Does the fact that a child is born in Germany qualify for German citizenship? Under certain conditions, yes!
I was born in the GDR to a family of Soviet military personnel, can I apply for German citizenship? This question is one of the most regular on the site. I usually answer: “The fact of birth in Germany does not give any advantages in terms of migration.” This is true for the children of the Soviet military, but there are other situations. Under certain conditions, a child of foreigners born on German soil can still obtain German citizenship.
Obtaining German citizenship upon birth in Germany
Since 2000, children of parents who do not have a German passport have acquired the right to German citizenship on the basis of place of birth (jus soli). This means that children born in the Federal Republic of Germany, by the very fact of their birth, receive, along with the citizenship of their parents, also German citizenship. In this case, it is necessary that the following conditions are met:
- one of the parents must have legally lived in Germany for at least eight years and
- at the time of the child’s birth, that parent must have a permanent residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis).
After the birth of a child, parents should inform Standesamt that their child has acquired German citizenship by birthright in Germany and has become the so-called Ius-soli-Deutsche.
Obligation to choose citizenship
Along with the right to a German passport, there is also the obligation to choose between German citizenship and the citizenship of the child’s parents. This choice must be made before reaching the age of 21.
That is, up to the age of 21, a child can have a German passport in parallel with the citizenship inherited from their parents. And after that, he must decide and leave only one thing.
But there is an important exception to this.
From December 20, 2014, Germans by birthright who grew up in Germany or if they have parallel to German only citizenship of an EU country or Switzerland are exempted from this choice.
According to the law, “raised in Germany” is one who, before reaching the age of 21:
- lived for eight years in Germany or
- attended school in Germany for six years or
- has completed school education or received vocational education in Germany.
Once again, in other words: by default, if at least one parent of a child has German permanent residence and has lived for 8 years in Germany (in fact, he himself can apply for German citizenship), then his child born in a German maternity hospital automatically receives German citizenship and the citizenship of the parents … But by the 21st year, he is obliged to choose only one of his citizenships, unless he is considered “raised in Germany”.
Until December 2014, everyone, without exception, had the obligation to choose citizenship.
But now the law applies to all children for whom the procedure for choosing citizenship has not been completed. That is, even if someone was born in the period before 2014 and received an order from the German authorities that he is obliged to choose citizenship, now he can also fall under the exception for those who grew up in Germany. The parents of the child are notified about this separately.
How to be someone who was born or chose citizenship before the new rules are adopted
Children who were born in Germany between 1990 and 1999 can, in addition to the citizenship of their parents, acquire German citizenship by naturalization (transitional rule §40b Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz (StAG)). To do this, the parents must submit a corresponding application to the Einbürgerungsamt. For such children, the same rules apply as for those who obtain German citizenship since 2000 automatically, upon their birth in Germany.
Even if the process of choosing citizenship was completed under the old legislation not in favor of the German one, you can re-apply for citizenship under the new rules. The main thing is to be considered grown up in Germany.
German citizenship by birth in this country can only be obtained by those children who were born to foreigners living here for a long time. Citizens-tourists, as in the case of some other states, do not exist in Germany.