Citizenship by birth

Children, born in Germany after January 2000 obtain the German citizenship by birth, if either one of the parents is German citizen or

  • one of the parents has his legal residence in Germany since eight years, and
  • has a settlement-permit.

The citizenship will be obtained if a child under the age of 18 years will be adopted by a German citizen.

If the German father of a child acknowledges the paternity, the child obtains the German citizenship, in case that the declaration is made before the child becomes 23 years old.


The right of naturalization is a complex question and depends on individual circumstances. Nevertheless the naturalization law contains some general requirements to obtain a right for naturalisation. Furthermore a certain time of legal residence is needed for naturalization.

General requirements are:

  • Explicit statement to abide by the principles of the constitution (Grundgesetz) and not support any activities contrary these principles, including the support of extremist groups
  • Sufficient means of substance for himself and the relatives depending on him (exceptions possible for aliens under the age of twenty-three or if it is not the fault of the alien that he depends on social welfare)
  • Sufficient knowledge of the German language
  • No conviction for a major crime

Time of Legal Residence

The time one has to reside in Germany before naturalization depends on the purpose of stay. Generally a time of legal residence of eight years is necessary to have a right of naturalization. If one has attended to an integration course, this will be reduced to seven years, with special integration skills a naturalization can be possible after six years. The time of an asylum process can be credited in certain cases.

For alien spouses of German citizens a naturalization may be possible after three years of residence and marriage. For recognized refugees a legal residence of six years can be sufficient. In cases of public interest (e.g. by highly skilled scientists , arts, culture, media or sports) three years can be sufficient. Beside of these regulations are no special conditions for investors or business person.

Loss of German Citizenship 

The German citizenship will be lost by

  1. dismissal, abandonment or declaration
  2. acquisition of any other citizenship by application
  3. Abandonment of the former nationality (exceptions are possible, if the abandonment is not possible or not reasonable)
  4. adoption by an alien
  5. entrance to the armed forces of any other country

A former German Citizen can apply for a settlement permit or residence permit under facilitated conditions.


If you have questions regarding your citizenship get in contact to our Specialist in Immigration Law Sven Hasse.

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