Children born abroad to German parents who were themselves born abroad after December 31, 1999

26.07.2023 - Article

Under certain circumstances, a child born to German parents abroad will not automatically acquire German nationality.

Baby© German Embassy Wellington

Children born abroad do not acquire German nationality by birth if their German parent(s) were themselves born abroad after December 31, 1999 and at the time of the child’s birth were ordinarily resident abroad, provided such children acquire another nationality upon birth.

Children who fall into this category may acquire German nationality retroactively from birth if their parents register the birth with the German authorities before the child’s first birthday. To do this, they must apply to the competent registry office in Germany or to the competent German mission abroad to have the birth of their child included in the register of births.

Case study:

Mr. A moved from Germany to New Zealand in 1999. There his daughter Klara is born on February 1st, 2000. Because Clara is born as a child of a German father, she automatically receives German citizenship / passport.

Klara meets a New Zealander in 2018. Their son is born there in 2023 and automatically acquires New Zealand citizenship.

In order to also obtain German nationality for the child, the parents would have to apply to the competent registry office in Germany or to the competent German mission abroad before the child’s first birthday to register the birth of their child. If the registration application is submitted on time and with all the necessary supporting documents, the child may be issued with a German passport upon application.

Please note: This rule affects all Germans (expats and emigrants) who were born abroad and whose child was born abroad, regardless of the reason for or duration of their residence abroad.

What do I have to do to obtain German nationality for my child?

You must apply for the birth to be registered in the register of births at the competent German registry office before your child’s first birthday. This deadline is deemed to have been met if the application is received by the competent German mission abroad within the one-year period. The application may be made by one parent alone.

To apply to register your child’s birth you must submit the following documents:

  • Your child’s foreign birth certificate
  • The parents’ birth certificates
  • The parents’ marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • The parents’ passports/ID cards
  • Proof of a valid acknowledgement of paternity, if the parents of the child are not married to one another

Please note that your child cannot be issued with German identity papers until a complete application for registration of the birth has been submitted.

If you have any queries, please contact the consular section of the German mission abroad that is responsible for your place of residence.

Non-acquisition of German nationality for children born abroad to German parents (section 4 (4), first and third sentences, of the Nationality Act).

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