What documents are required for citizenship

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In the procedure for issuing a citizenship card, it is determined whether the applicants are already German citizens. The competent nationality authority for Germans living abroad is the Federal Administration Office (BVA) in Cologne. The diplomatic missions abroad cannot legally determine whether they are German citizens. A German identity card / passport is not proof of German citizenship.

The most common reason for acquiring German citizenship is descent from German ancestors. Many events in the life of the applicant and his ancestors can be significant for the acquisition and loss of German citizenship. These can be family events (e.g. birth or marriage) and political or legal developments (e.g. collective naturalization during World War II or the acquisition of a foreign nationality).

In the determination procedure, German citizenship must be substantiated by means of appropriate documents (civil status documents, proof of residence, etc.). The ancestry up to an ancestor born in 1914 or before must be proven. If the test is positive, a citizenship card will be issued.

Important NOTE:

Before applying, please read the information listed below on the acquisition and loss of German citizenship and your diplomatic mission abroad will advise you on whether an assessment procedure is required. Please fill out the following questionnaire:

Citizenship Questionnaire PDF / 67 KB

Consulate finder // Acquisition of German citizenship // Loss of German citizenship

If your diplomatic mission abroad has recommended that you carry out an assessment procedure, please familiarize yourself with the information sheet from the Federal Office of Administration on documents and instructions for completing your application and submit your application as follows:

  • Completed and signed application (Form F) in the original (+ 1 copy)
  • Completed annex (Form V) for each generation of ancestors up to an ancestor born in 1914 or earlier in the original and as a copy
  • Please fill out the application form in German
  • Documents: one sentence each as certified and simple copies
  • Translations: Job advertisements, divorce judgments and custody agreements must be submitted in a certified translation. The Federal Office of Administration reserves the right, if necessary, to request additional documents in translated form.

  • Documents not from Germany or the USA: please ask your diplomatic mission abroad whether an apostille / legalization is required.

Further information and the application form can be found here.

Procedural issues (processing times, formal requirements, deadlines, etc.)