German Citizenship


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Approximately 45 million people in the United States claim German ancestry. German citizenship is usually forwarded from one generation to the next and many become aware of their German citizenship only after decades have passed. If you want to explore on your own German citizenship please read carefully the General Information on Obtaining and Losing German citizenship and on the Certificate of Citizenship.

The German Citizenship Act in the version of 1871-1914 stipulated that a German automatically lost his/her citizenship by residing outside of Germany for more than 10 years. As most immigrants from Germany were affected by this automatic loss of German citizenship, it is usually not possible to base a claim to German citizenship on ancestors who immigrated to the United States before 1904.

Rule of thumb: If you were born in Germany prior to January 1, 2000, neither of your parents was German at the time of your birth, nor did they apply for your German citizenship, then you are not German.

Please note: Since German language skills are a requirement for the following processes, only the German webpage has information on

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