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Migration and integration Naturalization Article 2017.03.17 Obli­ga­tion to choose one cit­i­zen­ship

New rules on the obligation to choose one citizenship went into effect on 20 December 2014.

German citizenship acquired through birth in Germany

Since 2000, children born in Germany to foreign parents acquire German citizenship at birth in addition to the foreign citizenship of their parents, on the principle of jus soli (Latin for "right of the territory"). At least one of their parents must have been a legal resident of Germany for at least eight years and must have a permanent right of residence at the time of the child's birth.

Now only jus soli Germans who grow up abroad are required to choose one citizenship

Under the previous law, all children born in Germany to foreign parents and who acquire German citizenship at birth ("jus soli Germans") were required to choose between their German citizenship and that of their parents by their 21st birthday (Optionspflicht). Under the new law, the Second Act Amending the Nationality Act (Zweites Gesetz zur Änderung des Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetzes, Federal Law Gazette I, p. 1714), however, effective 20 December 2014 those jus soli Germans who grow up in Germany or whose foreign citizenship is that of an EU member state or Switzerland may keep both their German and their foreign citizenship.

The new rules intended to accommodate the special situation of children whose parents are foreigners but who grow up in Germany with more than one citizenship.

Under the new law, such persons are considered to have grown up in Germany if, by their 21st birthday, they

  • have lived in Germany as their place of usual residence for at least eight years,
  • attended school in Germany for at least six years, or
  • completed school or occupational training in Germany.

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