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Am I German? - Establishing German citizenship

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If you would like to find out if you are eligible to apply for a German passport, there are some basic principles of the German law of citizenship that you should familiarize yourself with first.


Staatsangehörigkeit
Staatsangehörigkeit© photothek / Ute Grabowski

Determining German citizenship

German citizenship is mainly acquired and passed on through descent from a German parent. The parent had to be a German citizen at the time of the child's birth. Children born to former German citizens do not acquire the German citizenship.

For children born before January 1st, 1975 to parents who were married to each other at the time of the birth, it was mandatory that the father was a German citizen at the time of the child's birth in order for the child to acquire the German citizenship.

If you were born before January 1st, 1975 to parents who were married to each other at the time of the birth, and your mother was a German citizen, you may be able to apply for German Citizenship. German language skills are one of the requirements for this application.

More Information on how German citizenship is acquired by birth can be found here: German citizenship by birth

Persons who were born in Germany before the year 2000 to non-German parents did not obtain German citizenship at the time of their birth and are not eligible for a German passport. Currently, only children born in or after the year 2000 to long-term residents of Germany could or can under certain circumstances receive the German citizenship.

The German rules on citizenship are based on the principle of avoiding dual citizenship. This means that a German citizen who voluntarily applies for and accepts a foreign nationality on principle loses the German nationality automatically. This rule does not apply to Germans who receive the other citizenship by law (e.g. children born in Canada to parents that hold German citizenship at the time of the birth of the child may be dual citizens by law), or who applied for and received a citizenship of a member state of the European Union or Switzerland after August of 2007.

Am I entitled to a German passport?

German passports are issued only to German citizens. To determine whether or not you might be eligible for a German passport, research in your family history may be necessary. If you are not sure whether or not you are entitled to a German passport and would like to find out more, please contact your competent German Foreign Mission: Contact Form.

Ap­pli­ca­tion for the es­tab­lish­ment of Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship

For ap­pli­cants liv­ing abroad, the Fed­er­al Of­fice of Ad­min­is­tra­tion in Cologne, Germany is the com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ty to deal with cit­i­zen­ship mat­ters. The Fed­er­al Of­fice of Ad­min­is­tra­tion (BVA) car­ries out spe­cif­ic pro­ce­dures to de­ter­mine whether or not ap­pli­cants are Ger­man cit­i­zens.

It as­cer­tains when and by what means you have be­come a Ger­man na­tion­al and whether or not you have lost your Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship. Many events in the ap­pli­cants’ and their an­ces­tors’ lives can be sig­nif­i­cant for the ac­qui­si­tion or loss of the Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship, in­clud­ing per­son­al and fam­i­ly events (e.g. birth, mar­riage, or adop­tion) and/or po­lit­i­cal, le­gal de­vel­op­ments (such as col­lec­tive nat­u­ral­iza­tions dur­ing World War II or the ac­qui­si­tion of a for­eign na­tion­al­i­ty).


Ap­pli­cants whose Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship has been es­tab­lished are is­sued a cer­tifi­cate of na­tion­al­i­ty. It can al­so be es­tab­lished that you are not a Ger­man cit­i­zen. In such cas­es, a so-called neg­a­tive cer­tifi­cate is is­sued.

Please note that the whole ap­pli­ca­tion process must be con­duct­ed in Ger­man.

The German Consulate Toronto forwards the application to the BVA for processing. Communication from the BVA will usually be forwarded to the applicant by the German Consulate Toronto.

Application in person at the German Consulate Toronto: by appointment only

Application by mail to the German Consulate Toronto

Documents

- application form, filled out and signed with 1 copy

- Anlage V for every relevant ancestor with 1 copy each

- Originals & 2 sets of copies of all relevant documents

- application form, filled out and signed with 1 copy

- Anlage V for every relevant ancestor with 1 copy each

- 2 sets of copies of all relevant documents (one set copies certified by notary public, one set simple copies)

- cover letter with contact information

Please find the application forms at the bottom of this page or directly on the website of the BVA.

Fees

Certificate of nationality: 25 EUR

Neg­a­tive cer­tifi­cate: 18 EUR

To be paid after the processing is completed.

Processing time

1-2 years, BVA may ask for additional information or documents at any point during the process

Please note that the German Consulate Toronto is unable to make photcopies of any of your documents.

More information and application forms:

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