If you are a parent or grandparent of a child or grandchild who is a German citizen by descent, you may be wondering if you can apply for German citizenship yourself. The answer is yes, and the process is relatively straightforward. In this article, we will outline the steps you need to take to apply for German citizenship by descent and provide some helpful tips along the way.
What is Citizenship by Descent?
Citizenship by descent is a type of citizenship that can be acquired through the father or mother’s line of citizenship. This form of citizenship allows individuals to automatically become citizens of the country in which they reside, even if they have no other citizenship. It is important to note that this form of citizenship is not automatically granted, and must be obtained through a process known as naturalization.
Citizenship by descent is typically considered to be more advantageous than other forms of citizenship, as it offers many benefits such as the automatic right to live and work in the country, protection from deportation, and the right to vote. Additionally, children of German nationals who were born outside of Germany but have lived in Germany for at least five years are also eligible for citizenship by descent.
Benefits of being a German Citizenship by Descent
- You have the right to live and work in Germany without a visa.
- You can apply for certain government benefits, such as healthcare and social security, without having to live in Germany full-time.
- You can vote in federal and state elections in Germany.
- If you are married to a German citizen, you will automatically become a German citizen.
Types of Citizenship by Descent
As a resident of Germany, you may enjoy certain rights and privileges as a result of your German citizenship. Here are four types of German citizenship by descent:
- Nationality through the Father:
If your father was a German citizen at the time of your birth, you automatically become a German citizen. However, this citizenship is not automatic if your father was not a German citizen at the time of your birth, or if he did not reside in Germany during your childhood. In this case, you may be able to acquire German citizenship through naturalization.
- Nationality through the Mother:
If your mother was a German citizen at the time of your birth, you automatically become a German citizen. However, this citizenship is not automatic if your mother was not a German citizen at the time of your birth, or if she did not reside in Germany during your childhood. In this case, you may be able to acquire national citizenship through naturalization.
- Dual Nationality with another country:
If you have dual nationality with another country, you may still be able to retain your German citizenship if both countries allow it.
- Citizenship Through Ancestry (Jus Sanguinis):
This type of citizenship is granted to anyone who meets the requirements set forth by law (generally being born in Germany to one or both parents who were also born in Germany).
Tips for Increasing your Chances of German Citizenship by Descent
- Verify your Descent:
Make sure that your ancestors were German citizens at the time they were born or naturalized. If you can’t find proof of your descent, there is a chance that your ancestors may have been forced to leave Germany during the Holocaust or lost their citizenship because of political reasons.
- Meet the Residency Requirements:
You must have lived in Germany continuously for at least five years and have a good reputation.
- Prove your Integration into Society:
Show that you are a responsible member of society by having a clean criminal record, being involved in community activities, and having knowledge of the German language and culture.
Requirements for German Citizenship by Descent
- You must be a descendant of a German citizen
- Your parents or grandparents must have been born in Germany
- You must have lived in Germany for at least five years as of the date of your application
- You must be of good character and possess basic German skills
How to Apply for German Citizenship by Descent
The first step is to determine if you are an eligible descendant. To do this, you will need to answer a series of questions about your family history. For example, did your ancestors live in Germany when the country was an independent nation? Did they fight on the side of Nazi Germany during World War II? If so, you may not be eligible for citizenship.
Once you have determined whether or not you are an eligible descendant, the next step is to gather evidence that proves your eligibility. This can include birth certificates, marriage licenses, military records, or other documents that show your connection to Germany. You will also need to provide documentation showing that you speak German fluently and have lived in Germany for a certain amount of time.
The final step is to apply for citizenship through the German consulate or embassy in your home country. The application process is typically straightforward and requires only a few documents and some proof of residency in Germany. Once your application has been filed, the consulate or embassy will review it and either approve or deny your request for citizenship based on the evidence provided.
Cost of German Citizenship by Descent
The cost of acquiring German citizenship by descent depends on the type of citizenship sought. Thorough genealogical research is necessary to determine if any family members have been German citizens or nationals.
However, if one or more family members were citizens or nationals, proof may include documentation such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, or military records. It is also possible to apply based on documentary evidence alone if all other requirements are met.
There is no fee associated with applying for citizenship by descent in Germany. However, there may be fees associated with fulfilling additional requirements, such as proving residence in Germany for the required duration or taking the German language test.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is German citizenship by descent?
German citizenship by descent is the right of children of German citizens born abroad to acquire German citizenship. This right is regulated by the Nationality Law (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, or BGB), and can be acquired either automatically if both parents are German citizens at the time of the child’s birth, or through a formal process.
- How do I know if I am eligible for German citizenship by descent?
If both parents are German citizens when your child is born outside of Germany, then he or she is automatically eligible for German citizenship by descent. If one parent is a citizen but the other isn’t, then your child may still be eligible for citizenship by descent if you meet certain requirements outlined in the Nationality Law (such as living in Germany for a continuous period of at least five years).
- How do I apply for German citizenship by descent?
To apply for German citizenship by descent, you must first submit an application form to the relevant regional office (Amt für Staatsangehörigkeit). Once your application has been received and evaluated, a decision will be made whether to grant you or your child German citizenship. If you are granted citizenship, it will be retroactive to the date of your child’s birth.