go to the German Consulate with your certificate of naturalization. (I do the same as I haven’t been living in Germany for 4 years now.)

  153. Matteo says:

    I love reading your blog. You wrote you have been out of Germany for 4 years now. Are you semi-retired? Enjoying the freedom of travel and study? Did you become tired of being in an office? I think many dream of doing your kind of lifestyle and experiencing many different countries. In my 40s, I am ready to “semi-retire” and enjoy years of travel and study but I wonder if not having that “regular daily work cycle” would lead to a life with less direction. Just curious and congratulate you on your freedom in a life that many would love to lead.

    • Yes, you could call it semi-retired. I am still working, but far less. I do afford that by living in countries with lower expenses and by having reduced my material requirements (for example by getting rid of a car).
      And yes, I was really tired of the office job and the daily, weekly, annual routine of working as a lawyer. The clients change, but the cases and problems really don’t. It became too repetitive, and so I quit after 7 years.

      I would not say I have “less direction”, the direction is just a different one. No longer focused on becoming ever more “successful”, I can now concentrate on finding fulfilment, mainly through studying and reading, but also travelling.

      Of course I am poorer since I quit my job, but I am much happier and much more relaxed. No more sleepless nights, and if I want I can leave my phone turned off for a whole week.

    • Matteo says:

      You inspire. After 23 years in Asia as a work-a-holic, I look forward to following partially in your footsteps and living the life as a multi-passport holder and explore, study and live to enjoy and not work to live. A lot of your advice truly makes great sense and I wish you continued success!

  154. Alex Leo says:

    Hi Andreas,
    I have been married to a German for five years now and he wants me to apply for German citizenship. I have all the documents , including the the B1 and the einbürgerungstest certificates, asked for by the ausländeramt, but I am not sure if my speaking and listening comprehension skills are good enough. There are still instances that I find it difficult to speak and to understand spoken German. Should I still go through with my application or will my weak language skills be a reason for a rejection? Since I have to give up my citizenship, I am of course afraid that I will end up stateless.

    • Alex Leo says:

      Just want to add to that, I have also lived in Germany for five years and I have been working for a German company for three years now. Still, my German language skills are not really good.

    • 1) If you have the B1 certificate and if you have passed the Einbürgerungstest, you should really be fine. You pass the formal criteria, so you should not be tested again by the naturalization official. Maybe prepare yourself a bit for the standard questions they may ask (about your life, your marriage, your plans for staying in Germany), so that you won’t be caught completely off guard.
      But remember: it’s Germany. If something has been certified on paper, which official would doubt that? :-)

      2) Whether you have to give up your original citizenship depends on which citizenship you have, as there are exceptions for quite a number of countries. Whether there is a risk for statelessness depends on how the process works in your home country. Some countries allow you to renounce your citizenship (which you then only need to do once Germany has approved your application), some countries make you lose your citizenship automatically once you receive German citizenship.

    • Alex Leo says:

      Thank you so much, Andreas. :)

  155. stan chichinski says:

    I’m 56 and was born a German citizen to my German mother. I have my original passport. She got pregnant by an American GI who rotated out(left) whom I have not met. She married when I was two years old to another GI who after returning stateside eventually adopted me when I was 12. It was then that I became a naturalized American citizen. Is it possible for me to return to German citizenship or possibly dual citizenship?

    • If you were naturalized in the US upon your (or your mother’s and your father’s) application, then you may have lost German citizenship back then (§ 25 I StAG). If you received US citizenship as an automatic consequence of the adoption, you maintained your German citizenship.

      If you lost it, you may of course apply for German citizenship again (§ 13 StAG), but Germany would then require you to renounce your US citizenship.

  156. Naveen says:

    Hello Andreas,
    I am 39 years indian citizen having a german spouse and living in germany for almost 2 years and completed my B1 language skill. I would like to know if i get divorced from my wife in 6 months, can i get german passport if i like to continue live and work in germany and another question is: How much time it takes to get german passport/citizenship if marriage continues.
    Thanks in advance.

    • If you can continue to live and work in Germany after your separation/divorce depends on the type of residence permit you have (and is a matter for a different set of FAQs).
      If your marriage continues, you are eligible to receive German citizenship after 3 years of living in Germany. The process will then take a few months at least.
      If you get divorced before, you could still apply for German citizenship, but you would then fall under the requirement of 7 years of residence in Germany. Therefore, if there is any chance to continue the marriage, I’d recommend doing so if obtaining German citizenship is your objective. Once you are a German citizen, you can separate/divorce right away and it won’t affect your citizenship anymore.

  157. Randolph says:

    This link is for everybody that mentioned the no citizenship path through your mother Issue. On the 28th of March 2012 The German Federal Ministry of the Interior created a new mandate to make exception to the rule that if you were born before 1975 you couldn’t get naturalized through your German mother. It was only possible through a German father.The problem with the mandate at least for people that currently live/work in Germany is in a small sentence under the heading that says “For people who live abroad”. This line is not repeated anywhere else in the official requirements to qualify for this mandate. Nor does it seem to say you are disqualified if you currently live in Germany.


    • Naturalization was always possible, whether you had a German mother or a German father. Only the ius sanguinis was applied differently before 1975. German now tries to rectify this by offering naturalization for what should have been citizenship by birth anyway.
      I also don’t see any reason why people living in Germany would be disqualified, especially as somebody who lives in Germany can easily pretend that he doesn’t by providing a foreign address. But realistically, those living in Germany who fall under this group already would have been naturalized a long time ago after passing the language test and the integration requirement.

    • Randolph says:

      Hello Andreas and a quick thanks to you offering this FAQ. Indeed you could always get naturalized as you said. The thing I found interesting about this mandate is it seems to bypass two important requirements of the regular application process. That is the amount of time that you have to be a resident in Germany to apply and more important that it waivers having to give up your current citizenship. I highlight that point because although the naturalization application has a yes and no selection on the question of giving up your citizenship the chances of being denied are more likely if the reasons for saying no are not valid.That can certainly be subjective and a gray area at best. Having it clear in this mandate seems a better option. I agree with what you said about not seeing reasons to be disqualified if currently living in Germany but I can’t find a Federal or local office to clarify this point outside of “It might be possible”. Again a gray at best.

  158. kareen linde says:

    I have read the posts here but cannot find an easy answer to my question.
    My mother, now 86, was born in Germany as were her parents and their parents. My father, now 91 was born and raised in Latvia, his mother being Latvian and his father a German.
    My father fled Latvia for Germanay during WWII where he met my mother and they married in 1947. They came to Australia in 1949 as displaced citizens and were eventually naturalized as Australians in 1954 . I was born in 1951 in Australia and am now wondering if I can am eligible for a German Passport.

  159. Doris F says:

    Hello Andreas,
    First of all, thank you for the support and clarifications you’ve been offering. Are you still in Lithuania, so I can send a book?

    My question is a complicated one. Here we:
    My dad- German, married my mum- Nigerian in 1978 under Nigerian customary law where my mother’s family and some of my dad’s friends were present. My dad always worked for German companies in Nigeria and the German embassy issued my mother visas as Mrs. F, and in 1986 they requested that my parents get an affidavit to support/ prove their marraige which they did and this was accepted by the Embassy and continued recognising my mother ad Mrs. F for over 23 years. When I was 23, my dad visited the Embassy in Lagos and requested that I get the German citizenship ( I did not get this earlier as he was afraid I would not stay with them in Nigeria, & when he realised his mistake wanted to fix it) he was told that I had to apply for Einburgerung. In the same year I got married, & was expecting a bay. I applied a year later but was told that 1. I had no ties to Germany, 2. My parents were not married ( the same time, my mum applied for residence permit as my dad had just gone into Rente and they wanted to return to Germany) due to this hesitation & to avoid complications, my parents went and got married again in a registry. After that the embassy conducted an investigation on my parents, and the reports were genuine, they had been together for over 23years. My Mum got her papers and they have been living in Germany for 7 years now. In 2006, My dad advised me to apply for a passport, where i submitted birth certificates of my dad and his parents all getan through and through, but everything went pear shaped as the argument of the Bundesverwaltungsamt was that I was illegitimate, and after the re-marriage of my parents in 2005, I still do not gain citizenship. It did not matter what our lawyer tried and they argued every loop hole.
    Can you advice. If necessary, I can call you and even send you copies of the replies and if you can represent me.
    Your response is highly appreciated.

  160. Christine says:

    Hello Andreas,

    Thank you for valuable information you have posted here. My step father is German and he legally adopted me when I was already an adult in US. I never thought about obtaining german residency or citizenship since we live in the States. He and my Mom recently moved to German and plan to live there long term. Do I have the rights to apply for german residency or German citizenship without giving up US citizenship if I decide to move to Germany with them?

    Thank you so much!

  161. Reham says:

    I am from Egypt and my Egyptian father in law married a German woman since 20 years and he gave up his Egyptian citizenship 10 years ago and he obtained the German one. He also has a daughter who is German and living in Germany. My question is, do my Egyptian husband who is born in 1974 is eligible to a German citizenship ? Or can he also get a German permenant residence? Thnx

    • Your husband only could have received German citizenship if at least one of his parents was German at the time of his birth.
      But he may have the chance to apply for German citizenship now through naturalization.

      As to the residence permit, anyone can apply for that, but I’d like to keep that separate from citizenship law and cover it in a different set of FAQs.

    • Reham says:

      Thanks for your reply. My question now how can I start the naturalization process and what are the requirements?

    • The requirements for naturalization should really be covered by the above FAQ.

  162. Andrew Macky says:

    Hi Andreas,

    You mentioned that a person applying for German citizenship should show that he has integrated himself in the country. How is this done? I mean, to prove you can speak German, a German language certificate is the proof. What about integration ? Is it proven through an interview?

    Thank you so much.

    • There is an integration course, at the end of which there is an exam. It’s a multiple choice test which is not too hard.
      If you want to prove more integration (e.g. if you want to apply early), you can point to social, environmental, academic, political, sports, business activities that you do in Germany.

  163. ossie argmann says:

    Hi Andreas,
    German citizenship question for you. Once you share your Italian Shipping Address I would be happy to send you a book from your wish list. I was born in Freising, Germany in November 1970. My father at the time was a Canadian Citizen. He was a Sudeten German who after the war ended up in Canada, working there, and was advised in the 50’s to get the Canadian citizenship. So, he did. His sister and brother and parents were all still in Nuremberg Germany and he kept a house there. He married my mother in 1968. They lived in Germany and then later in Canada. She was and is still a german citizen. they came to Canada in 1972. All of my relatives; aunts, oma, opa, cousins etcetera all live in Germany. I speak German and have my oma’s little house there. My sisters were born in Sudbury, Ontario in 1972 and in 1975. My youngest sister, although born in Canada was able to get her dual citizenship because of the year she was born in. My question for you is: is it possible for me to somehow obtain dual citizenship if I was born in 1970 in Germany to a father who was a Canadian citizen at the time of my birth and to my mother who was a german citizen at the time of my birth. Thanks, Maria

    • Hello Maria,
      here’s my new address: Andreas Moser, Via Cucinotti 56, (ex VI traversa), 98047 Rometta Marea (ME), Italy.
      Now to your question: The good news is that Germany is finally trying to rectify the cases of those who were born to German mothers prior to 1975. You can now apply for naturalization without living in Germany according to § 14 StAG.

    • Maria says:

      Hello Andreas… that is so AMAZING!! You have made my day! Which book title would you most like to have at this time? I’ll send it to you. Thanks for your reply to my question; I am so happy!!! Maria

    • I am also happy that I was able to spread some good news. It doesn’t happen too often.
      Just pick something that you would like or that you think would be enjoyable. I’ll be happy to let you surprise me. – And thank you very much in advance already!

  164. Doris F says:

    Hallo Adreas, ich habe eine frage: das Staatsangehörigkeitgesetz 1975 gilt das auch für Kinder die im 1979 geboren sind, oder ist es nur das Gesetz von 1993?

  165. M. Yasir Shamim says:

    Hello Sir, I am Yasir from Pakistan, I am going to be married with German girl next year and I am basically Chemical Engineer by profession of having 5 years of experience in my pocket, my question is that if I go to Germany after marriage then can I find suitable job regarding my profession over there on Pakistani University accredited degree or should I have to study there and then to find job there or something else? and on spouse visa after married, can I get free education there? and in which time I will get German passport and nationality …………………Kindly guide me in this regard, I will be very thankful to you.
    Yasir Shamim

    • 1. I don’t know about the job situation for chemical engineers, sorry.
      2. Yes, you’ll be eligible to enrol in university, where most courses and degrees are free or cost just a small amount (like 500 EUR per semester).
      3. The question about citizenship is answered in the above FAQ (no. 6).

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  167. renn says:

    hello, my german husband came to Africa 20 years ago, we got married 5 years ago and have a five year old daughter. He lost pretty much everything on a business deal that went sour. he wants to return to germany but has not much financial support, again we never registered out child at the german embassy, is she entitled to german citizenship? my husband does not have his social security card but still has a german passport would i be allowed to tag along with him because he plans to return to germany…. is he entitled to citizenship(german) benefits after being out of germany for so long?

  168. Abdu says:

    Hello Anders.

    my query is about become German citizen . my brother has German passport as I live or stay with him now about almost two years .

    Is there any possibility to have German passport to or citizenship or whatever ?
    Could you please advice me what could I do to live and stay in Germany ?

    Kind regards .


  169. Faisal says:

    Hello Anders,
    If i wish to obtain the German citizenship,than i have to live 8 years continuously in Germany or i can go to my homeland Pakistan for some time with in that duration of living in germany for obtaining german citizenship?

  170. Raja says:

    Hello Andreas,
    You said that for other foreigners, it is anything between 3 and 8 years.What is the criteria to get the citizenship in 3 years other than the marriage option?
    Danke Schön

    • An excellent result on your German test, a tremendous level of integration, a good income or a large business investment and preferably playing football well.

    • Raja says:

      Thank You :)

    • Raja says:

      And is it hard to get dual citizenship? (from Lebanon)

    • Because I get so many questions on dual citizenship and because it is a complex issue in itself, I would like to write a separate set of FAQ about dual citizenship. I am just waiting for somebody to send me one of the books on my wishlist in order to motivate me enough to do it.

    • Raja says:

      i read that on dual citizenshipif the renunciation process is too difficult/humiliating and/or too expensive (e.g. Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia) i know you want to post later, but i saw that on wikipedia is it true?

  171. Granit V says:

    hi everyone
    I’m 18 years old i live in republic of Kosovo with my parents,i have born in germany in 1995,i have a certificate birth of germany in 2000 i went to Kosovo and now i live in kosovo for 13 years.Can i get now citizenship(German)??
    who knows tell me… :)

  172. Manish says:

    Hi all,

    I lived in Germany between 2001 to 2007 (a total of 6 years and 3 months), for my Masters and Ph.D. before returning to India. The first two years were as a student on a residence permit and the remaining time was as an employee of the university. I speak good enough German.

    If I were to return to Germany now for an employment at the university or industry, will I be entitled to naturalisation within the next two years? What about my wife and infant baby who have never lived in Germany before?

    Many thanks in advance.

  173. Moritz says:


    Finde im Netz wiedersprüchliche Dinge, deswegen Frag ich einfach mal hier bei dir (we also studied in London, like you!):

    Meine Freundin ist Tschechin, hat aber eine (mittlerweile verstorbene) Deutsche Oma. Es ist möglich die Papiere die das beweißen bei einem Amt in Polen abzuholen (da das ja damals Deutschland war und sie bei der übergabe/übername nach Tschechien geflohen ist.).

    Ist es möglich für sie einen Deutschen Pass zu bekommen? Ist es schwer/Wie lange dauert es? Kosten? Erste Schritte?

    Sie spricht Deutsch, müsste aber für einen Einbürgerungstest noch fleissig Deutsche Geschichte/Politik/etc lernen.

    Vielen, vielen Dank!

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  175. migueldelaveganyc4 says:

    Reblogged this on Italian American Citizenship.

  176. LizyB says:

    Hello Andreas. Thank you for your very helpful blog! I could not find my exact situation, so I thought I’d try asking. Here are the facts:
    1. I am a dual German-American citizen by birth (born in U.S.A. before 1975 to a German father & Spanish mother)
    2. I was NOT married when I gave birth to my son in the U.S.A. (late ’90’s) and the biological father’s name was NOT on my son’s birth certificate when I applied for his German passport (father abandoned us & refused for his name to be on B.C., so it was left blank).
    3. At the time of my son’s original German passport application and subsequent renewal in 2008, the German consulate did NOT require a statement from the biological father at either time of application.
    4. In 2006, I married a U.S. citizen and in 2010, my husband (step father) adopted my son.
    5. At the time of adoption, my son changed his last name to the U.S. adoptive father’s last name and thus his U.S. birth certificate name was changed and his U.S. passport name was changed to his new last name.
    6 . NOTE: By German law (and for less paperwork…), I chose to keep my “Family Name” the same as my birth, maiden last name for my German passport/citizenship purposes; but changed my last name to my husband’s last name in the U.S. ONLY. So on my German passport, I have my maiden last name.
    7. When I returned to the Consulate to renew / apply for my son’s German passport (he is now 15yrs old), they asked for his current birth certificate, U.S. passport (both have new name) along with my German passport (my maiden last name/”Family Name”), and adoption papers/adoptive father’s U.S. passport.
    8. I asked the German consulate if my son could just renew his German passport in the same “Family Name” (my maiden name) as his original German passport and they told me that their Legal Dept must review all the paperwork to determine if his new German passport MUST be changed to his new, U.S. last name as the “Family Name” privilege only applies to the person getting married and in this case, my son’s last name on his birth certificate has been changed. NOTE: they kept a copy of both my son’s original birth certificate (in my maiden last name) and his post-adoption birth certificate with his new name.
    9. Where this gets more complicated is that on the adoption papers, it notes the biological father’s name; however, the biological father’s name is NOT on my son’s original birth certificate. So the consulate said that this may be a problem if a name change is required for German citizenship. They also said there is a possibility that my son may lose his German citizenship entirely.

    I’d like to know what your opinion is in this matter and if you think my son may be able to keep our “Family Name” (my maiden last name, just like I did after marriage) and simply renew his passport as it was or if he will be REQUIRED to change his last name on his German passport – which will involve all the adoption paperwork and issues with the biological father’s consent to the original application.

    I hope that makes sense. Let me know if you need more info. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Thank you!

  177. LizyB says:

    P.S. I see your link to the BOOKS you like (lol…that is a nice LONG list!) I promise I will send you one if you respond to my post above!

  178. LizyB says:

    Last post, I promise. I found this under Section 27 of the NATIONALITY ACT (Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz, StAG) and hope this means that although my son was adopted by a U.S. father, he may retain his German dual citizenship as long as he is still related to his German (me/dual) mother?:
    [Loss of citizenship on adoption by a foreigner]
    A German under the age of majority shall lose his or her citizenship as a result of adoption by a foreigner in accordance with German law, if he or she acquires the adopting person’s citizenship by virtue of such adoption. The loss of citizenship shall extend to his or her descendants where the acquisition of citizenship by the adoptee pursuant to sentence 1 also extends to the descendants. The loss under sentence 1 or sentence 2 shall not take effect if the adoptee or his or her descendants maintain a legal relation to their German parent.

    • Such a long question involving the laws of two countries is really a bit beyond what I can answer for free or for a book. But if you e-mail me, I’d be happy to answer it in full for my usual consultation fee of 150 €.

  179. Allen says:

    Is it ever possible for a descendant -living in another country- to obtain German citizenship via ius sanguinis if the grandparent joined the armed forces of another country with out obtaining permission first, before children were born?

    • Yes, it’s possible. For example if the person was drafted, he is not considered to have joined the military of another country “voluntarily”,

  180. Salome says:

    Hi Andreas, your blog is very interesting, but I did not find the answer for my case, hope you can help me.
    I am married to a german since longer than 1 year and we have being living in Germany for 1 year. I passed already the B1 test and the Einburgerung test. In principle, I have all the requirements except two missing: the 2 years being married and the 3 years living in germany.

    My question is: Is it possible to apply for “early” citizenship (less than 3 years living in germany)?

    For example, in 1 year when i will be > 2 years married, but just 2 years living in germany ? or before ?

    If yes, Is it needed some integration proves like charity, volunteer, etc activities? any other requirements?

    Thanks in advance

  181. Andre says:

    Hello Andreas,
    I am a South-African male aged 31. My wife is also a South African but has a German passport, she is also 31 (Born 1982 in SA). We now have a baby who is 6 months old and we still live in SA. Will we be able to get a passport for our baby boy? My wife’s mother was born in Germany I think in 1949 then fled to SA.. And if that is possible where does that leave me in terms of options for an EU dependency visa ?

    • Because your wife is German, her/your child is German as well (citizenship by descent).
      I am planning on writing another set of FAQ specifically on the EU freedom of movement rights, especially for third-country spouses of EU citizens, but I am just waiting for somebody to send me a book from my wishlist to move this task up on my to-do list.

  182. What about my father and grandparents who escaped the DDR to the GDR, and were forced to flee to Amerika and become naturalized US citizens because of the Stasi trying to grab my grandfather back for being involved with the workers strikes at Karl Zeiss in Jena in ’54. Yes, no, maybe? I am too old to effectively play fußball, but I am pretty good with IT related stuff, and seriously considering requesting asylum somewhere else, where sanity is currently prevailing.

  183. Bola says:

    Dear sir,l am a nigerian,My father lived in germany for many years and got his citizenship.l wish to come to germany for my master degree programe.please sir,l will like to know if there is any right l could benefit from,being a child of a german citizen.

  184. natalie says:

    hey Andreas, lam separeted with my germany man for almost 4years now he is now my best friend , now want to apply for germany pass but l dont work coz l have small baby . can it be possible for me to apply citizenship with income from my husband coz we are still married not divorced. have been in Germany for 8 years and l have already my permanet stay in germany. l dont get any welfare from state. any clue about this?

  185. Chris says:

    Hi Andreas. I was born in West Germany in 1967, lived there a total of 9 years as my dad was in the British Army, my Mother and Father are both British. My Son was born in England in 2003 and plays football at a high level. My question is … Would he be eligible to play for either Germany and/or England? Also, would I be eligible for joint citizenship. (apologies if you have already answered this question elsewhere). Kind regards. Chris

  186. Sanny says:

    Dear Sir, I have a son with German guy, but we’re not married. My son (3 y.o) was born in indonesia and last year we already got my son’s birth certificate from Berlin because of his declaration a “vaterschaftanerkennung”. The father of my son wants my son to live in Berlin too as soon as possible, is it possible for me to go too and work there legally since I cannot speak Germany at all. I really need your advise. Thank you in advance.

  187. Jessica says:

    Thank you for posting this! Just to clarify a few things, my father is German but we do not have much of a relationship. He lives in Germany and I don’t, I doubt he will consider helping me out so is it possible to get a citizenship without his help and with proof of DNA? BTW I was born 1993 and my parents were not married at the time of my birth.

    • You need to have legal paternity established, either by your father having acknowledged it or by going to court, which would order your father to consent to the DNA test if necessary.

  188. Altaf says:


    Can I apply for citizenship when I’m in Germany after a month of Culture Exchange Programme.
    By the way, I’m from Pakistan.

  189. Amy says:

    Thank you for the time and effort you have put into compiling this detailed yet easy to follow information. My great-grand parents were both born in Germany and immigrated to the US where my grandmother was born around 1920. Under #2 I may qualify however I do not know how to find out if my great grandparents ever lost their citizenship. I know that there are websites such as ancestry.com, but I assume I will need official documentation and proof. Any suggestions on how to obtain official proof? Many Kind Regards!

    • The main ways for US citizens to have lost German citizenship are naturalization in the US or military service for the US. So if you find out about both or either of such events in your ancestors’ history, you just need to find out whether they occurred before the next generation was born or after.

  190. nancy ruble says:

    born in Germany in 1952 adopted by us citizens my father was stationed there in the army came to the states in 1955 both my parents are deceased I need to prove that I am a citizen at bthis point I don’t know if I am need this for SS and a passport I really need help

  191. sheena says:

    if an indian female marries an indian who has migrated to German and has Germanpassort will the lady’s passport be changed to german if so how ?

    • You won’t receive German citizenship immediately, but you can apply for naturalization after living in Germany for 3 years. (See no. 6 of the above FAQ.)

  192. Eunice says:

    I am from Philippines working in UAE, My husband is from Germany. We got marry last month in Denmark and done the registration in Germany. In December I will take A1 course to speak and understand basic German language. My question is; If you are married with German National, Am I allowed to work in Germany even I can only speak a little German language? Do you know any constitutions which can help me to find a job? I am undergraduate in college.

    Very much appreciated your help in this regard.

    From UAE

    • I’ll be happy to put up a similar list of FAQ on immigration to Germany, but I’d like to keep it separate from this thread on citizenship because they are really two different things. I’ll put up these FAQ as soon as somebody mails me one of the books from my wishlist to do so.

    • Eunice says:

      Thank you.

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  195. corey turpin says:

    hi my granfather was born in germany and so was his father but they both became u.s. citizens as am i can i becone a german citizen under the ius sanguinis laws
    furthermore i would like to completely denounce my u.s. citezenship will this affect the decision for german citizenship

    • 1) If your father had lost his German citizenship (e.g. by acquiring US citizenship without obtaining prior consent from Germany) before you were born, then he could not have passed it on to you. You can then not invoke ius sanguinis.
      2) If you wish to apply for naturalization in Germany, then Germany would indeed require you to give up your US citizenship.

    • Matteo says:

      Isn’t it case by case? I’ve seen a few friends take German citz through blood and their grandpa were German when their father was born because grandfathers citz was taken after father was born in the usa. I guess that means when grandfathers are displaced people, that means they were not yet Americans and so in Germany’s citz law the father was a German citz despite not being born in Germany and that made the grandsons through patriarchal blood German citizens.

    • Matteo says:

      I apologize. My mistake. My friends grandparents went to Canada and not the USA.
      Therefore when they did they were DP (displaced people) when their fathers were born as citizenship was not given to Germans until 1954 in Canada. Maybe that is the loophole?

    • Could be. For ius sanguinis, the parent(s) always need(s) to have German citizenship at the time the next generation is born. Whether they lose it afterwards is irrelevant. Whether they knew that they had it or not is irrelevant as well.

  196. Moon Beam says:

    Hello- I was born in Germany on a US base that is now closed. My mother turned down my citizenship upon my birth and I was granted citizenship to the US. Now as an adult I wish to return to Germany, Maybe even reside there permanently in the future after an initial test year. My question to you is if I could regain at the very least a living visa if not a citizenship. I have read about the student visas and artist visas. I hope for something more permanent. Thank you in advance for your aide in anyway. :)

    • Without knowing
      – when you were born,
      – what citizenship both of your parents had at the time of your birth,
      – and whether they were married,
      it’s almost impossible to answer your question.

    • Moon Beam says:

      Oh Sorry. Both US Air-force and US citizens. I was born in 1987- October. And they were not Married. :) It was on a US “Territory”/ Base. If I have left anything out, please let me know. Thank you very much for your time and effort :)

    • If both your parents were US citizens only, you did not obtain German citizenship at the time of birth. In 1987, Germany had no ius soli component in its citizenship law.

      You will have to take the visa/immigration route, unfortunately. As soon as somebody sends me one of the books from my wishlist to buy my gratitude, I will post a similar set of FAQs on immigration to Germany.

    • Moon Beam says:

      Thank you very much :)

  197. Waleed Ur Rehman says:

    I’m from Pakistan and I’ve been living in UAE, Abu Dhabi for 5 years as a student and now I’m planning to advance to Germany to pursue BSCS so I’m curious to have a nationality if I’m going to reside there for 3 years. I’m not sure if I qualify? I have no relative there. Does it work the same way as Canada that you live there and so you can apply for a nationality. Please respond, I’ll highly appreciate it. Thank you!

  198. steve lischynksy says:

    I was born in Germany in 1946, my dad was a forceable guest in Dora, Ashwitze and other places before that and my mother was also a forceable domestic worker. They got married and we stayed in Germany till 1950 and immigrated to canada. We all have canadian citizenship since 1960. Do I have any rights to a dual german citizenship. I would not give up my canadian citizenship.

    • I am glad your parents survived that hell!
      What citizenships did your parents have? If none of them had German citizenship, you did not obtain German citizenship by descent. Ius soli was not yet in place in 1946.
      And then even if you had German citizenship at birth, you would have lost it when you got naturalized in Canada, if you or your parents applied for that naturalization.

  199. Ali says:

    Thanks for your kind information, I was born in germany in 1997 and migrated to pakistan after 3 years, my father lived 30 years in germany but never accuired german citizenship, sadly he died 10 years ago, Please tell me how could i apply for it?? Thanks in advance.

  200. Hatem says:

    for your FAQ #6, do you know of any cases which was naturalized after 3 years cause I always read it is between 6 and 8 years?

    Also what do you mean by “the passport is only a travel document”. what is the difference between naturalization and citizenship?

    • Naturalization of spouses of German citizens usually occurs after 3 years. Other cases are often sports-related.

      Naturalization is the process to obtain citizenship.

    • Hatem says:

      no I dont mean spouse case. I mean other foreigners as you referred in your answer. I does not have to be a sports case. It could be for someone who lives in Germany and work there. He is entitled to apply for naturalization, but I have always seen that this is after 6-8 years. You mentioned 3-8 years, so that is why I am interested to know if there are similar cases under 6 years for non spouse.

  201. R.Raja says:


    I am an Indian. I’m working and living with my family here at Portugal past one year. My wife is pregnant now and the expected delivery date is on April 2014 first week. I have few doubts, that is,

    1. how can i get a new passport for my infant. Where it should be from? Portugal or India….

    2. Usually how many weeks it would take to get a fresh passport?

    3. If it is a Portugal passport, can we continue with that passport for going and coming India?

    4.If so, how much i have to pay for Indian visa for the newly born baby?

    thank you very much.

  202. Ali says:

    Which book do you want from your wishlist?? I can send you by courier, tell me book name and your address

    • Hello Ali,
      that’s very generous of you! Currently I already have a lot of heavy stuff to read and to study, so I’ll be happy about any of the novels from my wishlist. I’ll let you surprise me.
      My current address is at the bottom of the wishlist.
      Thank you very much in advance already!

  203. Petra says:

    My children were born in the USA in 1989 and 1992. I was a german citizen at the time of their births and their father is an US citizen. I am now a US citizen. Is it true that my children will lose their german citizenship at age 23?

  204. nico basson says:

    hello Andreas, I am a south african citizen livivng and working in Germany on a spouse visa (unbefristet) I have been here for seven years now and am considering to apply for naturalisation. My son (23 years old) living in south africa would like to reunite with me and my wife and is currently learning to speak german. Once he has achieved an intermediate level of german, what are his chances to apply for a work permit in Germany (he is a music teacher)

    • Because this thread is already full of hundreds of questions on citizenship, I’d like to keep the questions on residence and work permits separately. As soon as somebody sends me one of the books from my wishlist to do so, I’ll set up a similar list of FAQ on residence and work permits in Germany. Alternatively, I can of course schedule a private consultation, but I do charge 200 € for that.

  205. I will get you one of your books if you can answer :) . My Grandfather, and his father were both German, He was born in Aachen in 1906, and my great Grandfather, around 1890. there is some confusion as to if this was Belgium or Germany, as there was Belgian occupation after WW1 between 1918 and 1929.My Great Grandfather was killed, as he had married an English Woman (by Nazi soldiers) – he was shot and thrown into a lake. My great Grandmother took my grandfather and his Bother (her sons) back to England, and they were naturalised British. My father (deceased) – Born in Southern Rhodeisa, and My mother – Born in Zambia, both have British Passports. My Brother and I where both born in Rhodesia( 1976 and 1979), pre independence whilst it was still British Sovereignty.

    We tried to apply for German passports about 10 yrs ago, but were told that because my Grandfather renounced his citizenship, and because we dont speak german, we do not qualify for passports. this seemed strange to me, as he was a child at the time of his involuntary departure from Germanyand that they left Germany under duress,and that he should have been eligible to his birthright.
    British Passports dont seem like an option, as it requires a GRANDPARENT to be born in the UK, not naturalised there. My mother lives in Spain, on a british passport, but my Brother and I are stuck in Africa, Paying for the sins of our forefathers ! Any insight would be much appreciated. I could paypal you and you could just grab the book you want…

    • Generally, if your grandfather renounced his German citizenship before he gave birth to your father or mother, then he could not have passed on German citizenship.

      Looking into your specific case unfortunately requires a bit more work than I could do for a book. I would need to research the laws in place at that time and look for any possibility for an exception due to your particular family history. For a full consultation, I charge a flat fee of 150 EUR.

      Alternatively, you can of course always apply for naturalization, even if you don’t live in Germany, but speaking German is a must in that case.

  206. I think I would like to book a consultation with you. My brother is away in Bali on vacation right now, and he has all the documentation that went back and forth between the consular and himself. we were paying a lady in Johannesburg to translate etc. If there is some sort of case to be made for Naturalisation, we would definitely look at that… would you be able to look at this after xmas ?

    • Oh sure, just contact me again after Christmas. You don’t need to translate any of the documents for me, as long as they are either in English or in German.
      We can also set up the Skype consultation in a way that both you and your brother can participate.
      When you contact me then, please include a link to this comment, so that I remember the case.

    • Hi Andreas
      My Brother has returned form his vacation, and I have spoken to him about a consultation with you. he has asked that i ask you this before we proceed, as he has already been through the process, and wonders if there could be a different outcome…

      Hi Andreas

      I have found out that the German Embassy did an investigation into my grandfather’s German ancestry. They concluded that because he became a British citizen (through naturalisation in 1919) that he lost his German nationality and therefore could not pass German nationality to his children or grandchildren. This is what German Embassy in Pretoria have stated. You stated that we should go ahead and apply for naturalisation. How is this possible when they have stated it is impossible ?

      Do you handle cases where you work with exceptions and find loopholes to gain rights to German

      nationality ?



    • Hello Garth,

      naturalization is something completely different than having obtained German citizenship by descent. That’s why I recommended to look into naturalization because it seems to me that your grandfather did indeed lose his German citizenship when he was naturalized in the UK.

  207. Ellie says:

    Hi Andreas,

    This question may be too specific, but I’d be very grateful if you are able to advise. My maternal grandmother was born in Berlin in 1916. She was Jewish, and officially stateless from birth because her father was stateless. He was born in a town that is now in Ukraine but was then part of Romania. He was also Jewish and I think fought with Austria in WW1. Some combination of these things (I’m not sure what aspect of it) made him stateless before my grandmother’s birth. Under what was German law at that time she inherited his stateless status at birth.

    My grandmother was forced out of Germany in 1938/9 when she received an official letter telling her she would have to leave or be imprisoned. She obtained a domestic visa to the UK and this is where we live now. Had she remained in Germany, and if history had been different, presumably she and/or her descendents would eventually have been given their German citizenship once the law changed.

    Would I be able to obtain dual UK/German citizenship under the special law that applies to Jewish descendents, (for myself and my children, and my mother also) or would my grandmother’s birth status as stateless be an obstacle to this?

    Many thanks!

  208. ktm says:

    Hi, both my parents are filipinos,but i was born in vienna in 1980, after which i was brought home to philippines. Can i get a german passport? I am now currently living in Dubai.

  209. sonya says:

    I was born in Germany in 1994 to two parents of foregin citizenship so is there any chanve for me to get a passport?

    • You might have been eligible, but your parents would have needed to file that application by 31 December 2000 (§ 40b StAG).

    • sonya says:

      And is there anything i could do about it now?

    • Sonya,
      I would need to know far more details about your case then, such as your parents’ and your citizenship, how long each of you lived in Germany, under what immigration status, when you left, what you do now and how good your German is.
      If you send me an e-mail with all these details and one of the books from my wishlist, I’ll be happy to help.

  210. tonisha says:

    Hi, My husband had a baby with a woman in Germany and he pays child support for his child but the mother will not allow him the right to see his child I was wondering how do we go about getting the right to see her and do Germany citizens have social security numbers because I asked him if he take care of her why do he not claim her on taxes and he says its because she has no number. Is this correct?

    • None of these questions are related to citizenship law, the thread of this post. I’d be happy to put up similar FAQs on child support and visitation/contact with children if you could mail me two books from my wishlist.

  211. Matteo says:

    Love reading your blog. Citizenship is fascinating.
    Would you ever start-up a blog for simplified naturalization for Hungary, or citizenship for the Czech Rep (new law starting next week) or even Slovakia which keeps its citizenship laws strict unlike neighboring Hungary (simp nat citz in Hungary made Slovakia began non-dual).
    This whole area is quite fascinating and the numbers that have already applied in Hungary since 2011 is almost at 500,000 (large % already received citizenship) and the Czech laws should bring upon some interest. Many grandparents were born in present day CzechRep or SlovakRep but at that time was the Kingdom of Hungary that allows grandchildren relatively quick and painless citizenship.

    • I am quite interested in comparative citizenship law and also the legal and political philosophy behind the concept of citizenship.
      But I would probably never write anything as detailed as these FAQ on any other country, for the simple reason that I am only a German lawyer. I am not qualified to give advice on the laws of other countries.
      I will however comment on the developments in other countries if they are of general interest, like the recent Maltese initiative to sell citizenship.

    • I am currently looking into a investment visa for hungary, matteo, pls could you link to your source of info ??? thanks

  212. Tom Kershaw says:

    Hi Andreas,

    Thanks for all the great info. I am an American living in Berlin. I am married to a German woman and we have a daughter. We have only been officially married for one year and I have a 3-year residency permit. If we get divorced, is there any chance of me being unable to renew this permit (or lose it) once the three years is up?



    • Because this is not really a question on citizenship, I would like to keep that on a separate list of FAQ. As soon as someone mails me one of the books from my wishlist to get me motivated, I will put up the FAQ on spousal and family reunion residence permits in Germany.

  213. Roshan de silva says:

    Dear Andreas,

    Thanks for keeping this blog alive, appreciate the help you have provided to many of us.

    You say that one cannot be denied a German passport if he/she has spent 8 years in Germany.
    I am a Srilankan and will complete my 8th year in Germany till MAY 2014. I got my masters degree from Germany and been employed for the last 3 years by a well known Company. I did get my permanent residency an year ago but still need Visa to visit certain counties in Europe and America. So it makes a lot of sense for me to hold a German passport. Although i must say that my German language skills haven’t improved a lot over a period of time. I could manage a living with my German skills but cant participate in long discussion with a German.
    How do u rate my chances of getting a German Passport ? Do u suggest me an year long language course before i apply ?


  214. William N Faller says:

    I am not certain if this is the proper format or if my inquiry is redundant. I was born in Germany in 1943. Both parents were Germans. I was adopted by Americans from a Kreiskinderheim in 1955 at age `11. I am now a 70 years old,have 8 half brothers and sisters who are German citizens
    and have always resided there. I am a retired U.S. attorney and would impose no burden on the German fisc. I would like to regain my German citizenship. Is this possible and have I used the proper format to get this query to you. Any help would be greatly appreciated—and how do you support your site—I would be willing to contribute to keep this very informative site alive.

    Thank you,
    William N Faller
    formerly known as
    Klaus Dieter Volk

    • Hello William/Klaus,

      the answer depends on how you obtained your US citizenship. If you acquired US citizenship in the process of the adoption, then you lost the German citizenship (§ 27 StAG). If you acquired US citizenship later, you may have lost your German citizenship (§ 25 StAG) but you may also have retained it if the requirements of § 19 StAG were not met. I’d need to know a bit more details of your adoption and your naturalization process for that.

      As a former German citizen, you can always apply for re-naturalization in Germany (§ 13 StAG), but you would then be required to give up your US citizenship unless you could show that this puts an extreme and extraordinary burden on you.

      If your goal is not necessarily citizenship but living in Germany, § 38 AufenthG provides a way for former German citizens to obtain a long-term residence permit, often with lesser requirements than for other applicants.

      Thank you very much for your comments about my site! I have a wishlist of books and I am always happy about receiving one of these books as a sign of appreciation of my services. Alternatively, my PayPal account is moser@moser-law.com and I am of course happy about donations. For a more detailed and in-depth consultation via phone or e-mail, I would charge a flat fee of 150 EUR.

  215. Mei Smith says:

    My father was born in Germany, and then moved to the United States when he was 7 years old. My Grandfather was an American soldier but my Grandmother was German. I find this very interesting because I didn’t think that I could have dual citizen ship. Though, my father had expressed about when he was in school and teased constantly and being called a Nazi. I was born in 90, so is there a way I can claim citizenship even though my grandfather was American?

    • You didn’t mention your father’s citizenship, but I assume from your story that he was an American citizen like your grandfather.
      In this case, you did not become a German citizen by birth (unless your mother was German at the time).

  216. Pingback: “half-German” | The Happy Hermit

  217. Allen says:

    Hello I so hope you could help me through your knowledge of German citizenship law.
    My paternal grandmother was German through ‘ius sanguinis’ via both her mother and father. They immigrated to the USA, but never applied for citizenship, nor were they in the military.
    She had my father out of wedlock, and she remanded single until my father was 6-7 years old, when she married my father’s biological father. He was born, and they were married in the state of Pennsylvania, if that matters.
    My question is, would my father still be eligible for German citizenship, or would he have lost his “illegitimacy”, thus lost his German citizenship when the marriage took place?

    • To be certain, I would need to research the law in place at both the year of your father’s birth and the year when his parents got married. For this kind of research I unfortunately need to charge my standard fee of 150 EUR.

  218. Amy says:

    The link does not work in the post from hitchhaika in regards to the rule about citizenship only being passed down through the father. I was told that German citizenship is not passed down to me because my father’s father was not German even though my father’s mother was German (they were married at the time of my father’s birth in 1945). Did this rule change?

    hitchhaika says:
    12 September 2013 at 18:25
    This rule has apparently changed … in February 2013 they issued a statement saying that children of a German mother and foreign farther born prior to 1975 also have a right to German naturalization. Check it out the link, in German …

    Click to access Ermess_Merkblatt_erl_Einbuergerung.pdf

    • The application of the rules has changed in a way that descendants of German mothers born before 1975 are now permitted to apply for naturalization. As naturalization does not have any retroactive effects, this would not affect your citizenship.

    • Amy says:

      I apologize for my confusion. Are you saying that If the application of the rules have changed then I would be able to possibly claim German citizenship ? Or are you saying that it does not affect me Thank you!

    • It does not affect you because you were not born to a German mother before 1975. You were (as far as I understand) to two parents, none of whom had German citizenship at the time of your birth.

    • Amy says:

      I was hoping that through jus sanguinis German citizenship would be passed down to me by my German grandmother if she passed citizenship on to my father and then through him onto me. However, if his father was not German then I do not know if this would be possible or if the application of the rules have changed.

    • I am not going to answer this for a third time. At least not without getting paid.

    • Amy says:

      I apologize sincerely. I did not mean to repeat my question but instead I was just trying to clarify what my original intent was as I did not state it in my original post. Again, I apologize.

  219. manojnimbalkar says:

    Dear Andreas, I have obtained German citizenship and living in Germany. Can I bring my single parent who is non-german on dependent visa to Germany? Thank you, Sincerely

    • Because this citizenship thread is already extremely long, I’d like to keep the visa questions separate from it. As soon as someone will send me a book from my wishlist in order to motivate me, I will put up a similar list of FAQ on dependent/family reunion visas.

  220. Matteo says:

    I am Canadian and received German citizenship from my grandfather (I was born pre-1975).
    Abstammung and citizenship took 9 months to verify my paperwork and I became a citizen as well as my older brother over 5 years ago. No naturalization and this was pure by descent.
    Question: Under this revised 2013 law, could my sister also who was born pre-1975, take German citizenship like my brother and I did either through my grandfather or grandmother (both my father’s side). Vielen Dank.

    • Why did your sister not obtain a certificate of German citizenship when you and your brother did? If she has the same parents and grandparents as you, she should of course have been treated equally.

      This has nothing to do with the discrimination against descent from the maternal line before 1975 as this was a distinction between descent from mother or father, not whether the child is a girl or a boy.

  221. Matteo says:

    Thank you for your reply. My father was born in Canada but was considered a German citizen at the time of his birth in 1933 as my grandfather/grandmother came to Canada in 1930 but were never citizens of Canada until 1956. The Botschaft stated that my brother and I qualified as this was a pre-1975 patriarchal law and that my grandmother had no relevance but also that my sister born in 1962 was not allowed as this law stated it was only grandfather (German citizen) to father (born in Canada) to his sons (born in Canada). Did they get this wrong?

  222. Sinclari says:

    Hello Andreas,
    My grandmother was born and raised in Germany. She met my American Grandfather in Germany and decided to move to the states and later have my mother. 21 years after my grandmother had my mother, my (grandmother) became a U.S. citizen here in the states. I was wondering if there was anyway I (the granddaughter) could still get a German passport?

  223. Portia Williford says:

    Hello! My father was born a German citizen in 1964, but he was naturalized into a US citizen at the age of 18. The rest of his blood relatives still reside in Germany. He doesn’t remember being asked to renounce his German citizen during his naturalization. I was born in the US in 1991. When we took a trip to Germany in 2000, while applying for visas, etc. he was told that he held dual citizenship. How did this happen? Did he not automatically renounce German citizenship? Since he was technically still a German citizen at the time of my birth, does this make me an automatic dual citizen as well? If not, will this make it easier for me to be become a German citizen in the future?
    Thank you,

  224. Ritz says:

    Guten Tag!
    May i ask you….My Fiance is a German and I am an Indonesian. We are planning to marry this April. I was wondering if there would be any problem to obtain a Residence Permit should i go back to Indonesia for half a year after our marriage registration in April?

    many thanks in advance and wishing you a great day ahead!

    • No problem at all if you obtain the residence permit afterwards. Just once you have the residence permit, it would become invalid if you leave Germany for more than 6 months. But of course you can always re-apply.

    • Ritz says:

      Thank you so much, Andreas! U have heart of gold, thanks for taking time to answer all of us who r in doubt.

      Have a good day ahead!

  225. Tom Z says:

    Hello Andreas,

    I have two questions, but will give you my background first.

    I was born in Germany in 1964. My parents were German citizens. We moved to the US in 1968. I became a US citizen when I was 19. I currently live in Tokyo and would like to regain my German citizenship without returning to Germany.

    I can still speak German but it’s Hessisch not Hoch Deutsch and I never learned to properly write in German. As a former German citizen am I required to take a German language exam?

    I recently quit my job and am now looking for work. I work in IT and there are a lot of short term (several months to a year) project type jobs available. In order to regain citizenship is work like that acceptable or do I need somthing more permanent?

    Due to my limited writing ability, once the time comes I will contact you to file the papers for me if you still do that.

    Thanks in advance,

  226. Md. Asjad Khalique says:

    Hello Sir,
    As you asked me to contact you in this site, I would like to express my question once again. Since I am a student from Bangladesh applying for Germany for Bachelor course, I asked some experienced people about the availability of getting German citizenship as an international student. They replied that there is no chance. Even, marriage with a German or staying there for 10 to 20 years is not enough. You know, our country is now going through a political crisis, so my parents want me to stay out of the country as long as these problems are going on. That’s why I chose Germany for its less expensive life style and of course for excellent political environment. Sorry, if I make it boring for you, but if you answer me, it will be my great pleasure.
    And again, thanks a lot.

    • These “experienced people” seem to have no experience at all.
      As outlined above in the FAQ, if you live in Germany for several years, do not use welfare and speak German well, you will qualify for German citizenship. If you get married to a German citizen, you only need to live in Germany for 3 years.

    • Md. Asjad Khalique says:

      Thank you so much sir for your information. That really means a lot to me. Do you mind if I ask you about the thing you have mentioned “do not use welfare”? What does this welfare mean actually? Won’t I get any treatment if something happens to me?
      Again, sorry to kill your time.

    • You should not apply for unemployment or housing benefits and you need to have your own health insurance. With the latter, you can of course use doctors and hospitals. Also, if you get a scholarship for your studies, that poses no problem for naturalization.

  227. Julie says:

    Hi. You have a very informative & “live” blog. Thank you so much.
    I am Indian passport holder and my Fiance is German (living and working in Germany). I speak fluent German and have the relevant language certificates. Is it possible for me to get a resident permit in Germany without being married yet (As in, as his fiance)?

    • Because this thread is already getting very long, I would really like to keep the questions on residence permits separate from those on citizenship. As soon as somebody will mail me one of the books from my wishlist, I will be happy to post a similar list of FAQ on how to obtain a residence permit for Germany.

  228. Maisha says:

    Hello ,
    I am From Bangladesh and my Boyfriend is from Romania .We met here in Germany . We want to get married . Right now am living in Germany but i can not get a vacation or take a leave from my company , that’s why i can not go to Romania to marry him . So is there any possibility to get married in Germany ?

    • Of course. As a Romanian, he can come to Germany anytime without any visa.

    • Maisha says:

      so where we can get married ? in the court ? or in the embassy ? and if we need to go embassy , then which embassy we shall go ?

    • Because this thread on citizenship is already extremely long and because your question really has nothing to do with citizenship, I would prefer to write another set of FAQ on getting married in Germany. I will do that as soon as somebody mails me one of the books from my wishlist to do so.

  229. Rachael says:

    Hello Happy Hermit. My father was born in Germany to a German mother and an American father. He lived there until he was about 7, moved to the states, and gave up his citizenship. I am an American citizen who plans to move to France and live with my long time, long distance Italian boyfriend. We would like to figure out a way for me to be able to stay freely in Europe. Is it possible for me to somehow get German-American dual citizenship? Would my father have to re-claim his german citizenship first? He is on veteran disability and getting social security, has no plans to go to Germany, and not as sharp as he once was. I say this because I want to give a clear picture of his current state. I know I would have to handle most of the paperwork. I just want to know if this is possible. Thank you.

    • I am afraid that the only realistic way for you to stay in Europe easily is to get married to your boyfriend. You will fall under EC regulation 38/2004 which guarantees free movement in the EU to EU citizens who live in another than their home country and which extends that right to their partners.

      I have a separate set of FAQ on freedom of movement in the EU.

  230. Eddie Joe says:

    Hello Andreas,

    In number 5 of the FAQ, you state that Germany discourages dual citizenship, but cant prevent it
    totally. Because I have family and economic rights back in Australia, I would wish to keep my citizenship, reasons being economic rights. Given your experience and knowledge what would be the possibilities of this? Is the Government very hardline about this when it comes to Australians? I currently live in Germany, and study German, and plan on starting University next Winter.



    • It’s possible, but we would need to show that in your case there are concrete and specific disadvantages that you would suffer if you were no longer an Australian citizen. Hypothetical disadvantages do not count.

  231. Survi says:

    I have three month visa of german , I got it after marriage by my husband ,
    Can I stay in German for 1 year wihtout permission of my husband ???? I want live separate from my husband .or divorce

  232. Eben Puth says:

    My grandma om my mothers side was born in Germany and came to South Africa after WW2. My mother was born in South Africa and only have SA citizenship. Will I be able to apply for German citizenship?

  233. ramkumar says:

    Hi Laywer,
    I did a PhD in Germany with DFG fellowship and lived my entire 4.3 year of stay in Germany through student visa. I was not deducted any taxes from my fellowship. Right now I am in India, Will I eligible to file citizenship or long term residence permit.

  234. Henrietta says:

    I was born in Germany, but we came to Ghana when i was four (4) years old.. I do have my German birth certificate.. Now i want to obtain the German passport how do i go about it please help me.

    • Was one of your parents a German citizen at the time of your birth? When were you born?

    • Henrietta says:

      No They are all Ghanaian. But my Dad was a Sea Man were he had a transit and went there, they decided to stay… but when he came to pick my mum from Ghana that was when they gave birth to me there.

    • Then no. 4 of the above FAQ answers your question.

  235. Henrietta says:

    Hmm so what do u suggest i do now. cos am 33yrs now.. are there some forms i need to fill to apply or any other way.

  236. Henrietta says:

    And all those requirements dont have any apart from my german birth certificate, have no one there to invite me as well what do i do..

    • If you don’t fulfil any of the requirements, then you can either create the requirements (for example by learning German) or you can decide not to apply.

      By the way, because you keep mentioning the German birth certificate, that’s actually not a requirement at all.

  237. Henrietta says:

    So does it mean i need to then learn the language before before i can come to Germany for my German passport.

  238. Ken says:

    I am not asking a question but telling my story. Two years ago I got my German citizenship, and my German passport. I now have dual American/German citizenship. I was not born in Germany nor was my father, but my grandfather was, and I proved my lineage ( it took me two years of research ) after obtaining all the necessary documents. So it is possible!

    • Thanks a lot for sharing that, and congratulations!

    • Paul says:

      Ken, I am also going through a similar process. I am an Australian citizen, but my grandfather was a German jewish citizen who left Germany in mid-1933, finally settling in Australia in 1936, but he did not become an Australian citizen till sometime in 1974. Any tips?

    • Paul says:

      I have now received my German citizenship. Other than the documents from Australia proving he was Jewish (weddding certificate), arrived in 1936 and became an Australian citizen in 1974 all they asked for was his birth certificate from Germany which was in the Berlin reocrds still following a search. Just letting people know.

    • Excellent, congratulations! And thanks for letting us know.

  239. jotham says:

    you are the best in the all world

  240. Raja says:

    Hello Andreas, you told me before i must have an excellent result on my german exam, but which exam the B1?

  241. William says:

    Hi Andreas,

    I am posting this in Englisch, although I speak Deutsch.

    I was born in Argentina, although consider myself German as my father and my Grandfathers where born in Deutschland. Although as a result of there service in the Schutzstaffel made a speedy exit at the end of the War.

    Can I return to the beloved Fatherland as a German?

    • If your father still had German citizenship at the time of your birth, then you automatically obtained German citizenship at that time.

  242. Alfonse says:

    Hello Andreas,
    Let me start by thanking you for all the help you provide to people, I can see many people have a better idea about their statuses after you have adviced them.

    Now, regarding my situation:

    I am a Salvadoran citizen living in Germany, my wife is German. I have almost two years of living in Germany with Aufenthalstitel. Things are not going well in our marriage and it might end soon. How long can I stay in Germany after we decide to separate? I have read we have to wait a year after separating until we can file, which will give me time to prepare and figure out where I’ll go. My wife says I have to leave immediately, which I think is BS. Please advise.

    Vielen Dank!

  243. David says:

    Hi Andreas,

    I was born in USA and a citizen of this country but my ancestors have emigrated to USA from Germany in 1800’s. Would it still be possible for me to apply for a dual citizenship, if yes, how?

  244. Dagmar says:

    My great great grandfather was German. Is it possible for me to get a German passport? My family has always been treated like foreigners, although we all have been born in this country and we have this country’ s passport. We are persecuted because of our German ancestry and now they are threatening to take our passport from us. We are decent people.

  245. Henrietta says:

    Please is there anyway you can help me to get my german birth certificate.

  246. Eva Caraher says:

    Fantastic blog. My mother was German (became naturalized US citizen) nad married an American and I am interested in becoming a German citizen (now US). My German is very good (not sure the level) and I have property and bank account in Germany. Spent much time there in my lifetime and have some family and several family friends. I also have several details that I am not sure i want to put on a public blog. I was told by the consulate in US that this is not enough to get citizenship but according to your information and another German friend I think I could. Where do I start? Thanks so much. Ich kann auch weiter in Deutsch schreiben :)

    • If your mother was still German at the time you were born, your chances are very good (see no. 8 of my FAQ on naturalization from abroad).

      Otherwise, you would need to present a compelling case and be willing to give up your US citizenship.

      Please feel free to contact me directly if there are details which you don’t want to be discussed in public.

  247. Andres says:

    Hey, amazing blog, kudos to that!

    I wanted to ask whether it is possible to get married in a foreign mission (Embassy of Germany in Argentina) if my fiancee is in Germany at the moment but I am here in Argentina? (marrying on distance)
    We have been living together here in Argentina for more than 8 years but she’s in Germany at the moment for work and I want to go to Germany soon.

    Also, my great-grandmother was half German-Belgian, but my mother was married twice. I adopted my mother’s second husband family name (it was a full adoption) and I am afraid I lost any ties to my previous ancestors, except for DNA ties of course. Can it still be possible to acquire the German citizenship? or since it was a full adoption and all old birth certificates and ties are deleted, it cannot be done anymore?

    And also, after being married for 3 years or more, if we were to reside in Argentina and not Germany, is it still possible for me to acquire the German citizenship since we are married? Or it does not apply?

    Thank you and you have a fantastic blog :)


  248. Peter-Reinhard says:

    Hallo Andreas,

    I was born in Germany, of German parents in 1954.They moved to the US in 1959 and eventually became naturalized US citizens. I have never been naturalized and gained US citizenship by “derivation” because of my naturalized parents. Can I reinstate my German citizenship?


    • If neither you nor your parents ever applied for you to become a US citizen, then you did not lose your German citizenship.

      If your parents included you in their application for naturalization, you lost your German citizenship (§ 25 I 1 StAG). You can of course re-apply, but you would need to provide very good reasons for being allowed to keep the US citizenship.

  249. Jen says:

    Hello Andreas
    My father was German of Jewish extraction, and left Germany in 1932 after his father died in unfortunate anti-Semitic circumstances. He came to South Africa and acquired British citizenship, and then South African citizenship in 1961. I was born in 1958, my mother was South African. What are my chances of acquiring German nationality? Thank you, and regards Jennifer

    PS. Some time in the 1970s or maybe 1980s (I can’t remember exactly when) my father was approached by the German government and given back his German nationality, but it was not extended to his children. My parents were married. Jennifer

    Oops. I have just read your infographic. It looks from that like I can get German citizenship – this is good news as, in the past, i have been told that is not the case because my father willingly gave up his citizenship. It seems that has changed now. I hope I have understood your infographic correctly. If so, can I just go to the German consulate and proceed?

    • Do you still have (or could you get) the paperwork from when your father’s German citizenship was reinstated? That would help a lot.

    • Jen says:

      Hi Andreas. I hope you had a good time in Sicily. I did have them once, and I think they are in a box in storage, but I have just chatted to my brother who may have a copy. Is it a big problem if we can’t find them? How hard (or expensive) would it be to access the records, which must surely exist. If I have them, should I just approach the embassy? And if not, what should I do? Thanks, Jen

    • I would just like to look at the documents before I give advice on a whole range of possible scenarios. Knowing what really happened will put us on the right path much more quickly.

    • Jen says:

      Hi Andreas. I have a scans of some other documents but not this one. I know I have it, but it is in a box in storage – and I am not sure which box. I chatted to my brother, who may have a copy, and am waiting for him to get back to me. I’ll contact you when he does. Thanks, Jen

    • Jen says:

      PS I don’t speak German. Is that a problem?

    • jen says:

      Hi Andreas

      I have found my father’s German nationalisation papers. What is the best way for me to go forward? Should I contact the embassy, or would it be easier to engage you to deal with this matter? What would that cost?

      thanks, jen

    • It’s easiest to contact the consulate directly. There is no need to use a lawyer, it would just take longer because we are always busy and it would cost you money which you could spend better.

  250. jessica says:

    I was born in a US military hospital in Frankfurt, Germany. My dad is a US citizen and my mom was and is still a German citizen. Now I am 31years old. I was given US citizen automatically because I was born in a US hospital. I have never had nor applied for aGerman passport. Since I was just given US citizenship at birth, does this mean I automatically lost my German citizenship, or do I have dual citizenship?

    • You have automatic dual citizenship because you have two parents with two different citizenships and were born after 1975. You can apply for a German passport anytime. You would need to present your birth certificate and some proof that your mother is a German citizen.

    • jessica says:

      I was told by a German attorney that I have to get my citizenship with Germany documented before I can get a passport. Is this true? Also I do not speak German so I can not fill out the paperwork by myself, this is something I need help with. Do you know of someone or some company thst can properly complete my paperwork. I want to move there for my daughter to grow up there. If I fo have dual citizenship does my daughter automatically have dual citizenship too? Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • You can apply for a certificate of citizenship first, but if you have all your mother’s documents, that is an easy thing.

      Yes, the dual citizenship also extends to your daughter.

      I’ll be happy to help with any paperwork, but I charge 150 EUR for such a consultation. As it is a relatively simple process, I am not sure that’s worth it.

    • jessica says:

      For me I would like your help can you give me the cost in US dollars? Please email me privately so we can discuss this further. Thank you in advance for your help.

    • Just send me an e-mail at moser@moser-law.com.

  251. Jen says:

    Hi Andreas

    I dug up the document (and a whole lot more) and have sent you my father’s citizenship reinstatement.



  252. Erin says:

    Hi Andreas,
    I am an Australian expat living and working in Indonesia married to a German citizen for the past 5 years. We are considering getting German naturalization for me and citizenship for our son. Do we have to permanently reside in Germany for 3 years or can we maintain a residence and visit (how regularly)?

    • The German citizenship for your son is now problem at all. He received it automatically at the time of his birth if one of his parents was a German citizen at the time.

      For you, it’s harder. You either need to reside in Germany with your spouse for at least 3 years, as outlined above, or you need to fulfil the extra requirements for naturalization from abroad. In either case you will have to speak German and be willing to give up your Australian citizenship.

  253. Alice says:

    Hello Andreas
    My husband was born in Germany to British parents and spent his first year in Germany before his parents returned to the UK. Our daughter, an Irish citizen and an elite athlete is considering relocating to Germany with a view to applying for German citizenship. Could she make an application for German citizenship on the basis of her father’s birth in Germany?

    • No.
      But as an Irish citizen, she does of course enjoy the full EU freedom of movement rights and can therefore live in Germany without any restrictions. Once she will speak German, she can apply for German citizenship and would not be required to give up her Irish citizenship.

  254. Maddy says:

    Hi! I’m Australian. If I marry my boyfriend who has a German passport (born in Australia and Australian citizen but his mother was a German citizen and parents were married at the time of his birth)..can I apply for a German passport?

    • No. You would usually need to live in Germany for at least 3 years and pass the language test. Also, you would be asked to give up your Australian citizenship.

  255. Yasir says:

    Hi, Sir how are u? I am actually Chemical Engineer. and i want to do masters from Germany and afterwards i want to do job there and want to settle there permanently………now kindly tell me in how much time can i easily get German citizenship after my studies and also i am a bachelor.

  256. Rae says:

    I was born May 7,1991 here in the Philippines but may parents (Filipino Mother/German Father) got married October the same year, i was legitimated thru consequence marriage.i have my affidavit of admission of paternity, is it possible for me get German Passport or should i say dual citizenship rather? Thank you.

  257. Cory says:

    Hi Andreas,

    This is such a helpful post. However, my mind is going in all directions. I just wanted to confirm something with you.

    My great-great grandfather was born in Germany. He moved to America and had a son. 10 years later, he acquired US citizenship, but only after my great grandfather was born. My great grandfather would have not voluntarily renounced german citizenship and he had my grandfather who also didn’t. My grandpa then had my mom who had me in 1985. Am I right to think we have all been German citizens by birth?

    Thanks for your help!!!

    • Yes, that could work. There are two things which you would still need to check for:
      (1) Your said your great grandfather would not have renounced his citizenship voluntarily. However, if he was naturalized, he would have lost it automatically. So you would need to find out if he became an American automatically by birth (then he didn’t lose his German citizenship in the process) or if he was included in his father’s petition for naturalization (then he might have lost it).
      (2) Between 1871 and 1913 Germans living abroad lost their citizenship if they failed to register with the German Consulate at least once every 10 years. That one usually requires a lot of research and is often the problematic point with these family histories dating back a long time.

    • Cory says:

      Thanks for that Andreas!

      I found records that indicated that since my great grandfather was born on American soil, he was automatically an American citizen. Regarding the other point, my great grandfather was born in 1886 in Texas to his German father, who was my great great grandfather. Records indicate that he acquired US citizenship in 1911. So I assume that would work?

  258. Cory says:

    Sorry, I just realised my mistake. Since he was born after 1871, he would have to prove that his father had continued to update the consulate. Sorry for that. I will need to look further into this!!

  259. Cory says:

    Hi Andreas. Ok, so I found that my great great grandfather arrived in the US in 1884 and had my great grandfather in 1886. He didn’t acquire US citizenship until 1911 but as he hadn’t been in the country but two years until he had my great grandfather, he would have passed his citizenship down?

    Also, I found that my great grandfather was born a US citizen as per the 14th amendment? At least that is what I have found on record. All of this seems to get more and more confusing, so sorry if I sound totally lost.

    If that was the case…does this work? If so, how would I go about proving that my great great grandfather held German citizenship? I have records of him entering the country and those stating that his place of birth and port of last departure was Germany.

    Thanks for all of your help and patience!!

    • Now you only need to find out if your great grandfather had been registered with the German Consulate between 1871 and 1913. You can contact the German Consulate of the area where he used to live in the US at that time.

    • Cory says:

      So if I can’t find whether or not my great grandfather ever registered, does that automatically mean there is no chance of claiming citizenship? Or are there ever exceptions to this?

  260. Tanvir Hasan says:

    i am from Bangladesh. i am living in Germany from last 4 months with my waif, we both are Bangladeshi. also we are student at this moment. can we have a baby ? What are facilities we get from German government ?
    I want to know about long time permit.

  261. anik islam says:

    hi..i am Bangladeshi…i am studying and now working in Germany…..i have a PR..i wants to bring my parents to Germany for there take care….which process i need to apply…and have there any opportunity to get there PR.please let me know ….thanks…

  262. Melos says:

    Dear Andreas Moser im melos and in a few days i will get the Aufenthaltstitel because my mother is married with a German police officer and im 17 yeras old i lived in germany for 9 months at this period i play football for a local team and got the football license i went to school for 2 motnhs berufschule i also did c1 and B2 german levels and know im going from kosovo to germany because they approved to give me the aufenthaltstitel my question is can i apply for the german Army Bundeswehr even if i dont have german passport but can i apply with a german citizenship to the army this is my question Thank you :D

    • Unfortunately, the Bundeswehr does not accept non-Germans. There has been a debate about it (and I hope they will allow it), but at the moment the German citizenship is required to serve in the Bundeswehr.

    • Melos says:

      well i hope they will approve the non germans to apply in bundeswehr anyway i have another question if u dont mind answering it ,,now that i will have Aufenthaltstitel and my mother has unbefristet residence permit but in 2 months they will give her the german passport because she lived there for 6 years and made the test for the german passport how about me as being a minor under 18 do you think i have a chance getting unbefristet aufenthaltstitel in one year or no and how long do i have to wait to get German passport thank you

  263. Jiří Vlček says:

    Hi Andreas,
    here is my case. I’m from Czech Republic (my country just allowed to have dual citizenship) my great grand father was a German citizen, soldier by the time of WW II, he dated my great grand mother and they had a kid, my grand father. They never got maried, because my great grand mother was alredy maried for another Czech man. The german guy parentship was proved just few years ago, while searching for some gene defects in family history. Does this situation qualifies me to apply for german citizenship by jus sanguinis and what would be the documents to provide for application? Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • Did you establish legal paternity beyond the biological paternity? Because for citizenship law, the legal paternity is the only one that counts.

  264. Matteo says:

    5 years ago I got German citizenship through my grandfather. My father was born outside of Germany but since he was born while my grandfather was considered a German citizen, this was passed on through blood and I took my citizenship. My sister applied the other day and the Consul asked for “our father’s German citizenship certificate”. My father has passed on and he never had one. Where can I get a copy? Vielen dank.

    • Did you father have German passports? If so, there should be a record with the German Consulate where he got them.
      Also, if you provide the same documents as in your naturalization process, that should convince the Consul that they can hardly treat your father as a German in your case and the other way in your sister’s case (unless there was something between your two birth dates that made your father lose German citizenship).

    • Matteo says:

      My father never had German passports. My sister, brother and I received German citizenship through our grandfather. My father passed and I was granted German citizenship as my father was born outside of Germany while my grandfather was still a German citizen. This ran down the line and no naturalization process took place for my siblings or myself as this was citizenship through descent. My father has never had a German passport or German citizenship certificate. Herein lies the problem.

  265. Hatem says:

    you say if I live in Germany and you are not spouse of german, it is between 3 and 8 years to get german citizenship. Do you know any case who got this in 3 years? also, I heard it is really different from one state to another, so where do you think is the easiest place in Germany to get the citizenship in the shortest time (hopefully 3 years)?

    • Yes, I know some cases. But they were either really good athletes and the German national team wanted them, or they had vital intelligence information to offer.

    • Hatem says:

      Then I should be start working on my football skills :)
      I thought with the new law when you get umbefristet aufenthalts after 21 months if you are working and paying taxes and you prove good skills of german language, I thought that the duration would be shorter to get the citizenship as this 21 months used to be 5 years. what do you think ?

  266. Mithu says:

    Hello My name is Mithu and i am from Pakistan. Back in 2013 I was married to a Pakistani girl who is living in germany with her family for the last 20 years. In Jan 2014 I moved to Germany to be with her but after living with her and my in-laws, I realized I have made a wrong decision. Now the problem is im new to the country and also do not know much about the rules. I want to divorce her and also want to know if i could still live in germany.

  267. Rancho says:


    My two daughters were born in Germany in 1995 and 1996. My husband received his German passport in 1996 after my second daughter was born. A few months after my daughters were born we moved out of Germany. Neither my daughters or I received Germany citizenship or passports. We are planning to move back soon. How likely will it be for my daughters to receive German citizenship/passport. And do you also know how long it could take?


  268. Johnny Brockmann says:

    I was born in Werdohl – Germany at July 1982 . Both my parents were Indonesian but already stay at Germany for 10 years when I was born . My father get a Medical Degree and working as a doctor in Germany . Now we all live in Indonesia since 1983 . At Germany , my father was legally adopted by a German citizen . I already married and have two sons . My wife is Indonesian . My sons were born in Indonesia . We all have Indonesian passport . Can we get German citizenship ?

    • In 1982, German citizenship law was strictly ius sanguinis, meaning that you could only get German citizenship if one of your parents was German at the time. If your father was adopted while he was a minor, he would have gotten German citizenship in that process (§ 6 StAG).

    • Johnny Brockmann says:

      My father was legally adopted when he was adult . Is there a chance to apply for citizenship ? if my father get citizenship then me and my sons also can get ? Can I try applying through The German embassy in Indonesia ? What step must I take ? Thanks

  269. Tanya says:

    My mother and father are both German, came to the USA in 1968, had my brother in 1969 and me in 1970 in NYC, they were not married until 1971, they both became US citizens in the 1980’s. Can i become a German citizen.. More importantly can my 10 yr old son become a German citizen..????
    My father was borm in 1918 fought in WWII and my mother born in 1941… My father is still living today…

    • If you were never naturalized in the USA, yes.

    • Tanya says:

      What does naturalized mean?
      Can my son become one too?
      Should I go to the German Embassey in Miami?
      How long would this process take?

    • If neither you nor your parents ever applied for you to receive US citizenship, then you kept the German citizenship with which you were born.

      For your son, it depends on what citizenship you had at that time (see above) and the year he was born (mothers could only pass on German citizenship from 1975 onward).

      The German Consulate (not embassy!) in Miami could indeed process your application.

      It will usually take at least several months, more if there are complications.

    • Tanya says:

      I was born in Ny and i am only a us citizen

    • If you know that you are only a US citizen, then you don’t have German citizenship of course. You answer your own question then, in a way.

  270. Tanya says:

    What paperwork will i need… Is my new york birth certificate enough in order to apply for german citizenship…

  271. Anne says:

    I have been reading here but none of the posts relate to my situation .. perhaps you can help?
    My father is German and still resides in Germany. My Australian mother married my German father but the marriage didnt work out. I was brought to Australia by my mother when I was a toddler. My mother gained Australian citizenship for me when I was say 9 years of age. I have been told that I am not able to receive a German passport, even though my father still resides there, as I have renounced citizenship (which my mother did, when I was a child). I find it hard to believe this – is there any way around this. I was born in the 1960’s in Germany and have a birth certificate to say as such.
    I would appreciate your reply.

    • Generally that is true. If your mother forgot to apply for permission for dual citizenship with Germany (which she could have done), then you automatically lost your German citizenship when you were naturalized in Australia.

      However, if your mother did not have sole custody at the time, we might have some arguments, depending on the Australian naturalization paperwork. This is something that we would need to look into in detail.

      Your other option is of course to apply for naturalization in Germany, but then Germany would now require you to give up your Australian citizenship.

  272. Bettina says:

    I am an Argentine citizen by jus solis and a German citizen by jus sanguinis (My parents applied for my German passport when I was 12). For the past 20 years I have been living in the US and would like to apply for US citizenship. I am married to an American and have 3 children, all born in the US. Question #1: Can I become an American citizen and still keep the German citizenship? Question#2 Could I apply for German citizenship for my children, even if I don’t have a permanent residence in Germany?

    • (1) You can retain your German citizenship despite your naturalization in the US if you receive permission from Germany to do so. You need to apply for this “Beibehaltungsgenehmigung” before you apply for US citizenship and you need to provide good reasons why you need both citizenships. I regularly help clients write these applications, but as it sounds that your ties to Germany are not that strong, that will be a tough thing to do.

      (2) If your children were born after 1975, they automatically derived German citizenship from you at the time of their birth.

    • Bettina says:

      Thank you Andreas for your guidance. Are these “genehmigunen” very subjective – what qualifies as “close ties to Germany”? Would two years of residence in Muenchen, frequent travel and close bonds with relatives (siblings, first cousins and others) qualify as close ties to Germany? I have no real estate or other assets in Germany. Just wondering if I have a chance. Thanks again. B

    • We would need to show why you “need” German citizenship. A mere “wish” or “want” is not enough. So we would need to come up with a really good explanation.

      I have long wanted to set up a separate list of FAQ on that subject, I am just waiting for somebody to mail me one of the books from my wishlist in order to push it up a few notches on my to-do list.

  273. sanffm says:

    Hallo Andreas,

    Firstly thanks for such a informative blog. I am in Germany since last 3 years ( April 2011 till date) and currently hold a permanent residence permit.( I was in Germany for earlier from September 2003 to February 2006). I am an Indian and having Indian passport and working as manger in an IT company in hessen. My wife is also in Germany since last 1.5 years and working as S.consultant in business consulting. We were thinking to apply for German passport, but read that it requires 8 years… can you advise me on this ?


  274. Hello Andreas,

    As so many have said before me….Great blog!!

    I am getting out of the US Army in about a month and I have an 18 month old daughter who lives here in Regensburg, DE. Is it possible for me to get a visa based on the fact that I want to be here to see her grow up?


    • If your daughter has German citizenship and you have at least shared custody, yes (§ 28 I AufenthG).

      Because it’s not a question on citizenship law really and because this thread is already too long, I’d be happy to put up a separate set of FAQ on residence permits in Germany in exchange for just one of the books from my wishlist.

      Regarding the question of whether you have (shared) custody, I can point you to my FAQ on child custody in Germany.

  275. Bushman says:

    Hi Andreas,

    Thanks for your wonderful work. Please i will like to know if a perdon who has been leaving in Germany for more than eight years as a Student and has completed a PhD here has any chances of getting a perminent recidence in Germany.


    • Because this page on citizenship has already more than 600 comments, I would like to keep the issue of residence separate. I will set up another set of FAQ on that subject as soon as someone mails me one of the books from my wishlist in order to do so.

  276. mohsen gharib says:

    hello , my father is a German citizen and he married my mother in 1986 , but my mother was the second wife to him ( i live in Egypt since i was born ) . paternity has been recognized in German embassy in Cairo before my 23rd birthday ( i was born in 1990 ) but i did not take the citizenship because i did not live in Germany three years >>> now my father is 74 years old and i want to live with him because he is very old man >>> can i make any appeal in this decision in any court in Germany ?

    • You are unlucky in a way because the Citizenship Act changed on 1 July 1993. For children born since then, no residence in Germany was required.

      In your case, you only have two options: (1) apply for naturalization in Germany or (2) apply for a residence permit in Germany to be with your father. The chances for both depend on a lot of your personal factors, like your knowledge of Germany, your job, your qualifications, your financial situation and so on.
      If you want to go through all the options and requirements in detail, we can set up a consultation over the phone. I do however charge 150 EUR for that.

    • mohsen gharib says:

      i am sorry ,but in the German embassy in Cairo they told me that i can Appeal this law because i do not have the same rights which my brothers have in germany ( brothers from another wife ) >>> in the basic law of Germany article 6 (Children born outside of marriage shall be provided by
      legislation with the same opportunities for physical and
      mental development and for their position in society as
      are enjoyed by those born within marriage. ) , how can i get the same rights and i can not come to Germany without visa ( about three months ) ? . is there any court that can i appeal this decision and they can look in my statue ?
      and if i get residence permit ( how long is it ) ?

    • You are pointing to Art. 6 V GG which is the relevant clause in the Constitution. However, German courts have so far ruled that this does not force Germany to award German citizenship in cases such as yours under the same conditions as it would have been awarded to children of married parents (BVerwGE 68, 220 [235]).

      I don’t know if anyone has ever tried to challenge this before the Constitutional Court or the European Court of Human Rights, but I would be surprised if not. I can perform such a research and an analysis of your case, but again this is something that would go beyond what I can deliver for free.
      Also, because you said that time is of the issue: these cases usually drag on for years, so that it would be easier to apply for permanent residence or citizenship.

  277. mohsen gharib says:

    thanks Andreas
    what are the permanent residence requirements ? and according to my statue what is my chance to get it ( i am a mechanical engineer) and if i get it can i get the citizenship after some years?

    • The question on citizenship is answered in the FAQ above.

      Because this thread already has more than 600 comments, I would like to keep the questions on permanent residence separate. I will put up a separate set of FAQ as soon as somebody will mail me a book from my wishlist to do so.

  278. Aab says:

    My mom is german, I was born in usa. Unfortunately I lost my german citizenship when I served in U.S. Army. My mom is still german and I asume my two brothers are dual. I would like to apply for german citizenship through Naturalisation by discretion. My ties to Germany include speaking german, get a minor in german in college, study abroad in Germany, living in Germany, frequent travel and german family. If I did get german citizenship through my ties I don’t want to renounce US citzenship. I am a federal worker and would lose my job. Federal workers must be us citizens. Would this count as “economic lost”. Overall what do my chances look like?

    • When were you born and when did you serve in the US Army?
      Since July 2011, a general permission was granted to all German citizens to serve in the armed forces of other EU, NATO, EFTA and other states: http://www.bogota.diplo.de/contentblob/3242926/Daten/1497698/DStAGBAnzeiger.pdf Before that you would have needed to obtain permission from the German Department of Defense (which was usually granted).

    • Aab says:

      Thanks for your reply! I was born 1980 to german mother and U.S. father. I served 1999-2003. I did not request permission before I served so based on this blog and other research I assume I lost German citizenship. However I still want to try to restore dual citizenship. I can’t renounce US citizenship because I will lose my federal job. Could that be considered “economic loss” exception? Do you think it is worth trying to restore or will I likely lose anyways?

      Your blog is extremely informative and helpful!

    • I think you have a good case for keeping US citizenship if renouncing it would result in losing your job.
      But I am not sure the case for German naturalization is compelling enough. If you apply for naturalization without living in Germany (and without intending to live in Germany, for otherwise you would need to give up your job in the US anyway), you would have to have very good reasons showing why it would also be in Germany’s interest if you had German citizenship restored. The requirements for naturalization from abroad are quite high (e.g. ongoing academic, business or cultural ties to Germany).

    • Anonymous says:

      The link that Andreas posted below is dead, but the magic of the Internet Archive can bring it back to life.

      Here’s a working link: https://web.archive.org/web/20180228162301/http://www.bogota.diplo.de/contentblob/3242926/Daten/1497698/DStAGBAnzeiger.pdf

  279. Henry Pierson says:


  280. abdalla says:

    Thnks for your recomondition really I am from somalia I woud loke to live in germany may be possible to get a vissa so as to travel

    • abdalla says:

      Thnks mr anderson for your re comondation me I am from somalia I woud like to be a citizen germany now I live in sudan and iam student who read the fucult of medicine secend year so i need to travel germNy and live so iwent you easiest way that I can get the visa of germany and thnks for your time

  281. Jovan Dangubic says:

    Hallo Andreas,

    erstmal vielen dank dass du dir die zeit nimmst auf so viele Kommentare zu antworten. Mein Name ist Jovan und ich bin gerade als Auslands Student nach Deutschland gekommen um Nautik in Elsfleth/Niedersachsen zu studieren. Ich bin in Deutschland geboren und habe in der nähe von Stuttgart bis zu meinem 13. Lebensjahr gelebt und danach mit meiner ganzen Familie nach Serbien gezogen. Meine Eltern sind keine Deutschen, haben aber beide lebenslange Arbeitserlaubnisse und Aufenthalts Genehmigungen. Mittlerweile bin ich 26 Jahre alt und würde gerne Deutscher Staatsbürger werden da ich Serbien nie als meine Heimat akzeptieren konnte.

    Hast du fileicht einen Rat für mich?

    Im Voraus Danke

    • Jovan Dangubic says:

      PS: Ich habe einen Serbischen Pass.

    • Hallo Jovan,

      willkommen zurück in Deutschland!

      Nach § 12b II StAG können bis zu 5 Jahre Deines früheren Aufenthalts in Deutschland auf die geforderte Aufenthaltsdauer (bis zu 8 Jahren) für die Einbürgerung angerechnet werden. Da Du die 8 Jahre durch gute Sprachkenntnisse und einen erfolgreichen Einbürgerungstest auf 6 Jahre reduzieren kannst, kannst Du insgesamt nach einem Jahr die deutsche Staatsbürgerschaft beantragen,

      Die Details hängen davon ab, wie lange Du jetzt noch studieren mußt, denn grundsätzlich ist es einfacher, die Staatsbürgerschaft nach dem abgeschlossenen Studium zu erhalten, insbesondere wenn Du dann ausreichend verdienst.
      Wie sieht denn Dein weiterer Studienplan aus? Machst Du den Abschluß in Elsfleth oder bist Du nur für ein paar Semester hier?

  282. John says:

    Hi Andreas,

    Thanks for your super informative blog it really helped me! The online information on Wikipedia and even government sites are sometimes so contradicting.

    I am in a civil union with my partner and have lived here with him in Germany almost 3 years now.

    I am 27, South African citizen married to a German. At my local Auslander office they told me that dual citizenship with South Africa is allowed and I may apply after 3.5 years here in German if I have a B1 German certificate and passed the Einburegertest. I have already passed B1 and have my Einburgertest tomorrow.

    My questions are: Is dual citizenship allowed for me, and how if so? and may I apply for citizenship after 3.5 years, because online I see many time written 8 year. Maybe I misunderstood them?

    I would love to get a German passport and keep my South African one too.

    Many Thanks,

    p.s Cool pic from Stromboli, I just came back from Sicily!

    • I am glad you enjoyed Sicily!

      The 8-year residence requirement is the maximum requirement. After 8 years, anyone fulfilling the criteria (especially the language level) is entitled to German citizenship,
      However, German citizenship can be granted sooner by discretion. If you are married/partnered with a German citizen, you will usually be granted German citizenship after 3 years (again, if you fulfill all the requirements).
      So, yes, you can apply very soon.

      Regarding dual citizenship with South Africa, I would be curious to know what your local immigration office’s assessment is based on.
      You also have to be careful about not losing your South African citizenship involuntarily by failing to request permission from South Africa to receive another citizenship. Remember that whatever Germany says about dual citizenship won’t be binding for South Africa and vice versa.

  283. Luciano says:

    Great website!

    I have a question maybe you can help me with.

    My wife is German, we live in The Netherlands.

    We had a baby a few weeks ago and we want to give him the German nationality.

    I called the German consulate and got an appointment to do this, they asked me a few questions like the baby’s name and last name and my wife’s last name.

    Because the baby has my last name and my wife’s last name is different they told me we would have to “sign a paper”.

    I was just wondering what this is, and possible implications if any.

    I will find out soon enough I guess bit just wanted to ask in case you knew what this is about.


    • I really have no idea. Because you are married, paternity or custody should not be an issue, and in any case the German citizenship will be derived from the mother.

      But I can’t imagine that you will encounter any problems because yours is the straightforward case where German citizenship is derived from one parent.

  284. Cem says:

    Hi Andreas,

    Congratulations for this informative work you are doing. I have been reading through but my ambiguous situation confuses me.

    I was born in Germany in 1978 to both Turkish citizens residing there since the beginning of 1960s. They both had permanent residence permits. My father passed away in Germany 9 years ago and mom still living in Germany. None of them applied for German citizenship. I stayed with them until I was 7 and then I was sent to Turkey to my grandparents (I was a minor then and had to obey parental decisions). I lived and studied in Turkey until 2012. I only visited my parents with tourist visas in summer holidays. But later I came back to Germany for my master degree in 2012 and resided 1 year in Germany. I changed my German address to Italian one since I am working here now.

    Can I apply for German citizenship? Do my place of birth (jus soli), duration of past residence time in Germany and my both parents living there with permanent residence permits give me the right? Do I have to be residing in Germany currently to apply or can it be done from Italy as well?

    Thank you very much and regards.


    • There is a possibility to apply for German citizenship without residing in Germany, but there is no right or entitlement to it. It’s up to discretion and it requires very strong ties to Germany, usually even stronger ones than you have. (See my separate FAQ on naturalization from abroad.)

      However, if you move back to Germany, you could get German citizenship after one year because up to 5 years of your previous stays can be counted towards the residency requirement (§ 12b II StAG).

      The second option is consierably easier.

    • Cem says:

      Hello and thank you very much Andreas,

      The second option makes much more sense as you say. But does it have to be a certain type of residence permit (due to work, study etc.) which I should have when I go back to Germany again; or does any residence permit I’d get with a good reason having a limited duration also work for that? (I’m asking this because I know how strict German authorities are with the duraton of the residence permits and it’s not easy to get a permanent one).

      Besides, do I still have to take the Staatsbürgerschaftstest after this process and does my place of birth (I was born in Germany) give me the right to keep my Turkish citizenship afterwards, or do I have to drop it when I get the German one? (just confused with the changes promised to Turkish people living in Germany about keeping their dual-citizenships nowadays).

      Thank you again and best regards,


    • There are some residence permits that will work and some that don’t. The list is so long and so full with exceptions and counter exceptions, that I can’t really post it here. I would need to assess each individual case.

      You will need to take the Staatsbürgerschaftstest, but you don’t need to worry about it. It’s a really easy multiple choice test.

      Germany would still require you to give up your Turkish citizenship, unless you can show a special reason why you should be permitted to retain it. The proposed changes in the German law on dual citizenship pertain only to people who are born with dual citizenship, not those seeking naturalization.

  285. Larry says:

    Hello sir
    I am from Ghana .. Married with German woman since 2011 in Denmark … After our marriage I make asylum cause I was told to go out of the country to make a visa and come back …but since 2013 I have my first German resident stay and I a make my B1 and einburger text … How long do I have to wait to apply for passport now ….. My first address to have in Germany is in 2011 but with azylum resident does all count or it will start with the day I have my resident …..

  286. Marco says:

    Hello Andreas,

    Congrats on the great site, very helpful and informative.

    Between 2007 and 2008 I had 2 separate stays in Germany each for six months with an interruption of six months in between. For both stays I was under a company (Siemens) 6 months visa. Can I get this time to be considered towards obtaining citizenship?

    I’m now living in Germany since end of 2011 and have recently obtained permanent residency.

    Thanks in advance,

    • Yes, according to § 12b II StAG you can have up to 5 years of your previous stay counted towards the residency requirement. You will need to show that these stays were conducive to your integration in Germany. As you were working, that is highly likely, and if you can argue that this time helped you to learn or improve your German, your chances are even better.

  287. Manny says:

    I was born in Ghana to a German father and a Ghanaian mother in 1992. My father married my mother but it appears my father was married also then in germany to a german woman. I have my birth certificate with my fathers name on it and i have their marriage certificate(my mom and dad). They got married in Ghana though.I dont want to cause any trouble for my father because i just need my german citizenship and he is quiet old now. Do i qualify for germany citizenship?

  288. Dan says:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to provide all this information, and answer questions!
    My question is the following:
    I have a dual German/Israeli citizenship. The German citizenship acquired through Article 116 par. 2, which also means I did not have to be able to speak German (which I don’t beyond the very basic). I now reside in the U.S. and would like to apply for US citizenship. I was given contradictory information about whether I need to speak German to get the BBG, some sources say it is a basic requirement, while others are saying that the requirements are vague (on purpose) and that the authorities have a lot of discretion on the matter. I realize that I need to show ties to Germany and have good reasons for getting the US citizenship, which I think I have, but the language issue is the main question.
    Do you have any knowledge of that?

    • The “Beibehaltungsgenehmigung” is up to the discretion of the “Bundesverwaltungsamt”. You also have to consider that you will usually apply in writing and a decision will be made in writing, so nobody will notice how good your German is.

      As you mentioned, you need to show continuing ties to Germany and you need to present a case for “requiring” both citizenships.

    • Dan says:

      That was such a quick response! Thanks.
      I was told that the consulate officers “test” the applicants command of the German language, but am not sure that is really a need or requirement.
      I have lived in the US for more than 20 years so I think there is a special rule as far as getting the new citizenship. My continuing ties to Germany might be a bit more challenging, but I hope that the authorities will take a positive look at my case….