Congratulations on getting through your pregnancy and birth in Berlin! Once you’ve registered the birth of your lovely new arrival and you have the birth certificate in your hot little hands, your next bureaucratic move will probably be determining her citizenship. Or if she’s extra lucky, citizenships.
Though your little bundle of joy will most likely inherit your and your partner’s citizenships by descent, he might not necessarily get German citizenship just because he was born in Germany. Then again, he might. Here are some situations where your baby could be eligible for German citizenship:
- Your baby’s mother is a German citizen. Cha-ching! No further action required.
- Your baby’s father is German and is either married to baby-mama, or has acknowledged paternity (or his paternity has been legally established by a court).
- Neither parent is German but your baby was born in Germany and one of his parents has been in Germany for at least 8 years and this parent is entitled to permanent residency. All this at the point of time at which your baby is born.
- Your baby is adopted by a German citizen before he turns 18.
If your situation fits into one of the above categories, your baby is probably eligible for German citizenship. You’ll probably get a letter from the Standesamt after your baby’s birth has been registered, letting you know that she’s eligible for German citizenship. This usually happens automatically.
What’s the Deal with Dual Citizenship?
This is a hot topic, and the amendment (the Second Act Amending the Nationality Act) was adopted on 20th December, 2014 – not so long ago!
- If one of your baby’s parents is German and your baby had two nationalities, obtained by descent from the moment she was born, she won’t have to decide between them when she’s older. As far as Germany is concerned, she is a dual citizen for life. Unless of course, some other country dictates that she must choose.
- If your baby gets German citizenship because one of his two foreign parents has been in Germany for at least 8 years and has the right to permanent residency, he will have to choose between is German citizenship and his other citizenship somewhere between the age of 18 and 23.
Don’t be too disappointed though, there is one beautiful exception:
If your baby then grows up in Germany, she won’t be obligated to choose one nationality when she’s an adult.
So what does it mean, “to grow up in Germany”?
- She’s lived in Germany for at least eight years
- She went to school in Germany for at least six years
- She completed her schooling or vocational training in Germany
Where’s the Piece of Paper?
You can get a cute little child’s German passport called a Kinderreisepass for your baby, though it’s not always suitable for travel to some countries, e.g. USA and Australia. You can also get a proper German Reisepass that’s suitable for all international travel. You can apply for both at your local Bürgeramt and they’re quite affordable. If you’ve got the right documents, the Kinderreisepass can be issued on the spot.
A passport is usually enough to prove your baby’s nationality, but the unquestionable official document is a pretty yellow piece of paper known as a Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis (citizenship certificate). If you need or want one of these for any particular reason, the Berlin public office responsible for the application is the Staatsangehörigkeitsbehörde, and a certificate costs around 25 EUR.