Am I German?

Staatsangehörigkeit (© photothek / Ute Grabowski)

Determining German citizenship

If you would like to find out if you are eligible to apply for a German passport, there are some basic principles of the German law of citizenship that you should familiarize yourself with first:

German citizenship is mainly acquired and passed on through descent from a German parent. The parent has to be German citizen at the time of the birth of the child. Children who are born to former German citizens do not acquire the German citizenship. 

In addition, for children born before January 1st, 1975 to parents who were married to each other at the time of the birth, it was mandatory that the father was a German citizen in order for the child to acquire the German citizenship.

If you were born before January 1st, 1975 to parents who were married to each other at the time of the birth, and your mother was a German citizen, you may be able to apply for German Citizenship. German language skills are one of the requirements for this application.

For further information please refer to the website of the Federal Office of Administration (in German language).

Persons who were born in Germany before the year 2000 to non-German parents did not obtain German citizenship at the time of their birth and are not eligible for a German passport. Currently, only children born in or after the year 2000 to long-term residents of Germany could or can under certain circumstances receive the German citizenship.

The German rules on citizenship are based on the principle of avoiding dual citizenship. This means that a German citizen who voluntarily applies for and accepts a foreign nationality on principle loses the German nationality automatically. This rule does not apply to Germans who receive the other citizenship by law (e.g. children born in Canada to parents that hold German citizenship at the time of the birth of the child may be dual citizens by law), or who applied for and received a citizenship of a member state of the European Union or Switzerland after August of 2007. 

Am I entitled to a German passport?

German passports are only issued to German citizens. To determine whether or not you are eligible for a German passport, research in your family history may be necessary. If you are not sure whether or not you are entitled to a German passport and would like to find out more, please answer the following questions and have the answers ready before contacting your competent German Foreign Missions. You can facilitate the process if you provide as much detail as possible and submit the information in writing.

Am I German?

1.

What is your exact date of birth and where were you born?

2.

Which citizenship(s) did your father and mother hold at the time of your birth?

3.

Were your parents married to each other at the time of your birth?

3a.

If applicable: When and where did your parents get married?

3b.

If no: When and where was the paternity recognized?

4.

Please provide the date of birth and place of birth for both your mother and father.

5.

Which citizenship(s) did your father and your mother hold at the time of their birth?

6.

When did they apply for and receive the Canadian (or any other) citizenship, if they ever did so?

7.

Which citizenship did (all) your grandparents hold at the time of your parent's birth?

8.

Were your grandparents married to each other at the time of your father's/your mother's birth? If applicable: when and where did your grandparents get married?

9.

When did your grandparents apply for the Canadian (or any other) citizenship, if they ever did so?

10.

Did you, your parents or your grandparents ever apply for the Canadian (or any other) citizenship? If applicable, please explain in more detail when and by whom the application was submitted and whom of your ancestors was included.

11.

Did your or your parents or grandparents ever join the armed forces of any country other than Germany voluntarily?

12.

Have you or someone of your ancestors been adopted? If applicable, please provide us detailed information.

13.

If you were born in Germany on or after January 01, 2000: How long have your parents been living in Germany at the time of your birth?

Ap­pli­ca­tion for the es­tab­lish­ment of Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship

For ap­pli­cants liv­ing abroad, the Fed­er­al Of­fice of Ad­min­is­tra­tion in Cologne, Germany is the com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ty to deal with cit­i­zen­ship mat­ters. The Fed­er­al Of­fice of Ad­min­is­tra­tion (BVA) car­ries out spe­cif­ic pro­ce­dures to de­ter­mine whether or not ap­pli­cants are Ger­man cit­i­zens.

It as­cer­tains when and by what means you have be­come a Ger­man na­tion­al and whether or not you have lost your Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship. Many events in the ap­pli­cants’ and their an­ces­tors’ lives can be sig­nif­i­cant for the ac­qui­si­tion or loss of the Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship, in­clud­ing per­son­al and fam­i­ly events (e.g. birth, mar­riage, or adop­tion) and/or po­lit­i­cal, le­gal de­vel­op­ments (such as col­lec­tive nat­u­ral­iza­tions dur­ing World War II or the ac­qui­si­tion of a for­eign na­tion­al­i­ty).

Ap­pli­cants whose Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship has been es­tab­lished are is­sued a cer­tifi­cate of na­tion­al­i­ty. It can al­so be es­tab­lished that you are not a Ger­man cit­i­zen. In such cas­es, a so-called neg­a­tive cer­tifi­cate is is­sued.

Please note that the whole ap­pli­ca­tion pro­ce­dure must be con­duct­ed in Ger­man.

The German Consulate Toronto forwards the application to the BVA for processing. Communication from the BVA will usually be forwarded to the applicant by the German Consulate Toronto.

Application in person

at the German Consulate Toronto

Application by mail

to the German Consulate Toronto

Documents

- application form, filled out and signed with 1 copy

- all applicable Anlage V with 1 copy each

- relevant documents (Originals with 2 sets of copies)

- application form, filled out and signed with 1 copy

- Anlage V for every .... with 1 copy each

- 2 sets of copies of all relevant documents (one set copies certified by notary public, one set simple copies)

- cover letter with contact information

Please find the application forms on the right hand side of this page or directly on the website of the BVA.

Fees

Certificate of nationality: 25 EUR

Neg­a­tive cer­tifi­cate: 18 EUR

To be paid after the processing is completed.

Processing time

1-2 years, BVA may ask for additional information or documents at any point during the process

Please note that the German Consulate Toronto can not copy any of your documents.