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Dual nationality for children German / British

(28 Posts)
karin6651 Wed 05-Dec-12 12:10:52

I've got a question regarding dual citizenship for my children and I was hoping to find some advice here on how to go about it.
Both of my children (10 and 8) were born in the UK and have always lived here. I am German and have lived in the UK for the past 13 years. Their father is English and we are not married, but are living together. The children have German passports / nationality, but I would like them to have dual citizenship. I have read that they have an automatic right to be registered as British citizens. Do I have to apply for this? I'm also not sure how it would work - I believe Germany does not allow dual citizenship, so I'm worried that they would automatically lose their German citizenship if the application is approved.
If anybody is in a similar situation and has some advice, I'd be very grateful!

Lebkuchenlover Wed 05-Dec-12 13:59:53

Hi Karin, we are in a very similar position and our children have dual German/British citizenship (they actually have a third one too!) and Germany definately allows dual citizenship nowadays, especially if the children have aquired it from birth. Regarding the British citizenship, I'm not too sure but anyone living in the UK for more than 5 years can apply for it (and their children then get it too - this is how our kids got the British citizenship).

noramum Wed 05-Dec-12 14:41:20

If the dad is English it shouldn't be a problem as long as he is registered on their birth certificates. You may want to check with the passport application hotline what is required if the parents aren't married.

My DD has both nationalities automatically despite having only German parents and we didn't apply for British nationality ourselves. But this is a fairly new thing, I think children born before 2006 don't count (as colleagues found out to their dismay).

We had to provide tons of documentation about us being in the UK for at least 5 years, in permanent employment, paying taxes and NI and being committed to stay by having a mortgage and savings.

WidowWadman Wed 05-Dec-12 22:34:04

I'm German, my husband is English, but we weren't married when #1 was born. Both children have only British passports at the moment, because the treck to London for a German passport is too long/expensive for me to justify. Sooner or later I'll get them the German passports, too.

All you need to do is get a passport application form, the "extended" birth certificate (the one that isn't free, but costs a few quid), passport picture someone of professional standing who's known you for more than 2 years and holds a UK passport to witness the photograph is actually the child you say it is, and then send it off.

natation Thu 06-Dec-12 21:01:18

Your children will be British citizens automatically if their dad's name appears on their birth certificates and he is a British citizen. Apply for British passport.

Your children will be British citizens if you were settled already in the UK for X number (sorry can't remember how many X is, at a guess 3) and they were born in the UK and you had German nationality at the time EVEN IF their dad's name does not appear on their birth certificates. Apply for British passport.

So the chances are your children were British citizens from the second they were born and German too.

Chislemum Tue 08-Jan-13 20:40:49

Yes, they are both from birth. WidowWadman's advice is spot on.

gabsid Thu 24-Jan-13 11:45:32

We are in the same position, dad's name is on the children's birth certificate. For DS (born 2005) we planned to apply for 2 passports. There was no problem with the German passport as I (the mother) am German.

The British passport seemed a real hussle, we were told that I needed a stamp (something about that I am allowed to stay in the UK), which I tried to get but didn't need ... in the end they would have charged us £400 for the passport - we left it in the end.

With DD (born 2008) we just applied for a German passport, although I heard it is easier now to apply for a British one as well.

I don't think I am much help to you, however, in the next 10-15 years all they need their passport for is to travel on holiday, so really a second passport would just be a bit of cardboard in the drawer. But when they are older there may be benefits to having a British passport, e.g. to apply for a working holiday visa in Commenwealth countries, e.g. Australia.

MrsHuxtable Tue 29-Jan-13 20:18:01

Oh, I'm vey interested in this.

I'm German, DH is Scottish, we live in Scotland and DD was born here. She only has a British passport but I'd like her to have a German one as well. From what i've read here, this shouldn't be a problem, right?

I'm wondering though whether she can keep both nationalities indefinitely or whether she has to pick on after she's 18? Does anyone know?

MmeLindor Tue 29-Jan-13 20:39:18

I know that we our DC were born, the rule was that they had to pick a nationality at 18yo. As far as I know, they don't actually know that our DC have a British passport - we have never told them anyway - so I don't see how they would be able to tell them to give their German one back.

I was hoping that they would change this rule at some point.

We are German / Scottish too, and recently moved back to Scotland.

natation Thu 31-Jan-13 20:43:19

Mrs H, from what you have written, your DD was British at birth, she can never choose not to be, unless she renounces her British citizenship. Current cost of renouncing her nationality would be £229. A lack of a British passport DOES NOT mean you are not or no longer a British citizen, you don't need a British passport as a British citizen.

If there is a German nationality rule that at 18 years old for example, a child with German and OTHER nationality must choose and German is chosen, it means having to pay the renunciation of British nationality fee. I have no ideas at all about German nationality rules, only British ones. There are no such rules regarding British citizenship.

Gabsid, I take it you are German and living in the UK and that your child was born in the UK too? It's complicated with a child born of an EEA national in 2005 and in the UK. If you or dad were given indefinite leave before birth, your DS would have been a British citizen automatically at birth and you apply for a British passport directly if you wish and pay the £46 if applying inside the UK. If you or dad didn't have indefinite leave before birth in 2005, you can then "register" DS as a British citizen if you register registered for indefinite leave (but if here 5 years after 29.4.2006 requirement for the EEA parent to get indefinite leave was lifted and after 5 years residence it became automatic). But as you say you left, I assume left the UK? Oh I'm not sure then, if you made it to 5 years in the UK before leaving and it was from 30.4.2006, I think you keep your permanent residence for life, even if you leave the UK, so you might be able to still "register" your DS as a British citizen. Well if you mean you didn't leave the UK and are still here, then no complication about leaving the UK! As for your DD born in 2008, well if born in the UK to you or dad being 5 years or more previously living in the UK too, your DD will automatically be a British citizen, whether wanted or not, again having a British passport does not confer British citizenship, it's the circumstances which do. Yes a British passport can be handy for a working holiday in Oz or Canada etc.

Chislemum Mon 11-Feb-13 13:55:52

MrsH - child is both: British and German and BOTH by birth. As long as the UK stays within the EU your child does not have to decide between German and UK passport, I checked this with German embassy earlier this year.

spica Wed 13-Mar-13 18:51:42

Can confirm what Chislemum wrote - children can have both nationalities and do not need to choose once they are 18 - mine have both and in both cases it was fairly straightforward to organise, though I probably had it a bit easier as I did the British right after birth and the German passport afterwards.

doradoo Mon 07-Jul-14 15:59:26

As I am having trouble renewing my DCs British passports from Germany - the thought of whether we can have dual UK/DE nationality has crossed my mind - for ease of documentation and travel etc.

Does anyone have any knowledge / experience of the system the other way round?

We are all British and have lived in Germany since 2008 - DC3 was born here and has a DE birth certificate. I think we have to have lived here 8 years - but not sure if we have to renounce the British citizenship first.

Anybody been through this too?

Claudia1204 Wed 21-Jan-15 10:47:15

Hi there, i wonder if anyone can help me get on the right track, i am a german citizen and have been living in the uk for the last 15 years now, my oldest daughter has ben born in germany but has got her british dad on the german birth certifcate, then i i also got twins, born in the uk with british birth certificate and their dads name on it, we arent married, but they not allowed to have a british passport, hence why i had to get them a german passport with my surname which i thnk is wrong, is there any way i can apply for a british passport for them and british citizenship? Any help would be appreciated as i am pulling my hairs out :-( Thanks in advance

VioletWillow Wed 21-Jan-15 11:57:24

Hi Claudia, why have you been barred from getting a Bbritish passport for the twins? I am British and my partner is German, our daughter has a British passport and British birth certificate, as long as one parent is British you can apply if I recall, it was only a few months ago but I've been sleep deprived!
If you have a British birth certificate the children are British, the children who are born in Germany can also be British but it's a different process. I hope someone more knowledgeable comes along soon smile

Claudia1204 Wed 21-Jan-15 12:58:02

Hi willow, thanks for your reply, because we arent married so i been told by the british passport office i would have to get a german pssport, apparently because we arent married the children could only apply for a german passport, saying this, it was 8 years ago when i requested a british passport

noramum Thu 22-Jan-15 21:31:11

You should not have any problems, my friend's first DS got both nationalities despite his parents weren't married at that time. For his German passport he has the dad's surname as it is on his British birthcertificate, not his mother's name.

I think you may need to get a lawyer involved specialist in this sector if you run against a brick wall.

DD is born by two German parents at a time where we were already living in the UK for 7 years. She has British nationality as well, by default, we didn't had to apply for it. We just qualified as EU members, with work and "being settled" (saving accounts, mortgage, not out of the country apart from work trips and holidays). I am puzzled that your twins have problems.

YaelSmith Sun 24-Apr-16 18:54:50

Hi, not sure I will get a response... I'm a German citizen, already have another, non-EEA nationality. I'm worried about what happens if the referendum to leave the EU is positive, and the UK pulls out. I'm married to a British citizen, though now separated. I've lived here for 13 years and had 2 children in 2004 and 2006. Is a permanent residence card any use and should/could I apply for British citizenship by naturalisation? Any advice greatly appreciated.

spekulatius Wed 27-Apr-16 22:44:27

YealSmith, I also worry about that abs I'm going to get my right to live in the UK confirmed on passport. Can't think what it's called, similar to indefinite leave, a sticker that you can apply for after 5 years.

Chrissi74 Sat 30-Apr-16 23:15:33

After some advice please. I am german lived in UK for 17years. Have a 6month old, dad is british. He applied for her passport as thought was easier for her to have british passport. We have since separated and he has no contact with her. He now wants her passport back as he says its legally his. Where do I stand? Can I just apply for a german one? Any advice greatly appriciated. Thanks

spekulatius Tue 03-May-16 12:47:31

Chrissi, your child is legally entitled to both nationalities. Because you are German she is automatically also german, doesn't matter about her dad. And because you have because you have been living and working in the UK for more than 5 years she is automatically an uk citizen therefore entitled to a British passport. Doesn't matter what her father is. My husband is African but because I've worked in England for more than 5 years both our daughters have got British passports. You apply online, print it off and send it together with certified photos, birth certificate, your passport, council tax bills and P60 for the last 5 years. For the German one both parents and child have to go to embassy and sign in person if you are married. Depends if he will do that for you. Was will er denn mit ihrem passport? Steht im passport drin dass das Eigentum der Regierung oder so ist. Geht ihm nicht. Würde ich ihm nicht geben.

Archfarchnad Tue 03-May-16 13:03:23

Yael, the simple answer is that nobody knows what will happen. You'd hope that if a Brexit happened some sort of reciprocal agreement would be passed whereby EU citizens get to stay in the UK in return for UK citizens having special rights to remain and work in the rest of the EU; otherwise there'd be THOUSANDS of UK citizens forced to return to the UK where they'd probably be unemployed, and the UK would lose a lot of EU skilled workers. But who knows in practice how things would pan out. And precisely those of us who are most affected are the ones who can't vote.

'Chrissi', Spekulatius is right (besides having a cracking username); you're entitled to a German passport for your baby AND the British passport is not your ex's property - it belongs to the state and is to be kept with your child as the named party, and held by you as the child's carer. Viel Glück damit!

Augustina123 Fri 06-May-16 12:36:05

Hi all,

Not sure whether this is the right thread - I'm looking for experiences from other users when travelling with children with dual nationality and different surname.

My partner (British citizen) and I (German citizen) are expecting our first child any time soon. Due to us not being married and planning to give the child the father's surname, there seems to be all sorts of paperwork involved in getting our baby a German passport as we'll have to make a name declaration at the German Consulate first. It all seems way more complicated and time-consuming than sending off for his British passport (which we're going to do anyway, too).

We're planning for me and the baby to go and visit family in Germany once he's a few months old, and with all the paperwork involved in getting him a German passport, I'm not sure we'll have it in time for the trip. We should definitely have his British passport by then though. This means that baby would be travelling on a British passport while I would be using my German one.

My question is: have any of you experience in travelling with a child who has a different surname and nationality to yours? I'm a bit worried I might run into problems at border control xiting either country as we won't have any official paperwork stating that my child is, in fact, my child... Easy enough to get my partner to give us a letter of some sort saying that he's happy for baby to travel with me, but not sure that would have any clout...

PacificDogwod Fri 06-May-16 12:44:08

Hi, Augustina - you are best starting your own thread about this rather than reviving an old one smile
I know other internet fora work differently, but there you go.

I have been in your situation and I have to say the rules, or rather the enforcement of the rules, have been tightened since I had DS1 13 years ago (I used to just travel with my German passport and his British one with 2 different names in them).
Now, I'd advise you to take his birth certificate or at least a copy of the birth certificate with you so you can prove that you are his mother. They may still question whether you have the right to take him out of the country….

I have in the meantime changed my name to a double-barrelled version of my maiden and married names which I only every use in my passport and purely for the purpose of having a bit of my name that is the same as my children's'.

I agree the faff of having to make a declaration of change and change of passport and not allowing dual nationality is all just somewhat ridiculous, but it is what it is.

You should see the paperwork we generate when my parents (German) want to take my children (British, with UK passports) to Spain without either parent grinhmmgrin

Archfarchnad Thu 12-May-16 18:48:44

Hi Augustina, just a quick answer in case you've opened another thread elsewhere, but we've travelled frequently between the UK and Germany with the kids over the last 18 years or so. I mostly travel with the kids, we share a surname but usually travel on different passports (me on a UK passport, them on Irish passports). We've never had a problem at either end. A few years back was the first time DH had to travel with them without me - he has the same passport (Irish) but a different surname, and because it was an emergency situation I wasn't able to sign a piece of paper giving my permission for him to travel (and he couldn't find the birth certs in time). At the German passport control travelling to the UK the border guard said laconically 'Sie fahren dann wohl mit den Kindern des Nachbarn, wa'? (Berliner), but fortunately didn't ask for any proof of their relationship. However since then DH has always carried their birth certs with him where he's mentioned as the father. So that's definitely the wisest precaution when you have a different surname.

If you wanted to do the letter stating that your partner has given permission to travel, at the German end it should be a handwritten statement in English and German, signed, dated, and place name, on the same page as a photocopy of his passport which he has signed over, plus a contact phone number - this is what we did when DD1 travelled with a friend's family without us.

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