You can apply for determination of German citizenship in order to obtain a certificate of citizenship. The certificate confirms and proves that you have been a German citizen, for example because you obtained citizenship by birth and that you have not lost it since.
IMPORTANT: The Nationality Act requires that you prove a legitimate interest in obtaining a certificate of citizenship. In general such an interest will only be assumed if a German or foreign authority requests an official proof about you being a German citizen.
By receiving a German certificate of citizenship you do not become a German citizen - instead, a certificate of citizenship confirms that you have been a German citizen all along.
“Am I German?”
You are looking for information on whether you might be a German citizen, for example because you have a German ancestor? Or do you want to know what chances of success your application would have? Read here
How Do I Apply?
Germans living abroad must apply to the “Bundesverwaltungsamt” (Federal Office of Administration) in Cologne, however, you can submit your application at your German Mission abroad.
- Read the information sheet carefully
- Compile the required documents as per the information sheet. If you lack any of the documents, you must apply for them at the issuing authorites, read here. Note that all South African birth and marriage certificates must be in the unabridged/full form.
- Fully complete all German forms
The English forms are a courtesy translations for your convenience, only, and are not to be submitted.
- Contact your German Mission for an appointment. In light of increasing interest, there will be longer waiting times.
- Bring all documents in the original with 2 simple (non-certified) copies. Incomplete applications cannot be submitted.
Your application will be forwarded to the Bundesverwaltungsamt for processing.
Information concerning data protection with regard to the processing of your application can be found here.
How Long Does it Take?
Processing time at the Bundesverwaltungsamt is currently up to three years. The German Mission cannot influence the processing times. Emails asking the German Mission for status updates will not be answered during this time.
The fee for a certificate of citizenship is 51,- Euro. Payment is due once your application has been approved and is to be paid by you directly to the Bundesverwaltungsamt. The service provided by the German Mission is free of charge.
In case your application is rejected, the fee amounts to 25,- to 51,- Euro.