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How children of foreign parents can acquire German nationality

German nationality is based on the principle of parentage, meaning that a child automatically obtains German nationality at birth if at least one of the parents is German.


Germany also applies the principle of birthplace. Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) says that under this rule, a child of foreign parents automatically obtains German nationality if born in Germany, and one of the parents has lived legally in the country for at least eight years and held a settlement permit or an indefinite residence title at the time of the birth.

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It is possible for children of foreign parents who have acquired German citizenship by birth to have German nationality in addition to the nationality of their parents. The prerequisite is that they grew up in Germany.

According to the law, BAMF explains, a person grew up in Germany if, by the time they turn 21, they: have lived in Germany for eight years, or have attended a school in Germany for six years, or have completed their schooling or vocational training in Germany.