Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis, © Ute Grabowsky / photothek.net


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

Children born abroad do not acquire German nationality by birth if their German parent(s) were themselves born abroad after 31 December 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 the competent German mission abroad to have the birth of their child included in the German register of births.

Case study:

A German national born in Spain in 2000 while her parents were working there is currently living with her husband, a US national, in the United States. Their son is born there in 2023 and automatically acquires US 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.

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