How foreign-born Americans claim citizenship
Welcome to the website of the Federal Foreign Office
What is the nationality of our child?
As a child of at least one German parent, your child automatically acquired German citizenship at birth. Further steps to register or confirm German citizenship are not required. By being born in the USA, your child acquired American citizenship in addition to German. A later decision between his two nationalities is not required. Your child will therefore have both nationalities on a permanent basis.
Please also note the regulations of Section 4 (4) of the German Citizenship Act (StAG)
We as parents are not married to each other, what special features do we have to consider?
In the USA, if a child is born to an unmarried mother, the father's name is only entered on the birth certificate if the father acknowledges his paternity in writing in the "acknowledgment of paternity" and the mother uses the same form to give her consent Has declared acknowledgment of paternity in writing. The “acknowledgment of paternity” form is usually presented to the child's parents for inspection and signature in the hospital immediately after the birth.
The hospital will forward the original of this certificate of paternity to the responsible American registry office. This then issues a birth certificate that contains the mother's name and, based on the acknowledgment of paternity, also the father's name.
To apply for a German identity document or a German birth certificate, you need both the American birth certificate and a certified copy of the "acknowledgment of paternity" form you have filled out.
Please note that the child only receives German citizenship from his or her German father once the father has effectively recognized his or her paternity. However, this does not automatically mean that the father has joint custody of the child's mother if the child is habitually resident in the USA.
If the child's parents are not married, most states generally assign sole custody to the mother first. Fathers who also want to claim custody usually have to bring about a court decision ("custody order“).
What should be considered with the first name (s) of our child?
In principle, the first names recorded in the submitted birth certificate are entered in the German birth register. If the spelling in the US birth certificate does not correspond to your wishes (e.g. entry of Bjorn instead of Björn), you can usually change the spelling in the German birth certificate.
Please note, however, that there are exceptions here as well: Names that are not first names in nature (e.g. Richard II; use of a family name as a first name) are not registrable. The first name should also clearly show the child's gender.
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