German citizenship for children of German citizens born abroad

EU-Richtlinie - Reisepass für Kinder

According to the European directive, children must have their own travel documents from the date of June, 27, 2012, when traveling abroad. This can be a passport or a so-called children's ID card, which can replace a passport within the EU. (CTK Photo/Martin Sterba) *PERSONAL DATA ARE RETOUCHED, MODEL RELEASED, MR*, © CTK

23.10.2020 - Article

The second generation born abroad after 2000 is not a German citizen automatically. Children born abroad to German parents who themselves were born abroad after 31.12.1999 will only become German if their birth was registered within one year from their date of birth.

Who is affected?

Your child does not become a German citizen automatically if

  • you (the German parent or parents) were born outside of Germany after 31 December 1999 and
  • your child was born outside of Germany and
  • you (the German parent or parents) were residing abroad at the time of birth (simply being registered in Germany while in fact living abroad does not suffice) and
  • your child does not become stateless.

You can find all of the information about this topic in our information sheet.

How does my child become German?

Parents must apply for registration of birth either at the competent registrar's office in Germany or at a German Mission abroad within one year of the date of birth. The child will then obtain German citizenship.

Registration of birth


The German couple Anna and Bernd Müller move to Australia in 1999 and on 01.02.2000 their daughter Clara is born. In 2020, Clara marries the Australian citizen David and on 23.05.2023 their son Emil is born in Sydney. Although his mother is German, Emil does not acquire German citizenship by birth, since he acquires the Australian citizenship automatically at birth.

In order to obtain German citizenship for Emil, his parents would have to apply with the competent registry office in Germany or with the competent German mission abroad to register the birth of their child within one year.

It does not matter, whether Clara lived in Germany in between if she and her son were born abroad after 31.12.1999.

Who is not affected?

  • Children whose parents were born in Germany,
  • children whose parents were born before 01.01.2000, and
  • children born in Germany

will continue to become German citizens by birth.

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