The child of a German parent might acquire German citizenship, regardless of birthplace. Some particularities will need to be taken into consideration, however.

Birth to a German mother:

  • prior to 1953, a German mother would not be able to pass down her citizenship to a child born in wedlock
  • between 1953 and 1975, a child did not automatically acquire German citizenship from its mother, although there was an opportunity to register that child as a German citizen.
  • since 1975, a German mother automatically passes down her German citizenship to her child.
  • Since 1914 if a child is born illegitimately, the German nationality of the mother is automatically granted.

For children born to a German citizen mother and a non-German father before 1975, it may be possible to acquire German citizenship through discretionary naturalisation.

Birth to a German father:

  • A child automatically acquires German nationality from its (legitimate) German father since 1871
  • A father is only able to pass down his citizenship to his illegitimate child since July 1993, as long as paternity is established prior to the child's 23rd If the child is born prior to the cut-off date 'and paternity has been established by the required deadline' there is a possibility to apply for a discretionary grant of German citizenship.

There are also a multitude of ways to lose German citizenship, and the parent's German citizenship would be examined carefully. Under a recent change in the law, German citizens, who are born outside Germany after 1999, will only be able to pass down their citizenship, if 'within a year' they register the birth of their child at their local German embassy. This rule does not apply if the child would otherwise be stateless.


The German government processing times for citizenship applications outside of Germany have increased to over two years, therefore we feel unable to provide new clients with the service that we would want to. So, for the time being, we are not providing services to German Citizenship aside from our existing clients.

We are monitoring the situation and may resume services should things change. We hope that the information above was useful. If so, please let us know on one of our social media platforms, such as our Facebook page.


  • A citizenship law specialist
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My application was somewhat complex in that it related to a recent amendment to rights of ancestral British citizenship. My experience with Passportia has been that they have always been prompt and efficient when responding to queries and they have an in depth knowledge of their areas of expertise. I have no hesitation in recommending Passportia in matters relating to UK citizenship.

W.R. - Johannesburg, South Africa