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Acknowledgement of Paternity

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If a child is born to parents that are not married, paternity can be acknowledged by the father.

When is a German Acknowledgement of Paternity necessary?

Vater mit Kindern
Vaterschaftsanerkennung   © picture-alliance/ dpa

It is necessary to acknowledge paternity according to German law if

  • The child is born or will be born out of wedlock and the father will not be entered into the South African unabridged birth certificate, or
  • If the child is born or will be born out of wedlock in Germany and the father cannot come to the German registrar's office in person to acknowledge paternity.

An acknowledgement of paternity can be declared at the Embassy in Pretoria or the Consulate General in Cape Town. It can be declared before the birth of the child. The acknowledgement of paternity requires the consent of the mother; her consent may either be given at the same time as the acknowledgement of paternity, or separately. A joint custody agreement can be declared together with the acknowledgement of paternity if required.

What Must I Do?

In order for the consular officer to prepare the notarization of the acknowledgement of paternity, the following documents must be sent by email to info@pretoria.diplo.de or info@kapstadt.diplo.de respectively:

  1. Birth certificate of the child or
  2. In case of prenatal acknowledgement of paternity a medical certificate confirming the pregnancy and the estimated due date
  3. Birth certificates of both parents 
  4. Proof of marital status of the mother
  5. Passports of the parents
  6. In case of previous marriages: marriage certificates and divorce orders of previous marriages
    Note: If the mother was previously married, her divorce must be valid in Germany, see here

Note: South African birth and marriage certificates must always be submitted in the unabridged (full) form! 

Not all possible cases and scenarios can be represented here. Further documentation might be necessary depending on the individual case.

In addition, the following information is required:

  1. Full address of both parents (in South Africa and/or Germany)
  2. citizenships of the parents
  3. marital status of the parents (single/married/divorced/widowed)

The acknowledgement of paternity will be drawn up in the German language. If either parent does not speak German, the content will be orally translated into English by the consular officer. You may bring your own interpretor or ask for a written translation, the costs of which would have to be born by you.

Notarization of an acknowledgement of paternity is free of charge. If a joint custody agreement is to be notarized at the same time, a fee is charged.

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