I. General Rules
- Both the United States and Germany recognize the concept of multiple nationality (Read more about German law on dual/multiple citizenship).
- A child born to a U.S. citizen parent and a German parent acquires both U.S. and German citizenship at birth, regardless of place of birth, if the parents satisfy the jus soli or jus sanguinis requirements of their respective countries. Neither country requires a person born under these circumstances to choose between U.S. and German citizenship, i.e., he/she may keep both citizenships his/her entire life.
- Under German law, a person may not have more than one citizenship unless he/she was born with both. There are, however, exceptions in special hardship situations.
- While Germany recognizes the concept of dual nationality, for most purposes it considers a dual national in Germany a German citizen only. Thus, the ability of the U.S. embassy and consulates to provide assistance to a U.S.– German dual national in Germany may be limited. The reverse is true in the United States, where such a person is considered only a U.S. citizen for most purposes, and where the German embassy or consulates may only be able to offer limited assistance.
- U.S. citizens have a right under U.S. law to renounce their U.S. citizenship in an embassy or consulate abroad. For more information on loss of U.S. citizenship, please read this information and contact U.S. Consulate General in Frankurt.
II. The Responsibilities of Citizenship
Along with the rights and privileges of a citizenship come certain responsibilities. For example:
- All U.S.- German dual nationals must enter the United States with a valid U.S. passport; to enter with only a German passport or Kinderausweis is a violation of U.S. law.
- Depending on the laws in effect, level of income, source of income, etc., a U.S.- German dual national may owe taxes in both countries. All dual nationals must report all worldwide income by filing an annual U.S. income tax return, regardless of whether they owe taxes to the U.S. or pay taxes elsewhere. For more information about taxes, please contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or your local German tax office.
- Almost all male U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, who are between the ages of 18-25, are required to register with Selective Service. Registering with the Selective Service System, however, has no effect on German citizenship.
Please also read the information on the State Department’s travel website on dual nationality
Last Updated: October 29, 2020