German citizenship


Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis, © Ute Grabowsky / photothek.net

01.12.2017 - Article

Report of birth to obtain German citizenship abroad

Who is affected?

Affected are those who were born outside of the limits of the Federal Republic of Germany and whose parents were also born abroad after the December 31st of 1999, if their habitual residence is not Germany.


Children with these characteristics will not automatically obtain German nationality by birth anymore. Exceptions to this general rule are possible in cases of imminent statelessness.

Despite this change, German citizenship can be acquired easily by reporting the child’s birth to the competent authority within one year after the date of birth, whereby the date of receipt of the application is used to determine admissibility. The competent authority is either the local registry office (“Standesamt”) at the place of residence or, for those who do not maintain a residence in Germany, the registry office I in Berlin. The application may be submitted at a German Mission abroad.


Mrs. X is deployed to South Africa by her employer as a company-representative in 1998. She meets Mr. Y. who is a South African citizen. Their child Z is born on May 1st of 2000 in Johannesburg and obtains German citizenship from her mother. Z grows up in South Africa, where Z becomes a parent in 2018. Although Z’s daughter’s German citizenship can be derived directly from Z, it is not obtained automatically.

For passing German citizenship onto Z’s child, the birth must be reported to the competent authorities (the German Embassy in Gaborone or the registry office in Berlin), as indicated above.


Employees of German companies abroad (expatriates), emigrants and employees of the German Foreign Ministry, amongst others, may be subject to the new legislation.

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