Foreign citizens who move to Germany are usually interested in living their entire lives in one of the most appreciated and economically prolific countries in the world and in Europe. This is why most of them are interested in first obtaining permanent residence followed by citizenship.
One category of foreigners who is privileged is that of citizens born or who moved abroad and want to move back to their home countries. They can obtain citizenship by descent in Germany. However, there are various aspects to consider before applying for a German passport based on ancestry.
Below, our immigration lawyers in Germany invite you to discover how you can obtain citizenship by descent in this country. You can rely on us for the entire procedure.
Table of Contents
Citizenship options for foreigners in Germany
There are several ways through which a foreign citizen can acquire German citizenship. The simplest way implies naturalization, however, there are also other possibilities, such as marriage, investment, and descent. Out of all the options, one must choose based on specific criteria he or she must meet.
Obtaining citizenship by descent in Germany implies a thorough verification of one’s ancestors followed by the submission of various documents with the Federal Foreign Office.
Our immigration law firm in Germany can help you no matter the path you choose for obtaining a German passport.
If you are interested in Germany citizenship by descent, our immigration lawyers are at your disposal with dedicated services.
Conditions for obtaining German citizenship by descent
Compared to other means of acquiring a passport, obtaining citizenship by descent implies the satisfaction of specific requirements. Any of the following ancestry requisites may apply:
- the applicant has German ancestors who have been stripped way their citizenship under the Nazi occupation in 1938;
- the applicant was born before 1975 and has a German father;
- the applicant was born after 1975 and a German father or mother;
- the was born after June 1993 as an illegitimate child of a German citizen (father), however, managed to prove paternity before the age of 23.
Under these conditions, one may be granted German citizenship automatically based on a few documents, while in other cases, the procedure is more complicated in terms of paperwork. Either way, we invite you to submit an inquiry with our immigration law firm in Germany for a detailed assessment of your case.
The procedure for acquiring citizenship by descent in Germany
The procedure for applying for a German passport through ancestry can begin with the German embassy or consulate the applicant resides in or is a citizen of at this time. However, he or she will need to gather all the necessary documents that attest to his or her German ancestors.
These documents must be appended to the application form alongside the foreign citizen’s passport and filed with the Federal Foreign Office in Germany.
Our lawyers in Germany can support you during the immigration procedure if you want to obtain citizenship by descent.
Other means through which German citizenship by ancestry can be obtained
Provided that one falls under the conditions mentioned above, he or she can acquire German citizenship by ancestry automatically once proving one’s ties to the German people. Apart from the requirements presented earlier, German citizens who live abroad and have their children born there can make all the necessary arrangements for their children to be declared German citizens if they register them with the embassy or consulate in the respective country before the minors turn one year old.
Adoption is another way through which citizenship can be acquired.
If you are planning to immigrate to Germany and need guidance, our specialized lawyers are at your service.
All your questions on Germany citizenship by descent can be answered by our lawyers who can also help you prepare the necessary documentation associated with obtaining a German passport.
The principle of descent in Germany
Foreign citizens who have German ancestors can claim citizenship by descent in Germany based on the principle of ancestry, which under the national law implies for the applicant to have at least one German parent. However, there is also an exception to this rule, and it applies to people who were born in other countries from parents who were born themselves abroad after December 31st, 1999, and who are now residents of the respective countries.
Also, German citizens changing their residency abroad and having children after January 1st, 2000, can pass on their citizenship to their children. Another aspect related to Germany citizenship by descent is that in this last case, the descendants of German citizens can claim citizenship within one year from their grandparents’ relocation.
The principle of ancestry in Germany is not as simple as in other countries, which is why if you are interested in acquiring citizenship this way, you can rely on our immigration law firm.
Obtaining Germany citizenship by descent based on the place of birth
Obtaining citizenship by descent in Germany implies meeting a set of criteria, and one of them refers to the place of birth. This principle applies to start with the year 2000. According to it, a child can obtain German citizenship if at least one of the parents is a legal permanent resident of this country for at least 8 years. This rule was created in order to allow children of foreign citizens born here to acquire German citizenship.
Our immigration lawyers in Germany are at your service with more information on this principle.
Citizenship by descent in Germany based on marital status
Germany citizenship by descent can also be acquired based on the marital status of the mother who was a foreign citizen herself. This principle applied to children born before 1975 and who had German fathers.
Under the new changes in the legislation which occurred in 2019, children born before 1975 and who have German mothers and foreign fathers can also apply for citizenship by descent.
Here are the main requirements to meet in order to obtain a German passport by descent under the 2019 Mothers’ Decree:
- the mother was a German citizen at the time the child was born;
- the parents were married at the time the child was born;
- the mother had ties with the Germany and is a fluent German speaker.
If you need guidance in applying for citizenship by descent under this new rule, you can request the services of our immigration law firm in Germany.
German citizenship by descent and naturalization: differences and similarities
Foreign citizens interested in obtaining German citizenship have several means they can employ to become citizens of one of the most powerful economies in the world. Among these, descent is reserved only to those who have German ancestors. However, compared to other countries, Germany has made several recent changes to its immigration laws under which foreigners can acquire German passports through their ancestors or living parents, which shows the interest of the authorities in its citizens.
Naturalization is also one of the ways through which foreign citizens can obtain German citizenship if they have lived here at least 8 years. Moreover, their children can acquire citizenship directly if they are born in this country. They can also obtain German citizenship by descent if their parents are residents but relocate to other countries temporarily.
No matter the way one decides to apply for citizenship in Germany, our law firm is at your disposal and will help you verify if you meet the eligibility criteria.
Tailored support in obtaining German citizenship
Our German immigration lawyers are at your disposal with various services, including assistance in relocating here and applying for citizenship by naturalization or investment. However, if you are interested in Germany citizenship by descent, the process can be more exhaustive, especially when your ancestry must be proved by searching various people’s registers. We can conduct these searches and inform you about the findings, so that you can acquire your German passport.
If you choose another pathway, we are at your service with quick guidance in drafting the necessary documents, so that you can become a German citizen as soon as possible.
The German Nationality Act
Foreign citizens can apply for German citizenship under the new Nationality Act (Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz) which was enabled in 2000. The simplest form of obtaining German citizenship is for one to have at least a German parent. However, foreign citizens moving to Germany can apply for citizenship if the meet all the conditions of the Nationality Act. In 2005, the Government also enabled the Immigration Act (Zuwanderungsgesetz) under which foreign citizens may apply for German residency.
For information about applying for a residence permit you can get in line with our lawyers in Germany.
Obtaining a German passport
Foreign citizens applying for citizenship in Germany must fulfill the following conditions:
- they must be German residents for at least 8 years,
- they have the appropriate financial means to support themselves,
- they must speak German,
- they must know how the German legal system works.
EU and Swiss citizens can apply for German citizenship based on their residence permits. Foreign citizens living in Germany for less than 8 years may apply for citizenship if they have a good command of German and the means to support themselves. Also, the German legislation does not encourage dual citizenship, which is why in order to obtain a German passport one must renounce his or her other nationality.
Documents required when applying for German citizenship
Foreign citizens moving to Germany are first required to obtain a residence permit. They must verify the type of residence visa they need as it could affect their right to obtain a German passport. The first step when moving to Germany is to register with the local residence registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt). After registering with the local registration office they will obtain a residence permit which will also allow them to work in Germany. The documents required when moving to Germany are:
- a valid passport,
- proof of financial self-sustenance,
- original and notarized copies of the birth certificate,
- academic qualifications,
- book of vaccination, if the foreign citizen has one.
Foreign citizens living in Germany
There is also the case of foreign citizens living in Germany and having their children born in this country. In their case, at least one of the parents must be permanent resident here in order to register the children as German citizens. The conditions in this case are:
- at least one of the parents must have lived in Germany for 8 years;
- for children born after August 2007, one of the parents must have obtained permanent residency.
If you have any questions on how to obtain citizenship by descent in Germany, you can send them to our lawyers.
Obtaining German citizenship by ancestry is one of the quickest ways of becoming a citizen of this country, which is why if you meet any of the requirements above and want to submit an application in this sense, our immigration lawyers are at your service with tailored support during the entire procedure. Do not hesitate to contact us and present your case to start the procedure as soon as possible.