Other ways of gaining German citizenship

Who may acquire citizenship by declaration?

Section 5 of the Nationality Act

Until 1 July 1993, a child born out of wedlock acquired German citizenship only if his or her mother was a German citizen. As part of reforms intended to give children born out of wedlock the same rights as those born to married parents, Section 4 of the Nationality Act was amended to create the possibility of citizenship by declaration, according to Section 5 of the Nationality Act, for persons born before 1 July 1993.

According to Section 5, children born before 1 July 1993 to a German father who was not married to the child’s non-German mother may acquire German citizenship by declaration before their 23rd birthday, if they have legal proof or recognition of paternity and have legally resided in Germany for at least three years.

Can citizenship be acquired through adoption?

Section 6 of the Nationality Act

A child adopted by a German citizen may acquire German citizenship, as long as the application for adoption was submitted before the child’s 18th birthday.

How do ethnic German repatriates and their family members acquire German citizenship?

Section 7 of the Nationality Act

Persons who are admitted into Germany as ethnic German repatriates are automatically granted German citizenship when they are issued a repatriates certificate in accordance with Section 15 para. 1 or para. 2 of the Federal Expellees Act. The same applies to spouses married to an ethnic German repatriate for at least three years before leaving the area subject to expulsion, and to children and grandchildren of ethnic German repatriates.

To whom do the provisions in Article 116 para. 2 of the Basic Law apply?

Former German citizens who were deprived of their citizenship by the Nazi regime between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945 on political, racial or religious grounds may have their German citizenship restored upon application or residence in Germany. The same applies to their children and grandchildren.

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