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Acquisition of German citizenship by declaration (new provision of 20 August 2021)

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On 20 August 2021 some amendments to the German Nationality Act (“Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz” or “STaG”) came into force. Among other things, the new Act provides a ten-year period during which German citizenship may be acquired by way of simple declaration.

What has changed?

Until now, not all children were able to acquire German citizenship by descent from a parent who was German at the time of their birth. For all those who were affected by the former gender-discriminatory regulations on descent, and for their descendants, the new provision in the German Nationality Act provides a ten-year period during which they may acquire German citizenship by way of simple declaration.

The new provision applies to:

  1. children of a German parent (father or mother) who did not acquire German citizenship from him or her (e.g. children born in wedlock to a German mother and a foreign father prior to 1975 or born out of wedlock to a German father and a foreign mother prior to 1 July 1993), or
  2. children of a mother who, prior to their birth, lost her German citizenship by marrying a non-German, or
  3. children who lost their German citizenship acquired through birth as a result of legitimation, as their German mother married their non-German father after their birth, or
  4. descendants of a person eligible under nos. 1 to 3.

Further details on the new regulations as well as forms and factsheets can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Administration (“Bundesverwaltungsamt” or “BVA”).

Declarations can be sent directly to the Federal Office of Administration or handed in to the relevant German mission abroad for forwarding. Please note that declarations only become legally valid once received by the Federal Office of Administration.

 

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