Non-acquisition of German nationality for children born abroad to German parents


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

Under what circumstances will my child not acquire German nationality automatically?

  • Your child will not automatically acquire German nationality by birth if
  • You (both German parents) were born abroad after 31 December 1999,
  • Your child is born abroad,
  • You (both German parents) are ordinarily resident abroad at the time of the child’s birth (If you are ordinarily resident abroad, it is immaterial that you have retained a residence in Germany purely for registration law purposes.)
  • Your child automatically acquires a foreign nationality upon birth.

Case study

Mr A relocates to Spain for work purposes in 1999. His daughter Klara is born there on 1 February 2000. The family returns some years later to Germany. In 2018, Klara meets an American citizen and moves to the US with him. Her son is born in the US on 1 January 2020. Although his mother is German, he does not acquire German nationality by birth, since he acquires US citizenship by virtue of being born in the US. In order to obtain German nationality for the child, Klara or the father would have to apply to the competent registry office in Germany or to the competent German mission abroad to register the birth of their child. If the application is submitted on time and with all the necessary supporting documents, the child may be issued with a German passport upon application.

What do I have to do to obtain German nationality for my child?

You must apply for the birth to be registered in the register of births at the competent German registry office before your child’s first birthday. This deadline is deemed to have been met if the application is received by the competent German mission abroad within the one-year period.

To apply to register your child’s birth you must submit the following documents:

More information on birth registration can be found here.

Top of page