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Registration of a child's birth

23.10.2020 - Article

If a German citizen is born abroad, the birth may be registered upon request at the competent Registrar’s Office (“Standesamt”) in Germany and a German birth certificate will be issued.

Photo of a laughing baby
Photo of a laughing baby © www.colourbox.com

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:

Notification of Birth

Which documents do we have to complete?

Download the application form here:

Application Form

Please print out the application form and complete it carefully. Do not use block capital letters because this could result in deviated spelling.

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 both parents are 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 than German, the naming law of the country of citizenship of that particular 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 the different name declaration options for a child please click here:

Name Declaration for a child born abroad

How do we have to submit the application?

The Registrar’s Office in Germany that was the last place of residency of the child is responsible for processing the application. If the child has never taken up residency in Germany, then the last place of German residence of one parent. If neither the child nor the parents ever resided in Germany, the Registrar’s Office in Berlin is the appropriate office for processing the birth registration.

The German Consular Missions in the U.S. however do not process the applications, but only forward them, upon request, to the appropriate Registrar’s Office in Germany. You however also have the option to send your application directly to the appropriate Registrar’s Office. This would not be to your disadvantage. It sometimes leads to a quicker processing of the applications. 

If you wish to submit your application through a German Consular Mission, both parents that have custody need to be present during the appointment, since both of their signatures on the form must be notarized. If your child is already 14 years old or older, the child also must be present and sign the form.

What documents do we need?

If you would like to directly submit the application to the Registrar’s Office in Germany, please send in one completed application form, including the documents mentioned below as notarized copies or in the original. Copies may be notarized by the German Consular Mission or a Notary Public, see information leaflet.

If you would like to submit your application through the German Consular Mission, please present two completed application forms as well as the documents mentioned below as notarized copies (plus one set of simple copies), or in the original (plus 2 sets of simple copies):

  • U.S. American birth certificate (if the birth certificate only states the county as place of birth, either a “proof of birth letter” with the town of birth, issued by the hospital must be presented, or a “long-form” of the birth certificate)
  • marriage certificate of the parents (issued by the “Registrar/Clerk of the Court”)
  • passports of both parents; for non-U.S. citizens residence permit (visa or Green Card)
  • birth certificates of both parents
  • if child was born out of wedlock , acknowledgement of paternity as well
  • in case of dual citizenship, U.S. Naturalization Certificate and “Beibehaltungsgenehmigung”
  • if applicable, German  naturalization certificate or “Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis”
  • if applicable, divorce decree or death certificate
  • if applicable, deregistration (“Abmeldebescheinigung”) from Germany

The Registrar’s Offices in Germany have the right to request apostilles and translations of all foreign documents. It is up to the discretion of the competent Registrar’s Office whether the documents are accepted with or without an apostille and translation.

Based on the experiences of the German Missions in the U.S., depending on the individual Registrar’s Office, the requirements for the documents that have to be submitted vary considerably. This applies to how the documents are being certified (notarized by a U.S. Notary Public or a German Consular Officer), as well as to what kind of documents need to be presented (certified copies or originals/with or without an apostille/with or without a translation into German). In order to expedite the processing of your application, we recommend that you contact the appropriate Registrar’s Office in Germany prior to submitting your application. This would also include inquiring about the possibility of sending the documents directly to the Registrar’s Office without involving the German Missions.

What is the fee for registering the birth?

During your appointment at the Embassy, you initially only pay the fee for notarizing your signature(s) and for notarizing the copies of the supporting documents. You may pay the fee in cash in US-Dollars at the current exchange rate or with credit card (Visa or Mastercard, the amount will be charged in Euros):

notarization of the signature(s) on the application form

25.00 EUR

notarization of the copies of the required supporting documents, up to 10 copies

each additional copy

10.00 EUR

1.00 EUR

The fees for registering the birth as well as for issuing the birth certificate(s) are set by the individual German Federal State and may therefore vary. In most cases, the following fees are charged. This is however only a guideline:

Registering the birth in the records (regardless of the outcome of the processing)

Additional fees, if foreign naming law is applied

80.00 EUR

80.00 EUR

Issuing the birth certificate

For each additional birth certificate that is ordered

12.00 EUR

6.00 EUR

The fees cannot be paid at the German Consular Mission, but must be settled with the respective Registrar’s Office. The Registrar’s Office will send you a payment request after it received your 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.

Which German Consular Mission serves my U.S. home state?

To find out which of the nine German Consular Missions in the U.S. serves your U.S. home state, which is the correct mailing address or whether you need to schedule an appointment to submit the application in person, please use our interactive consulate finder

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