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German Law/German passport if dad born citizen?


I am looking to apply for a German passport (is this different than citizenship).  My father was born a German citizen, and held a German passport.  His mother applied for US citizenship for him when he was 12.  This wasn't necessarily his own choice.  At the time of my birth, up until now, many relatives including my great-grandparents, aunts, and cousins all live in Germany and are/were citizens (part of the reason for my potential move there).  My mother is American.  

I am currently gathering documents and writing a letter to apply for a passport.  In all honesty, is this a lost cause?  Can you offer and insights/advice on the situation?

Thanks very much, your time is GREATLY appreciated.

Hello Tiffany,

in order to apply for a German passport you will need to be a German citizen. So you would need to apply for a citizenship certificate first.

You would have received German citizenship if at least one of your parents had German citizenship when you were born. Your father lost his German citizenship when his parents applied for him to receive US citizenship ( 25 I 1 StAG), so he could not pass it on to you at the time of your birth.

Because both your parents were only US citizens at the time of your birth, you cannot claim German citizenship by ancestry.

For more on German citizenship law, please have a look at my FAQ:

I assume that naturalization in Germany is not an option for you because you would be required to give up your US citizenship. It seems like the best way to go to Germany is either to travel for no more than 3 months (for which you need no visa) or to get a residence permit based on a job or on studying in Germany. Your large family network there will be able to help, as it will be easier to obtain a residence permit if they will for example agree to accommodate you.

Andreas Moser  

German Law

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Andreas Moser


Extensive experience in international family law, especially international child abductions and child custody cases. All other areas of German law as well: constitutional law, criminal law, business and contract law, immigration law, inheritance law, and so on.


Lawyer in Germany from 2002 to 2009. Lawyer for US Army JAG Corps before. Bar-certified specialisation in family law and in administrative law. Articles and lectures about international and domestic family law.


2000 Law Degree from University of Regensburg, Germany 2002 admitted to the bar (until 2009) 2013 MA Philosophy at the Open University, UK

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