German nationality law

German nationality law details the conditions by which an individual holds German nationality. The primary law governing these requirements is the Nationality Act, which came into force on 1 January 1914.

Nationality Act
CitationRGBl at 583, revised as BGBl III at 102-1
Territorial extentGermany
Enacted by13th Reichstag
Enacted22 July 1913[1]
Commenced1 January 1914[2]
Administered byFederal Office of Administration[3]
Related legislation
Reich Citizenship Law
Federal Expellee Law
Status: Amended

Germany is a member state of the European Union (EU) and all German nationals are EU citizens. They have automatic and permanent permission to live and work in any EU or European Economic Area (EEA) country and may vote in elections to the European Parliament.

Any person born to a married German parent is typically a German national at birth, regardless of the place of birth. Children of unmarried couples in which only the father is German must be legitimised for them to acquire German nationality. Individuals born in Germany to two foreign parents may also receive German nationality at birth if at least one of their parents has lived in the country for eight years and is entitled to live in the country indefinitely (meaning any person with a settlement permit, or citizenship of another EU country or Switzerland).

Foreign nationals may naturalise after residing in Germany for at least eight years and demonstrating knowledge in the German language. Although non-EU/Swiss naturalisation candidates are expected to renounce their previous nationalities, the majority are granted permission to retain their old statuses.

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