Germany-Flag-256Since 1914, a child born illegitimately to a German mother would acquire German citizenship at birth.

If the child was born illegitimately with only a German father, however, he or she would not have a claim for German citizenship if born prior to July 1993. The claim would only appear once the child was legitimated.

Legitimation occurred when his/her parents’ married before July 1998 and the father proved and/or accepted the child to be his own.

If these requirements had not been met, the child can now apply for facilitated naturalisation by living in Germany for three years and proving the paternity, as long as he/her has not turned 23 yet.

Since 28th March 2013, the German authorities have also allowed people who are living abroad, who lost out on German citizenship because of their illegitimacy, to be qualify for discretionary naturalisation.

The requirement is that the illegitimate father either:

  • was a German citizen at the moment of the child’s birth
  • had a claim to reinstate German Citizenship which was lost

and that the paternity was proven or established before the child turned 23.

Since July 1993, a child illegitimately born from a German father will be a German citizen as long as he proves paternity.

This is a complex area and the simple summary above is not comprehensive. If you were born from a German mother or father and your parents were unmarried, contact us to see whether options are available for you to claim for German citizenship.


To discuss an assessment of your claim to German citizenship, call +44 (0) 20 3695 5383 or complete the Contact Us form on the right