Determining German citizenship
German citizenship is mainly acquired and passed on through descent from a German parent. The parent had to be a German citizen at the time of the child's birth. Children born to former German citizens do not acquire the German citizenship.
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 at the time of the child's birth 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.
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 Namibia 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 issued only to German citizens. To determine whether or not you might be eligible for a German passport, research in your family history may be necessary.
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 process must be conducted in German.
The German Embassy Windhoek forwards the application to the BVA for processing. Communication from the BVA will usually be forwarded to the applicant by the German Embassy Windhoek.
Usually, applications for establishment of the German citizenship are very complex and need many supporting documents. To make sure that you have all documents with you when you come to the Embassy or send it, we recommend to contact the Consular Section beforehand and present your case via e-mail: Contact the German Embassy Windhoek
To hand in the complete application with all documents, please arrange an appointment online: Online appoinement system (nationality issues)
Please submit the following:
- Application form, filled out and signed with 1 copy ( Please find the form at the bottom of this page or directly on the website of the Federal Office for Administration)
- Appendix V for every relevant ancestor with 1 copy each
Originals and 2 sets of copies of all relevant documents to prove applicant's identity and family relationship to the German citizen in the family:
- valid passport of the applicant
- birth certificate of the applicant
- birth certificates of the applicant's parents
- marriage certificate of the applicant's parents
- former German passports and other documents of the applicant, applicant's parents and grandparents, that prove their German citizenship
- naturalization or citizenship certificates (“Einbürgerungsurkunde/Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis”) of the applicant, applicant's parents and grandparents
All documents written in a language other than German have to be accompanied by an official translation.
The fee for a certificate of nationality is 25 EUR, the fee for a negative certificate is 18 EUR. It is to be paid after the processing is completed.
The processing time is in average 1 to 2 years. Please understand, that due to the complexity of the matter, BVA may ask for additional information or documents at any point during the process.
At a glance: downloads and links
All documents are as well available at the website of the Federal Office for Administration (in German language):
Application form for identification of German citizenship (in German language) PDF / 268 KB
Translation aid: Application form for identification of German citizenship PDF / 36 KB
Appendix V to the application for identification of German citizenship: ancestors (in German language) PDF / 470 KB
Translation aid: Appendix V to the application form for identification of German citizenship (ancestors) PDF / 20 KB
Application for Identification of German citizenship for children up to 16 (in German language) PDF / 426 KB
Translation aid: Application for identification of German citizenship (children up to 16) PDF / 36 KB
Information leaflet on the identification of German citizenship PDF / 274 KB
Information on data protection from the website of the Federal Office of Administration (in German language) PDF / 123 KB
Power of Attorney (in German language) PDF / 97 KB
To submit your application for establishment of the German citizenship in person, please arrange an appointment: Online appointment system (nationality issues)
The online appointment system works optimal on the browsers Internet Explorer and Firefox.
Usually, applications for establishment of the German citizenship are very complex and need many supporting documents. To make sure that you have all documents with you when you come to the Embassy, we recommend to contact the Consular Section beforehand and present your case via e-mail: Contact the German Embassy Windhoek