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Nationality Act – new law has entered into force
On 20 August 2021 the Fourth Act Amending the Nationality Act entered into force, creating a legal claim to naturalisation within the framework of reparations for persons who were affected by National Socialist persecution and therefore lost or did not obtain German citizenship but who have no entitlement to the restoration of German citizenship pursuant to Article 116 (2) sentence 1 of the Basic Law, and for their descendants. The Act also includes a ten-year right of declaration, under which children born to a German parent after the entry into force of the Basic Law who, due to the regulations in force at the time of their birth, were excluded in a gender-discriminating manner from acquiring German citizenship by descent at birth have the option of obtaining German citizenship by making a simple declaration.
Information on German citizenship
Non-acquisition of German nationality for children born abroad to German parents
Children born abroad do not acquire German nationality by birth if their German parent(s) were themselves born abroad after 31 December 1999 and at the time of the child’s birth were ordinarily resident abroad, provided such children acquire another nationality upon birth (section 4 (4), first and third sentences, of the Nationality Act).
Children that fall into this category may acquire German nationality retroactively from birth if their parents register the birth with the German authorities before the child’s first birthday. To do this, they must apply to the competent registry office in Germany or to the competent German mission abroad to have the birth of their child included in the register of births.
Mr A relocates to Grenada for work purposes in 1999. His daughter Klara is born there on 1st February 2000. The family returns some years later to Germany. In 2018, Klara meets a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago and moves to Trinidad with him. Her son is born in Trinidad on 1 January 2020. Although his mother is German, he does not acquire German nationality by birth, since he acquires Trinidad and Tobago citizenship by virtue of being born in Trinidad and Tobago
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.
Please note: All Germans (expats and emigrants) who were born abroad and who give birth abroad, regardless of the reason for or duration of their residence abroad, need to be aware of this rule.
Victims of persecution by the Nazi regime who were forcibly deprived of their German nationality and their descendants can now be renaturalised in Germany. A decision by the Federal Constitutional Court has made it possible for more people to claim citizenship.
The Fourth Act Amending the Nationality Act, which entered into force on 20 August 2021, has created a ten-year right of declaration (Section 5 of the Nationality Act), granting children born to a…