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.
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
- The Retention Permit to keep German citizenship when naturalizing in the US (Beibehaltungsgenehmigung)
- Naturalization after having lost German citizenship due to naturalizing elsewhere without prior Retention Permit
- Naturalization for children born in wedlock before 1975 to a German mother and foreign father and children born out of wedlock before 1993 to a German father and foreign mother
- Negative Clearance of German citizenship