Am I eligible for German citizenship?

Many people with German heritage are actually German citizens without even knowing it. In this article, you will find an overview of the eligibility criteria, which can help you determine whether or not you can apply for German citizenship.

By Nadja Schmidt

You can claim German citizenship if you are the direct descendant of a (former) German citizen. To be eligible, two factors have to be fulfilled:

  • Said ancestors would have passed on their German citizenship to you according to German citizenship legislation.
  • Neither your German ancestor nor anyone else in your family ever lost German citizenship.

To establish the first fact, we need to have a closer look at current and past German citizenship legislation. According to this legislation, children can always derive German citizenship from their father as long as they were born in wedlock. If they were born out of wedlock, they can either derive German citizenship from their mother, or from their father if they were born on or after 01 July 1998. Deriving German citizenship from your mother is only possible if you were born on or after 01 January 1975, or if you were born out of wedlock between 01 April 1953 and 31 December 1974. It is important to note that your parents do not need to actively hold German citizenship in order for you to obtain citizenship from them. They might have obtained German citizenship from their parents when they were born and passively passed it on to you.

The second aspect is to find out if anyone on the German side of your family ever lost German citizenship. German citizenship is for example automatically lost as soon as a person naturalizes in another country. Voluntarily joining the armed forces of another country would also make you lose your German citizenship. German women would have lost their German citizenship if they married a non-German citizen prior to 01 April 1953. Finally, if your ancestors emigrated before 1914, they would either have to travel back to Germany or register with the local German consulate every 10 years, or else they lost their German citizenship.

If none of these things apply to you and you can trace German citizenship through the generations as described above, you are officially a German citizen. Congratulations! You can now proceed to apply for confirmation of German citizenship.

How can Polaron help me?

  • We offer a free and confidential German citizenship eligibility assessment
  • If you are eligible, we can provide you with a no-obligation quote.
  • Should you decide to proceed with us, we provide you with linguistic, administrative and legal support and navigate through German regulations on your behalf.