Citizenship: Frequently Asked Questions



Yes, you can, but we currently do not offer appointments to hand in your application or go through your application with you. You can however, visit the Legalisation Office during opening hours without prior appointment.

Click here for information on opening hours of the Legalisation Section and more details.

We cannot provide a general answer to this question, as each case is different. Generally, we always recommend checking with the other country that you are a citizen of, as we can always only advise from the German side.

Yes, you can. If several members of a family are applying on the basis of the same parent/grandparent, the applications can be submitted together and the documents relating to that parent/grandparent (one set of certified and one set of plain photocopies) need only be provided once.

All general queries can be sent by email, but if you are submitting (additional) documents or your entire application please do so either by post or by visiting the Legalisation Office of the Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Edinburgh. Please remember not to send original documents, but certified copies instead.

Click here for details on how to certify your documents

Owing to the increase in applications we are unfortunately unable to provide appointments for general enquiries or to go through questions in detail. If you are not sure whether you are eligible for German citizenship or how to proceed, start by reading carefully through this FAQ and all the information provided. In unusual cases or if you still have questions, feel free to contact us via the contact form. We will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

You can visit the Legalisation Office at the Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Edinburgh to have your signature/photocopies certified. Please book an appointment here

Alternatively, you can have your copies certified by your local Honorary Consul. Please contact the Honorary Consul responsible for your area beforehand.

Click here to find your Honorary Consul

It depends on the application process and the basis on which you are applying. Waiting times for naturalisations have recently increased considerably, and the Federal Administration Office may take up to two years to process an application.

In some cases, German citizenship can be lost automatically through acquiring a foreign citizenship by application. If you obtain a foreign citizenship by application, German citizenship is automatically lost. However, as of 28 August 2007 this does not apply to the citizenship of an EU member state or of Switzerland. It also does not apply to the United Kingdom until the end of the transition period of their exit from the EU (currently 31.12.2020). In all other cases, loss of citizenship can be avoided by obtaining a special permit (Beibehaltungsgenehmigung) before you are naturalised in a foreign country.

Click here for more information

Copies of UK naturalisation certificates and further useful information can be found on the website of the UK National Archives

For marriage and birth certificates you might be able to contact the local authority at the place of marriage and birth respectively. In Germany, this is the local Standesamt (Registry Office), or, if dating back further, the relevant city archives. Some Standesamt websites offer services to order these documents online.

For certificates of citizenship and the necessary research, the German Military Archives might be a useful resource.

In addition, you can refer to our guide on family research, which includes a number of useful links.

If you received your naturalisation certificate within the last five years, you will have to provide us with your child’s birth certificate and, if applicable, marriage certificate, as well as a signed application form. If the child is below the age of 16, you will have to sign the application form yourself. Please quote the Embassy’s reference number you received when submitting your application.

German citizenship might be automatically acquired through descent, adoption or birth on German territory. A child born in Germany on or after 1 January 2000 to non-German parents may acquire German citizenship under certain conditions.

Click here for more information

German citizenship can be automatically acquired by descent, but this is not always the case.

Click here for more information

We strongly advise you not to submit original documents but certified copies instead.

All decisions on citizenship are the responsibility of the Federal Administration Office (BVA). You can, however, submit your application through the Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Edinburgh; we will then forward it to the Federal Administration Office.

As the documents required differ according to the basis on which you are applying and/or the certificate you are applying for, please check the sections under “German Citizenship” to see which is relevant to your case. If you are unsure which section is relevant to you, we suggest you read through General information, which is intended to point you to the section relevant to your individual case.

No. You only need to provide us with the documents relating to the person on whom your application is based and proving the link between yourself and that person. Please see the relevant section for details.

Subject to certain conditions, your child will have automatically acquired German citizenship by descent and is therefore entitled to a German passport. For more information please see: Acquiring German citizenship.

In this case, you can apply for a German passport for your child at the Embassy in London, the Consulate General in Edinburgh and some Honorary Consuls.

Click here for more information on Passports as well as details on booking an appointment and the documents required.

In some cases a name declaration might be required.

Click here for further details on Naming Law and Civil Status Certificates.

Please bring the original documents, two sets of copies and if possible plain copies of your passport. If you are simultaneously submitting applications for yourself and other members of your family, please provide us with a copy of each applicant’s passport.

For marriage and birth certificates you might be able to contact the local authority at the place of marriage and birth respectively. In Germany, this is the local Standesamt (Registry Office), or, if dating back further, the relevant city archives. Some Standesamt websites offer services to order these documents online.

Anyone who either automatically lost his/her German citizenship under §2 of the 11th Decree Implementing the Reich Citizens Act of 25 November 1941 (this affected all German citizens of the Jewish faith who had their permanent residence abroad when the regulation entered into force on 27 November 1941 or later) or who was deprived of his/her German citizenship on an individual basis under the Act on Revocation of Naturalisations and Deprivation of German Citizenship of 14 July 1933 is deemed to have been deprived of his/her German citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds. Individual cases of deprivation of German citizenship were published in the Reich Law Gazette (Reichsgesetzblatt).

All foreign documents that are not either in English or German will have to be translated by a certified translator. The Embassy, the Consulate General and Honorary Consuls do not provide translation services. Translators accepted by the BVA can be found e.g. on the website of the Institute of Linguists in London.

Each descendant has an individual claim, subject to eligibility. It is thus possible for grandchildren to apply, even if their parents decide not to. Please note, however, that children younger than 16 require parental consent. If parents wish to apply for a child under 16, they should fill in the form with the child’s details and sign the form themselves.

Top of page