German
Citizenship
by Descent

German Citizenship by Descent

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Check your eligibility
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German citizenship by descent allows those with German ancestry to claim citizenship. By working closely with our lawyers, you will discover whether you are legally eligible for German citizenship. Use our online eligibility check for German citizenship by descent to determine whether you can apply for German citizenship.

If you are eligible, our team will work alongside you to guide you through the application process. We have successfully supported clients worldwide and our attorneys are ready to locate and verify required documents, oversee your application, and advise you on matters of dual citizenship.

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Our Services: German Citizenship by Descent

We provide our clients with comprehensive immigration law support

As a full service law firm, Schlun & Elseven will be there throughout your citizenship application

German Citizenshipy by Descent Eligibility Check

Applying for German Citizenship by Descent

Applying for German citizenship by descent can be a complex process. Once eligibility has been determined, it is vital to collect the required documents before submitting the application. The documents vary on a case-by-case basis but include:

  • Passport.
  • ID Card.
  • Documents proving parentage, such as:
    • Birth certificates,
    • Marriage certificates,
    • Certificates of descent.
  • Certificate of good conduct from your country of residence.
  • Proof of impunity. You must prove you do not have convictions to imprisonment or youth sentences of two or more years or have been subject to preventive detention.

Locating the required documents often requires legal assistance, particularly obtaining birth and marriage certificates in Germany. Our lawyers have supported numerous clients over many years and are widely familiar with the requirements. Working with our team will utilise their extensive experience to locate and verify the forms and other materials.

Original copies or notarised copies of the documents are accepted. Documents need to be in German or, in some circumstances, English. Documents in other languages must be translated and stamped by an official translator.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our legal team will oversee the entire process.

Determine Eligibility for German Citizenship by Descent

German citizenship by descent does not come from any German ancestor. It is through the direct family line that determines whether a claim can be justified. This means that if your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents were born in Germany, it is possible to qualify for German citizenship.

However, it is complex to determine whether your ancestors’ histories and situations allow you to claim citizenship. Here are some cases we can offer where German citizenship does apply.

  • Your ancestors had their citizenship taken away under Nazi rule on political, racial or religious grounds between 1933 and 1945.
  • Your birth was before 1975 to a foreign father and a German citizen mother, born in wedlock.
  • Your birth was before 1975 in wedlock to a German father and a foreign mother.
  • Your birth was before 01.07.1993 to a foreign mother, and your father was a German citizen at the day of your birth, born outside of wedlock, and paternity is proven before you turn 23.
  • Your birth was after 1975 in wedlock to a German parent.
  • Children of a mother who had automatically lost her German nationality before the birth of the child by marrying a foreigner,

As can be seen, this process is quite limited and rigid in certain situations. However, your case may match one of the above categories, and if so, it is advisable to contact our immigration experts.

It should be noted that previous requirements, such as “close ties to Germany” and German language requirements, are no longer needed.

German Citizenship Developments

Our law firm informs our clients regarding developments and changes in German citizenship law that may impact their application.

The German government parties set out in their coalition agreement the intention of a new beginning in migration and integration policy. Their aims include the following:

  • accelerate the issuing of visas,
  • ease the requirements for acquiring German citizenship,
  • extend the possibility of multiple citizenships (“dual citizenship”), and
  • lower the requirements for German right of residence and the right to stay in Germany.

According to the new German government’s plan, a child born in Germany, for example, would be granted German citizenship at birth if at least one parent has been legally resident in the country for at least five years at the time of birth. Up to now, the acquisition of German citizenship by a child of foreign parents has been conditional on the legal residence of one parent for eight years (cf. Section 4 III StAG).

Similarly, German citizenship through residence (naturalisation) is to be simplified. According to the coalition agreement, German citizenship through residence should be possible after five years. However, in the case of “special integration achievements”, naturalisation would be available after three years.

Dual Citizenship Inquiries

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions regarding dual citizenship. By analysing your situation, they will determine whether you are eligible for dual citizenship and ensure that your application fulfils the set requirements.

Dual citizenship can be a complex matter, as the rules of both countries need to be considered and a local legal guidance might be required. Some countries do not permit dual citizenship; therefore, obtaining German citizenship by descent may result in needing to give up the previous citizenship. Dual citizenship is allowed in most European Union countries, including France, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Poland and Sweden. The USA, Canada, the United Kingdom and Turkey also allow dual citizenship.

Dual citizens in Germany have the same rights as other German citizens. When abroad, they can contact and receive help from the German embassy or consulate. However, this support is limited when they are in the other country of their citizenship. Dual citizens may be provided with additional rights linked to their other citizenship, such as the right to vote in that country, based on the laws of that state.

Full-Service Legal Support with German Citizenship by Descent

Our German immigration lawyers deal with complex issues of German citizenship by descent on a daily basis. Our team will ensure that your application, and that of your family members, follow the stated requirements. Where possible we will help you to speed up the process. We offer you the full-service package for your German passport from the check of the eligibility, the research of your ancestry, the communication with authorities as well as the final application. Make use of our Eligibility Check for German citizenship by descent.

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Practice Group: German Citizenship Law

Practice Group:
German Citizenship Law

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Sandra Zimmerling

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