Determination of German Citizenship
There are some basic principles of the German law of citizenship that you should familiarize yourself with before you apply for a formal confirmation of German citizenship.
How is German citizenship acquired?
German citizenship is mainly acquired and passed on through descent from a German parent. The parent has to be a German citizen at the time of the child's birth. Children born to former German citizens do not acquire German citizenship.
For children born before January 1st, 1975 to parents who were married to each other at the time of the birth, it was mandatory that the father was a German citizen at the time of the child's birth in order for the child to acquire the German citizenship.
If you were born before January 1st, 1975 to parents who were married to each other at the time of the birth, and your mother was a German citizen, you may be able to apply for German Citizenship.
German citizenship by birth
Persons who were born in Germany before the year 2000 to non-German parents did not obtain German citizenship at the time of their birth and are not eligible for a German passport. Currently, only children born in or after the year 2000 to long-term residents of Germany could or can under certain circumstances receive the German citizenship.
The German rules on citizenship are based on the principle of avoiding dual citizenship. This means that a German citizen who voluntarily applies for and accepts a foreign nationality on principle loses the German nationality automatically. This rule does not apply to Germans who receive the other citizenship by law (e.g. children born in New Zealand to parents that hold German citizenship at the time of the birth of the child may be dual citizens by law), or who applied for and received a citizenship of a member state of the European Union or Switzerland after August of 2007.
Am I entitled to a German passport?
German passports are issued only to German citizens. To determine whether or not you might be a German citizen, more information regarding your family's history may be required. If after reading the information on this website, you are not sure whether or not you may be a German citizen and would like to find out more, please provide as much detail as possible and attach any kind of proof and submit the information via email to : firstname.lastname@example.org
Confirmation of German citizenship
For applicants living abroad, the Federal Office of Administration in Cologne, Germany is the competent authority to deal with citizenship matters. The Federal Office of Administration (BVA) carries out specific procedures to determine whether or not applicants are German citizens.
It ascertains when and by what means you have become a German citizen and whether or not you have lost your German citizenship. Many events in the applicants’ and their ancestors’ lives can be significant for the acquisition or loss of the German citizenship, including personal and family events (e.g. birth, marriage, or adoption) and/or political, legal developments (such as collective naturalizations during World War II or the acquisition of a foreign nationality).
Applicants whose German citizenship has been confirmed by the competent German authority are issued a certificate of nationality. It can also be determined that you are not a German citizen. In this case, you would be issued a so-called negative certificate.
Before you start your application:
Before you start the process, please provide as much detail as possible and attach any kind of proof and submit the information via email to : email@example.com
Once we have checked your documents and information, we will let you know wheter you can commerce the official determination process by completing the application forms
Please find the application forms directly on the website of the BVA here (in German) or
find the English application forms at the bottom of this page
How to proceed:
1. Please fill out the application form.
2. Gather all relevant documents.
- Original application form, filled out and signed PLUS 1 copy
- Original Anlage V for every relevant ancestor PLUS 1 copy each
+ 2 sets of copies of all relevant documents (one set copies certified by notary public, one set simple copies)
- cover letter with contact information
Relevant documents to prove applicant's identity and family relationship to the German citizen in the family
- valid passport of the applicant
- birth certificate of the applicant
- birth certificates of the applicant's parents
- marriage certificate of the applicant's parents
- former German passports and other documents of the applicant, applicant's parents and grandparents, that prove their German citizenship
- naturalization or nationality certificates (“Einbürgerungsurkunde/Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis”) of the applicant, applicant's parents and grandparents
The German Embassy Wellington forwards the application to the BVA for processing. The Bundesverwaltungsamt (BVA) reserves the right to ask for further documents if necessary.
Certificate of nationality: 25 EUR
Negative certificate: 18 EUR
To be paid after the processing is completed.
Currently approx. 2 years, BVA may ask for additional information or documents at any point during the process
Please note that applications have to be submitted to the German Embassy in Wellington by mail or in person prior appointment.
Application form Confirmation of German nationality - for children under 16
Application form Confirmation of German nationality - for applicants aged 16 or over
Appendix For information on further ancestors as part of the procedure for confirmation of German Citizenship
Please read the data protection Regulation