Registration of a child's birth
Enlarge image (© dpa / picture-alliance) If a German citizen is born abroad, the birth may, on application, be documented in the register of births at the competent registrar’s office (“Standesamt”) in Germany and a German birth certificates can be issued.
Effective November 1, 2017, there is a change in German law concerning the jurisdiction of registrar's offices for the registration of birth and further family matters. To read more, please click chere:
In general there is no deadline for registering the birth, however, there is an exception for children of parents, who were born abroad after December 31, 1999. For further information, please click here:
What do I need to fill out?
Download the Application Form here:
Please print out the application form and complete it carefully (do not use block capital letters because this could result in deviating spellings!).
In German law a child whose parents are married at the time of the child’s birth and who bear a married name (“Ehename”) will obtain the parents’ married name as birth name. In cases where the parents are married, but do not have the same married name, or when the parents are not married and another name as the mother’s last name is desired as the child’s last name, the parents will have to make a name declaration as part of the birth registration.
The name declaration is included in the application form for the birth registration on page 4. If the parents are both German nationals, only German law can be chosen for the name usage (first box on page 4 - Sections 1617/1617b of the German Civil Code). If one of the two parents has a different nationality, then the law of the country of citizenship of that parent can also be chosen instead (third box on page 4 - Art. 10 (3) of the Introductory Act to the German Civil Code). For general information on name declaration for a child, please click here:
What documents do I need?
In addition to the completed application form, the following documents have to be submitted as certified copies with one set of simple copies:
- US birth certificate of the child
- if the place of birth has been mentioned as a county only, please additionally add a “proof of birth letter” issued by the hospital
- marriage certificate of the parents (the registrar’s office I in Berlin needs the marriage certificate issued by the registrar/clerk of the court)
- passports of the parents; for Non-US citizens proof of legal status in the US (visa or Green Card)
- birth certificates of the mother and father
- if child was born out of wedlock, additionally proof of an acknowledgement of paternity
- in case of dual citizenship, U.S. Naturalization Certificate with "Beibehaltungsgenehmigung"
- if applicable, German Naturalization Certificate or “Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis”
- if applicable, divorce decree or death certificate
- if applicable, deregistration from Germany („Abmeldebescheinigung”)
If the documents to be submitted are not in German or English, a translation must additionally be submitted. Further documents may be required on an individual basis.
What does it cost?
The signatures of both parents must be certified, if a name declaration for the child is necessary. The certification of signatures can be done either by a notary public or at the competent German mission if both parents are present. The fee for the signature certification at the German missions is € 25.00 and can be paid in cash at the daily exchange rate in U.S. dollars or by credit card in euros (Visa or Mastercard only).
The registrar’s office in Germany requires the submission of certified photocopies of the supporting documents. Copies may be certified by a notary public. Please ensure that the notary public him-/herself states on the document that the copy corresponds with the original (certified true copy). Alternatively, the copies may also be certified for a fee of € 10.00 at the German missions, if the documents are submitted in original with two sets of copies. The fee can be paid in cash at the daily exchange rate in U.S. dollars or by credit card in euros (Visa or Mastercard only).
Once the application is complete, it is forwarded to the competent registrar’s office in Germany, where it will be processed.
Enlarge image (© picture-alliance/chromorange) The fees for the recording of a birth and the issuance of the requested birth certificates are set by each individual German state and therefore can vary. In most cases, the following fees apply:
The basic fee for recording the birth in the birth register is € 60.00. This amount increases by € 20.00 if foreign law must be observed. The current fees for a birth certificate are € 10.00, for every additional copy of the same document which is ordered at the same time, the fee is € 5.00. These fees do not have to be paid with the German mission abroad wher the application is submitted but has to be transferred to the registrar's office at a later point of time. The registrar's office will forward the necessary account information upon receipt of the application.
How long will it take to receive the birth certificate?
The processing times depends on the registrar's office in charge and varies significantly from city to city.
Given the ever increasing numbers of applications, please be advised that processing at the Registrar’s Office I in Berlin takes at least three years. If a name declaration is necessary, the last name of the child is confirmed separately by the Registrar’s Office I in Berlin, which usually takes two to three months. Once the last name has been confirmed a German passport can be issued.
Where do I have to go?
To find out which of the nine German missions in the US is responsible for you, the correct mailing address or whether you need an appointment to personally submit the application, please use our interactive consulate finder.