The Fourth Act Amending the Nationality Act, which entered into force on 20 August 2021, has created a ten-year right of declaration (Section 5 of the Nationality Act), granting children born to a German parent after 23 May 1949 (entry into force of the Basic Law) who, under the version of the Reich and Nationality Act valid at the time of their birth, were excluded in a gender-discriminating manner from acquiring German citizenship by descent at birth have the option of obtaining German citizenship by making a simple declaration to the competent citizenship authority. The option of acquisition by declaration also applies to their descendants.
The group of persons affected includes
- children born after 23 May 1949 to a German parent who did not acquire German nationality by birth (children born in wedlock prior to 1 January 1975 to a German mother and a foreign father or children born out of wedlock prior to 1 July 1993 to a German father and a foreign mother),
- children born after 23 May 1949 to a mother who lost her German citizenship through marriage to a foreigner pursuant to Section 17 (6) of the Reich and Nationality Act (old version) before the birth of the child prior to 1 April 1953,
- children born after 23 May 1949 who lost their German nationality acquired by birth through legitimisation effected by a foreigner and valid under German law pursuant to Section 17 (5) of the Reich and Nationality Act (old version) prior to 1 April 1953, and
- descendants of the children in paragraphs 1 to 3.
Persons who are habitually resident abroad can submit the declaration directly to the Federal Office of Administration or to their competent mission abroad. It will take effect upon receipt by the competent nationality authority (i.e. the Federal Office of Administration in the case of persons resident abroad) if all other conditions are fulfilled.
Detailed information on acquisition by declaration and the relevant forms can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Administration
Declaration on acquisition of German citizenship (in German with English translation)
Annex to the declaration on acquisition of German citizenship (in German with English translation)