How can a foreigner obtain Indian citizenship
Welcome to the website of the Federal Foreign Office
The new German Citizenship Act (StAG) has been in force since January 1, 2000, which fundamentally renewed the “Reich and Citizenship Act” (RuStAG) of January 1, 1914, which had been in force until then. The German nationality law has undergone numerous changes before and since, which are outlined below. Please read both the reasons for acquisition and reasons for loss.
Individual cases cannot always be clarified with this brief overview. For detailed questions, please consult our list of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about citizenship. If you cannot find what you are looking for there, please contact the German diplomatic mission responsible for your place of residence.
FAQ | Frequently asked questions from Germans in Indonesia about German citizenship law
For questions about German citizenship law, please take a look at our list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the subject.
German citizenship is generally acquired automatically by birth according to the principle of descent if at least one parent is German. As a rule, you can apply for a German passport or identity card for your child directly.
If only the father is German, paternity must be effectively established for the German legal area. This is either the case if the child was born during a marriage of the child's parents that is effective for the German legal community or if there is an effective acknowledgment of paternity.
For German citizens who were born abroad on or after January 1, 2000, the following applies: If their children are born abroad, they only acquire German citizenship if the parents notify the responsible German diplomatic mission within one year of the birth of the child.
No, if your child automatically acquired two nationalities at birth (German through descent), a later decision between the two nationalities is not necessary from a German point of view. Your child is therefore permanently a dual citizen. Under certain circumstances, however, the law of the other country may stipulate the need for options. Please contact the competent authorities in the other country.
The Indonesian Citizenship Act adheres to the principle of avoiding multiple citizenship and makes no distinction between automatic acquisition and application acquisition. Exception: If a child is born in wedlock, the mother's Indonesian citizenship is now acquired, even if the father is a foreigner, but must choose one of the nationalities (German or Indonesian citizenship) between its 18th and 21st birthday
If the option is in favor of Indonesian law, the Indonesian authorities usually require proof of the loss of the other (German) citizenship. In this case, the applicant should therefore submit an application to the competent German citizenship authority (in the case of habitual residence abroad, the Federal Administrative Office in Cologne) to waive German citizenship.
In the absence of bilateral agreements to the contrary, applying for Indonesian citizenship leads to the automatic loss of German citizenship in accordance with 3 25 StAG. It is not possible for the German authorities to issue a retention permit for Indonesia, as Indonesian law does not provide for dual citizenship.
If German citizens apply for naturalization in Indonesia, the Indonesian authorities require a certificate of the expected loss of German citizenship.
The Jakarta Embassy is not allowed to issue individual certificates of citizenship; this can only be done by the competent national citizenship authority (usually the Federal Office of Administration in Cologne). Therefore, the embassy can only issue a general certificate on the legal situation according to § 25 StAG.
If the Indonesian authorities issue a naturalization commitment at the end of the naturalization procedure and require proof of the loss of German citizenship, the applicant must apply for release from German citizenship in accordance with Section 18 of the StAG. The Jakarta Embassy will hand over the certificate of discharge issued by the Federal Office of Administration. The loss of German citizenship occurs when the certificate is handed over. However, Section 24 of the StAG must be observed, according to which the discharge is deemed not to have taken place if the person discharged has not acquired the foreign citizenship he has been guaranteed within one year of the issue of the certificate of discharge.
If the application for naturalization has been carried out by the Indonesian authorities without German authorities having been involved beforehand, the embassy will issue the applicant with a notification of the return of the passport upon presentation of the Indonesian naturalization documents and return of the German passport.
Naturalizations in the German state association are primarily intended for people who also have their habitual residence in Germany. In general, your partner has a right to naturalization after 3 years of legal residence in the Federal Republic of Germany under certain additional conditions. You must have been married for at least two years. For further advice, please contact the authority responsible for your place of residence in Germany.
If you and your partner are in Indonesia, naturalization is only possible under the requirements of Section 14 of the Citizenship Act. According to the experience of the Federal Foreign Office and the German diplomatic missions abroad, this is only possible - in addition to application requirements such as securing a livelihood and German language skills - if there is a particular public interest, whereby private interests are only considered subordinate. The mere existence of a marriage with a German citizen does not usually justify the assumption of a public interest.
In order to avoid unsuccessful but still chargeable naturalization applications from the outset, it is advisable to first submit an inquiry to the Federal Office of Administration as the competent nationality authority before submitting an application via the diplomatic mission abroad.
If your questions cannot be answered on our website, you will find further FAQs on citizenship law on the website of the Federal Foreign Office
Acquisition of German citizenship through descent
German citizenship law is basically based on the so-called descent principle. This means that German citizenship is usually not acquired because of the birth in Germany, but because of descent from a German parent.
There are the following reasons for acquiring German citizenship:
Children born in wedlock who were born between 01.01.1914 and 31.12.1963 could only acquire German citizenship through a German father.
Children born in wedlock to a German mother who were born between 01.01.1964 and 31.12.1974 only acquired German citizenship if they would otherwise have become stateless.
Since 01.01.1975 it has been possible to acquire German citizenship if one of the parents, i.e. father or mother, is German.
Children born abroad, whose German parent was born abroad after December 31, 1999, acquire German citizenship only if the entry of the birth in a German birth register is requested within one year. If the German parent was born before December 31, 1999 and / or in the federal territory, nothing changes in the automatic acquisition of German citizenship through descent.
Children born in wedlock to a German mother who were born after April 1, 1953 and before January 1, 1975 and already had a nationality, had the opportunity to submit a declaration that they wanted to obtain German citizenship. This declaration period finally expired on December 31, 1977.
Children born out of wedlock to a German mother have received German citizenship since 01.01.1914 through their mother.
Children born out of wedlock with a foreign mother and a German father have acquired German citizenship since July 1, 1993, provided that, among other things, a valid acknowledgment or determination of paternity has been made.
Children born out of wedlock to a German father who were born before July 1st, 1993 can acquire German citizenship by declaration, provided that all of the following requirements are met:
- There must be an effective recognition or determination of paternity according to German law.
- The child must have been legally resident in Germany for three years.
- The declaration must be submitted before the age of 23.
The declaration can therefore not be submitted abroad but only at the German place of residence. The process of establishing paternity must be initiated before the child has reached the age of 23.
Children born abroad, whose German parent was born abroad after December 31, 1999, only acquire German citizenship if within a year the entry of the birth in a German birth register is requested.
Since 01/01/2000, German citizenship can also be acquired by children of foreign parents who are born on the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The prerequisite is that at least one parent has been legally resident in Germany for at least eight years. If the child is born after August 28, 2007, at least one parent must also have an unlimited right of residence.
Children born before 01.01.2000 cannot acquire German citizenship retrospectively through this regulation.
Since January 1, 1977, German citizenship can also have been acquired through adoption by a German parent
For children who were adopted by a German parent between January 1, 1959 and December 31, 1976, there was the possibility, under certain conditions, of acquiring German citizenship by means of a declaration. The right of declaration expired on December 31, 1979.
“Legitimation” means the subsequent “marriage” of a child born out of wedlock.
This status change from illegitimate to legitimate child can be carried out through subsequent marriage, the prerequisite for this is that paternity has been effectively recognized or established and the marriage with the child's mother takes place. On the other hand, legitimation can be given by a decision of the Guardianship Court.
The acquisition of German citizenship through legitimation is basically based on the regulations that apply to legitimate children as explained above.
The possibility of acquiring German citizenship through legitimation existed from 01/01/1914 to 06/30/1998.
Foreign women who had married a German automatically acquired German citizenship between January 1, 1914 and March 31, 1953.
Special regulations applied to foreign women who married a German between April 1, 1953 and August 23, 1957.
In the case of marriage between 08/24/1957 and 12/31/1969, if the marriage was entered into at a German registry office, there was the possibility of acquiring German citizenship by declaring it to the registrar. If the marriage was not concluded in front of a German registrar or the declaration was not made, the foreign wife was entitled to naturalization as long as the marriage continued and the husband had German citizenship.
Since 01.01.1970, marrying a German is no longer an automatic reason for employment. Since then, spouses of German citizens can only under the general requirements of §14 StAG to be naturalized.
Naturalization in the German state association
Special regulations apply to those persecuted by the Nazi regime who were deprived of their German citizenship for political, racial or religious reasons between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945. These people and their descendants may be eligible for naturalization.
If you would like to have your case examined, please contact the Jakarta Embassy using the contact form. The diplomatic mission abroad will then contact you in order to examine your case and to inform you about the possibilities of re-naturalization and how to proceed.
Further information on this topic can be found in the leaflet of the Federal Office of Administration on naturalization entitlement according to Art. 116 (2) GG.
For all questions about naturalization from abroad, please contact the Federal Office of Administration in Cologne.
All information and application forms for determining German citizenship can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Administration in Cologne.
Retention of German citizenship
According to Section 25 of the Citizenship Act (StAG), a German who acquires foreign citizenship on application automatically loses his German citizenship unless he has received prior written approval to retain German citizenship (“retention permit”). Please note the information below.
Note: The automatic acquisition of a foreign citizenship without an application does not lead to the loss of German citizenship. Anyone who acquired a foreign nationality by birth and, at the same time, German nationality by descent from a German parent, has both nationalities without having to apply for a retention permit.
If you are naturalized in another country and want to retain German citizenship at the same time, you have the option of applying for a retention permit. The Federal Office of Administration in Cologne is responsible for issuing retention permits for Germans living abroad.
In the administrative procedure that follows, the applicant's private motives are also taken into account. Continuing ties to Germany and important reasons for acquiring the other nationality must be proven. As a rule, the retention permit is only issued if the citizenship of the country of residence is acquired.
If you have any questions in individual cases, please feel free to contact the responsible diplomatic mission or the Federal Office of Administration directly. General information and information sheets on the procedure, frequently asked questions and the application form can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Administration in Cologne.
Failure to acquire German citizenship if you were born abroad
Children acquire when they are born abroad, whose German parents or German parent born abroad after December 31, 1999 was (n) and to At the time of the child's birth, his / her habitual residence abroad have / does not have German citizenship by birth if they acquire foreign citizenship by birth (Section 4, Paragraph 4, Clause 1 in conjunction with Clause 3 of the Citizenship Act).
The child will only acquire German citizenship retrospectively at the time of its birth if the parents submit an application to the responsible registry office in Germany or the responsible German diplomatic mission in the birth register within one year of the child's birth.
Birth announcement form
Mr A is transferred to Spain from his company in 1999. His daughter Klara was born there on February 1st, 2000. The family returns to Germany after a few years. In 2018, Klara met a US citizen with whom she moved to the USA. Her son will be born there on January 1st, 2020. Although his mother is German, he does not acquire German citizenship by birth, as he acquires US citizenship by birth in the USA.
In order for the child to acquire German citizenship, Klara or the child's father must submit an application to the responsible registry office in Germany or the responsible German diplomatic mission abroad for the birth of their child to be certified. If the application is submitted on time and in full, the child can be issued a German passport upon application.
Information from the embassy on family matters
Please note: All Germans (expats and emigrants) who were born abroad and have a child abroad can be affected by this regulation, regardless of the reason and length of their stay abroad.
Loss of German citizenship
The German nationality law knows different reasons for loss, here you can find further information on the subject.
The most common reason for losing German citizenship is Acquisition of a foreign nationality on one's own application. The automatic acquisition of a foreign citizenship through birth, on the other hand, generally has no effect on German citizenship.
You can find detailed information on this on the website of the Federal Office of Administration in Cologne.
The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled on November 29, 2006 that the legal provisions on the loss of German citizenship in the event of legitimation by a foreigner are no longer applicable retrospectively from April 1, 1953. This means that illegitimate children of a German mother who were legitimized by a foreigner after March 31, 1953 have not lost their German citizenship.
Judgment of the Federal Administrative Court of Leipzig dated November 29, 2006
German women who married a foreigner before May 23, 1949 lost their German citizenship even if they became stateless. You may be able to be naturalized again. For further information, please contact the German Embassy Jakarta using the contact form.
German women who married a foreigner between May 23, 1949 and March 31, 1953 only lost their German citizenship if they did not become stateless as a result. Since April 1st, 1953, marrying a foreigner is no longer a reason for loss.
Since January 1, 1977, German citizenship can also be lost through the adoption of a German child by foreign parents. This means that children who were adopted by foreign nationals before this date have regularly not lost their German citizenship. For further information, please contact the German embassy using the contact form.
In principle, voluntary entry into foreign armed forces without the prior consent of the Federal Ministry of Defense constitutes a reason for loss of German citizenship. With the entry into force of the Defense Law Amendment Act on July 1, 2011, the procedure for certain countries was simplified.
Accordingly, the consent is now deemed to have been granted for persons who are also citizens of
- Member States of the European Union (EU),
- Member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA),
- Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or
- States on the list of countries according to Section 41 (1) of the Residence Ordinance (Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, United States of America)
own and join the armed forces of this country.
A German can renounce his German citizenship if he has several citizenships. The waiver becomes effective upon delivery of the waiver certificate. You can find more information on this at the link below.
If you live in Indonesia, have Indonesian (or another) citizenship in addition to German and would like to waive German citizenship for certain reasons, you must submit a waiver application to the Federal Office of Administration in Cologne. The application can be made at the Jakarta Embassy during the general opening hours of the Legal and Consular Section.
As the nationality authority for Germans living abroad, the Federal Office of Administration decides whether your application can be granted and, if necessary, issues a waiver certificate. The waiver becomes effective when the embassy issues the waiver certificate. Please read the information from the Federal Office of Administration before submitting your application. You can also download the application form there.
Permanent residence abroad for more than 10 years without the person having himself entered in the "consulate matriculation" (= register of Germans living in the respective district) at a German consulate led to the loss of German citizenship until 1914. This reason for loss is of decisive importance for you if your ancestor, from whom you wish to derive your German citizenship, emigrated before 1904. If this is the case, the ancestor automatically lost his German citizenship after 10 years of residence abroad and could consequently no longer pass it on to the next generation.
Special regulations apply to those persecuted by the Nazi regime who were deprived of their German citizenship for political, racial or religious reasons between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945. These persons and their descendants may have a right to naturalization according to Art. 116 II GG.
All information is based on knowledge at the time the text was written. However, no guarantee can be given for completeness and correctness, in particular due to changes that may have occurred in the meantime.
Further information on the subject of citizenship can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Administration and on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.
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