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United States Diplomatic Mission to Germany
II. Basic Primer on German Citizenship Law
1. A person can become a German citizen in one of three ways: by
birth, by adoption as a minor, or by naturalization.
2. A person may be born a German citizen by either jus sanguinis,
i.e., through descent from his/her parents, or jus soli, i.e., through
place of birth.
c. "Those born in Germany to non-German parents before February 2,
1990, have no claim to German citizenship under this law."
Center for Immigration Studies
"36. "In July 1999, The Citizenship Law Reform Act was published in
the German official gazette. This act entered into force on January 1,
2000. Under the new law, German citizenship has always been and will
continue to be passed on by parents to the children. Any child of a
German national (mother or father, married or not married) will be
considered a German citizen by birth, whether born inside or outside
Germany. The Reform Act introduces an aspect of ?Äūterritorial
acquisition?: any child born inside Germany to parents of foreign
nationality will acquire German nationality by birth if at least one
parent has been lawfully resident in Germany for at least eight years
and has for at least three years been the holder of a certain higher
form of residence permit. This new provision will apply to most
children of migrant workers who have been living in Germany for at
least eight years. Those children, however, once they have grown up
will have to decide between keeping German citizenship and renouncing
their other citizenship (i.e. that of their parents) or keeping the
foreign nationality and losing the German nationality. Under the
existing German Citizenship Law (which in this respect corresponds to
that of many other countries) German nationals lose their German
citizenship if and when they acquire a foreign nationality upon their
own application, i.e. by naturalization."
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