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German Law/Adoption / Citizenship Question


Hi Andreas,

Hope you're well!  I came across your site while researching German citizenship on the web.  While I've looked at many questions, I haven't seen too many related to adoptions of German children by American parents.

- My mother was born in 1954 (in Aichach, Germany) to a German mother and foreign father.  
- In 1958, she was adopted by my American grandparents who were stationed in Germany at the time.  
- They moved back to the states in 1959.  
- Around 1960, my grandparents sought naturalization papers for my mother which came through in 1961.  

I wanted to see if my sister and I were eligible for German citizenship based on my mother's birth in Germany.  I feel like the answer is no, but I read a few sites that mentioned the rules are sometimes different in cases of adoption.

At any rate, never hurts to ask!


Dear Brianna,

the first question is if your mother was ever German in the first place. That depends on whether her parents were married.

If her parents were married, your mother did not receive German citizenship because prior to 1975, only German fathers could pass on German citizenship in these cases.

Birth in Germany did not provide German citizenship before 2000, and even since then only in certain cases.

Only if your mother's parents were not married at the time of her birth did she gain German citizenship from her mother. Once we know that, we'll take it from there, but I hope it's OK if I don't go through all the other steps which might be irrelevant.

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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