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Citizenship by Declaration

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The majority of children born to a German mother before 01.01.1975 did not become German automatically, but could become German by declaration later.

Who?

Before 01.01.1975, children born in wedlock could not derive German citizenship through their mothers. That meant that those children only became German if their fathers were also German citizens. The law was changed by 01.01.1975 and since then, either parent must be German in order for children born in wedlock to be German by birth.

At the same time, an offer was made to children of German mothers who were born before 31.12.1974 and who had thus not become German citizens. They could declare their willingness to be German - the deadline was 3 years.

How Was the Declaration Given?

The German Missions sent ample information to the German community in South Africa and gave the necessary notice for example to the German churches, German schools, companies and launched adds in South African newspapers. The declaration could be given until 1978 and those that did so were given a certificate of declaration. This certificate is the basis of their German citizenship and still serves as proof.

Missed the Deadline?

The option to declare existed for 3 years, meaning that it was possible to do so until 1978. Whoever missed this deadline could not declare later and can also no longer do so today. There is a remote possibility of applying for naturalisation, among others however, the requirements include close links to Germany and fluency in the German language.

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