Does a child of a German citizen automatically obtain a German passport?

The German Nationality Law of 1913 establishes the "principle of descent" (jus sanguinis), according to which citizenship is acquired by birth (Article 1).

According to the German Law, a child acquires German citizenship at birth, if one of his or her parents is a German citizen. If only the father is a German citizen and is not married to the child’s mother, legal proof or recognition of paternity is required prior to the child’s 23rd Birthday.

Besides to the "right of blood", the German Nationality Law recognizes the "principle of birthplace" (jus soli): this means that children born in Germany to non-German parents may, under certain conditions, acquire German citizenship. At least one of their parents must have been a legal resident of Germany for at least eight years and must have a permanent right of residence at the time of the child's birth.

One exception to the "principle of birth" is contained in article 8, according to which a child who is below eighteen years of age at the time of application for adoption shall acquire citizenship, as a result of valid adoption by a German under German law. The acquisition of citizenship shall extend to the child's descendants.

Legal References: § 1, 4, 6 Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz (StAG).

Please do not hesitate to contact us, if you need additional information or support with the German citizenship application.

Dwyer Legal Law Firm, Schwanthalerstr. 13, Aufgang IV, 80336 Munich
Tel: +49 (0)89 24 88 14 310,

Note: Information provided in this Knowledge Database is for orientation only and not binding.