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German Law/German Passport



I first of all want to say that you seem to be one of the most helpful and knowledgable people on the internet about German law.

Here goes my question:

My father was born in Germany, to German parents.
He left Germany when he was about 19 years old.
He gave up citizenship around 1969, but definitely before I was born.

Given the fact that my sibling qualifies for a German passport as he was born before my father gave up citizenship also adding the fact that my Father's side of the family all still reside in Germany and are German citizens would there be any way for me to apply for a German passport as well?

From what I have read on the internet it seems unlikely.

Kind regards

Hello Heinrich,

thank you for your compliment!

As your father gave up German citizenship before your birth, he couldn't pass it on to you.

So your only chance of obtaining German citizenship would be to apply for naturalization. There is a theoretical chance to do so while living abroad ( 14 StAG - more on this under no. 8 of these FAQ: ). But this naturalization is only granted by discretion, so you need to present an overwhelming case. The minimum requirement is fluency in German and then you need to show very close ties to Germany, e.g. working for a German company, studying German literature, regular business activities in Germany or similar things. Basically, you would need to show that despite living in South Africa, you are closer connected to Germany than to  South Africa.

As you said, these hurdles are very high and without meeting all the requirements, it's unlikely to succeed. Unfortunately.

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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