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German Law/German citizenship/residence permit having a German Father


QUESTION: Hi Andreas,

First of all I really hold in high regard your work, dedication, and quality of your answers. I also admire your passion for knowing new cultures by moving to different countries. Going back to this, I read all the posted questions, but couldn't find one related to my case.

I was born in 1989 in a Latin American country in the Caribbean (Dominican Republic). My father is German (born in 1930), and never gave up his citizenship. My mother is citizen from the Dominican Republic (so do I). They never got married, and in fact they don't live together since I'm 4 years old. My father lives in Germany, and I can speak German too (not perfect though). I visited Germany for the first time this year.

Q: can I still get the German citizenship or at least a temporal/permanent residence permit so I can work there?

I'm a professional and finished all my studies since high school until my Masters (in London) with first class honours, if that helps.

Thanks in advance for your answer.

ANSWER: Hello Karl,

thank you very much for your kind words! I am actually going to move to Latin America at the end of this year and will then travel around South and Central America for a few years, and I might also visit the Dominican Republic.

Because your parents weren't married, 4 I 2 StAG (the German Citizenship Act) requires that your paternity was officially acknowledged by your father or by a court order before you turned 23 years old. i.e. before the year 2012. The information on the birth certificate is not enough.
Do you know if your father or your parents ever signed any such document or went through a legal proceeding to have is paternity established?

If you didn't get citizenship this way, there is no other easy way to citizenship or a residence permit. But of course you are free to apply for it like everyone else, and your education may help you, as will your German language skills.

Do you have British citizenship? If/once you have that, you are of course free to move to Germany anytime and live there without any need for a visa or a residence permit:

Andreas Moser

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QUESTION: Hi Andreas,

I'm not sure if my parents ever signed such a document, but will find it out on my best opportunity. I also have two brothers living in Germany, saying that, do you think family reunion would work in order to get a residence permit?

Sadly I don't have the British citizenship, I came to England for education matters.

Thank you very much for your fast answer. I'm sure you'll like Latin America.

Family reunion in Germany is only possible through parents (if you are a minor) or through a spouse. Siblings are not enough.

If your father never officially acknowledged paternity, then a student via for Germany is probably the easiest way. You already speak some German, there are no tuition fees, and after 6-8 years (or 3 years if you get married) you can apply for naturalization.

All the best!
Andreas Moser

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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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