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Citizenship

Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis

Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis, © Ute Grabowsky / photothek.net

01.12.2017 - Article


General information

Please note: Since German language skills are a requirement for the following processes, only the German webpage has information on

- the permission to retain German citizenship when naturalizing in Qatar ("Beibehaltegenehmigung")

- naturalization after having lost German citizenship due to naturalizing elsewhere without permission to retain German citizenship

- naturalization for children born in wedlock before 1975 to a German mother and foreign father

- how to obtain confirmation that you are NOT a German citizen

German Citizenship Acquired Through Birth

Children born in wedlock between January 1, 1914, and December 31, 1974, acquired German citizenship only if the father was a German citizen at the time of their birth.

Children born to a German mother in wedlock between January 1, 1964 and December 31, 1974 only acquired German citizenship if they would have become stateless otherwise.

Children born in wedlock after January 1, 1975, acquired German citizenship if one of the parents was a German citizen at the time of their birth.
Children born in wedlock between April 1, 1953 and December 31, 1974, to a German mother and a non-German father did not become German citizens by birth. However, during the years 1975, 1976 and 1977, their parents could claim German citizenship for them. The deadline for this procedure irrevocably ended on December 31, 1977.

Children born out of wedlock to a German mother after January 1, 1914, acquired German citizenship. Children born out of wedlock to a German father after July 1, 1993 acquired German citizenship if (among other requirements) paternity had been established according to German law.

Children born out of wedlock to a German father before July 1, 1993 may acquire German citizenship by declaration before their 23rd birthday, if paternity has been established and if they have resided in Germany for at least three years. The declaration may only be made in Germany at the child's residence.

Restored citizenship

Information on obtaining/re-obtaining German citizenship for former German citizens and their descendants who were persecuted on political, racial or religious grounds between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945.

Article 116 par. 2 of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz) reads:
"Former German citizens who, between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945, were deprived of their citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds, and their descendants, shall on application have their citizenship restored. They shall be deemed never to have been deprived of their citizenship if they have established their domicile in Germany after May 8, 1945 and have not expressed a contrary intention."
 

The application for acquisition of German citizenship may result in the loss of the applicant's current citizenship(s). The loss of, as well as the possibility to retain, the current citizenship(s) is subject to the regulations of the applicable national law on citizenship as pertains to the applicant's specific case. 

The German Embassy in Doha cannot provide legally-binding advise regarding the law on citizenship of other sovereign states. The applicant must obtain such information from the competent authorities of his/her home state(s).

Naturalization

The application for naturalization in both cases does not require a special form. Nevertheless, to facilitate the process of searching archives in Germany, we provide an application form on our website. Please fill in a printout, sign it, and mail it to the appropriate German mission with all documents available to you, e.g. old German passports of the German emigrant, birth certificates of the emigrant, marriage certificates, copies of the naturalization papers of other states where the German emigrant has been naturalized after leaving Germany. (If you are a descendant of such a person, please submit all certificates of birth and marriage necessary to prove your relationship as a descendant from the former German citizen).

Please note that all foreign documents that are not in English or Latin scripture need to be translated by a certified translator.

Please do not send original documents, but certified copies only. Certifications may be done by your local notary public. Your signature on the application has to be notarized by a notary public as well.

Alternatively, you may personally bring your application and the original documents plus a simple copy to the consulate or embassy, in which case the certification of the documents will be done by a consular officer. Please note that the German missions do not provide translation services.

The application is free of charge and may take up to a year, depending on the ability to find the necessary documents in archives in Germany. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for the German Federal Office of Administration to process your application. If you have family members who have already gone through the application process, please provide their case numbers or a copy of their German certificate of naturalization ('Einbürgerungsurkunde').

Please pay attention to name changes/alterations due to naturalization and transcriptions of German names into foreign languages (e.g. Müller to Mueller/Muller/Miller or Grünspan to Greenspan, abbreviations of first names e. g. Alfred to Fred, Johann(es) to John or even complete name changes of first and last names).

Determination of German Citizenship (Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis)

In a formal application procedure it can be determined if you are a German citizen. For applicants abroad (not living in Germany) the authority responsible in processing these applications is the Federal Office of Administration in Cologne (Bundesverwaltungsamt). 

The Federal Office of Administration reviews how and when you obtained German citizenship and also if you have not lost German citizenship. If it is determined that you are a German citizen, you are issued with a Citizenship certificate (Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis) as proof of your German citizenship.

Please note:

For a decision regarding your application, extensive information and documentation with regards to your ancestors (parents, grandparents and if necessary great grandparents) is required.

Processing time can take up to two years or longer.

A cost of Euro 25,00 is applicable for the citizenship certificate (Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis). A fee of Euro 18,00 is also applicable in the case of a refusal (negative outcome).

Information and application forms can be obtained at the German Mission in your country of  residence.

The application can be lodged at the German Mission in your country of residence.

Please note that an appointment must be made to lodge the application at the relevant responsible German Mission. In Qatar please arrange an appointment by sending an email to once you have obtained all necessary documents. All supporting documentation accompanying the application is required in original plus two ordinary copies (not certified). Documentation certified by Qatar authorities cannot be accepted (except for the pre-certification of the Consular Section of the Qatar Foreign Office).

Reasons for losing German citizenship

How can I lose my German citizenship?

1) By voluntarily acquiring foreign citizenship: 

If you willingly apply for foreign citizenship and obtain it, German citizenship is automatically lost. If you obtain foreign citizenship without an application for naturalization, you remain a German citizen.
Please note: Loss of citizenship can be avoided by obtaining a special permit ("Beibehaltungsgenehmigung") before you are naturalized in a foreign country.

2) Entering armed forces of a foreign country:
By voluntarily entering into the armed forces or other armed units of a country whose citizenship you also have (Example: a person with German and Qatar citizenship starts a career in the Qatar Military). German citizens can avoid loss of citizenship in this way by obtaining a special permit.

3) Renunciation (if you hold dual citizenship):
If you live in Qatar, possess Qatar’s (or another) citizenship in addition to German citizenship, and, for certain reasons, wish to renounce your German citizenship, you must file an application through the German Embassy Doha.

Please include the documents cited in the application in the required form and have your signature certified. Your application will be forwarded by the German foreign mission to the German Federal Office of Administration in
Cologne.

If renunciation is approved, a renunciation certificate will be issued to you. It will be turned over to you by the foreign mission. The renunciation does not enter into force until you accept the certificate.

4) By adoption:
If you are adopted by a non-German and are no longer considered to be legally related to your German parent(s), you lose German citizenship if the adoption automatically makes you a citizen of your adopted parents' country.

(German language only)