German Canadian Dual Citizenship by Birth
Enlarge image (© dpa / picture alliance) While the German rules on citizenship are based on the principle of avoiding dual citizenship, this principle does not apply to children who receive dual citizenship through descent from their parents (e.g. a German mother and a Canadian father). Also, children born in Canada to one or more parent(s) who hold the German citizenship at the time of the birth of the child may be dual citizens by law. From a German legal perspective, children who have held two (or sometimes more) citizenships from the time of their birth for the above described reasons will not have to decide for either of the citizenships when they turn 18.
As an example:
German citizens Daniela und Peter came to Canada in 1995. Their son Justin was born in Toronto 1998. Daniela and Peter were both permanent residents in Canada when Justin was born. Justin received the German nationality through descent from German parents, and the Canadian citizenship through birth on Canadian territory. He will remain German-Canadian citizen for life, unless he (or his parental guardian(s), while he is still a minor) decides to actively change his citizenship.
Please be advised that German nationals who hold dual citizenship will automatically lose their German citizenship when they voluntarily enter the armed forces of a country of their citizenship other than Germany without the necessary permission from the competent German authority. For German-Canadians the permission is deemed granted since July 6, 2011, therefore, no permission is required, when a German-Canadian joined the armed Canadian forces after that date.
New Rules for German parents who were born outside of Germany after December 31st, 1999
The German Law on Nationality states that children who were born outside of Germany to one or more German parent(s) who themselves were also born abroad on or after January 1st, 2000, will no longer automatically acquire the German citizenship through the sole principle of descent from a German parent. Exceptions apply if the child would otherwise be stateless or if the German parent(s) will register(s) the birth with the competent German mission abroad within one year of the birth of the child (Sect. 4, 4 of the German Nationality Act).
Important: Only persons born outside of Germany on or after January 1st, 2000, will have to register their children with the competent German mission abroad if the children are also born outside of Germany and if the parents wish they (also) hold German citizenship.
If you are a German parent born before January 1st, 2000, and your child was born outside of Germany after this date, you do not have to register your child with a German Consulate or Embassy. The above mentioned rule might however become important to your grandchildren.
As an example: Lesley and Dieter are a Canadian German couple. Lesley is a Canadian citizen, while her partner Dieter is a German from Buxtehude, Germany. Their daughter Sofia was born in Toronto on February 23rd, 2002. Sofia automatically received the German citizenship through her German father. In order for Sophia to pass on the German citizenship to her baby boy Kevin, who will be born in Toronto on May 20, 2021, she will have to register the child with the German Consulate in Toronto by May 19th, 2022.