Acquisition of German nationality by children born abroad to German parents who were themselves born abroad after 31 December 1999 (section 4 (4) of the Nationality Act)

A father holds his son in his arms against a light background

Father with babe in arms, © Colourbox


Children born abroad to one or more German parents who themselves were born abroad after 31 December 1999 only acquire German nationality under certain circumstances.

In accordance with the Nationality Act, such children do not acquire German nationality (cf. section 4 (4), first and third sentences, of the Nationality Act), if all of the following conditions are met:

  • the parents of the child are German nationals and were both born abroad after 31 December 1999 or only one parent of the child is a German national and was born abroad after 31 December 199

  • the German parent or parents were ordinarily resident abroad when the child was born

  • the child acquires a foreign nationality upon birth.

Nonetheless, it is possible to obtain German nationality for a child to whom this rule applies by filing an application to certify the birth (i.e. record it in a German register of births) with the competent registry office in Germany or the competent German mission abroad within a year of the child’s birth.

The child thereby acquires German nationality with effect from their date of birth.


A German national born in Spain in 2000 while her parents were working there is currently living with her husband, a US national, in the United States. Their son is born there in 2023 and automatically acquires US citizenship.

In order to also obtain German nationality for the child, the parents would have to apply to the competent registry office in Germany or to the competent German mission abroad before the child’s first birthday to register the birth of their child. If the registration 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: This rule affects all Germans (expats and emigrants) who were born abroad and whose child was born abroad, regardless of the reason for or duration of their residence abroad.

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