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Applying for a citizenship card

You can apply for a declaration of the existence of your German nationality if there is a justified interest in doing so.

A declaratory interest exists, for example, if

  • German authorities or courts, after their own examination of existing evidence (e.g. German identity papers or birth certificates), require you to have any remaining doubts about your German citizenship clarified by the citizenship authority, or
  • In exceptional cases, you must provide proof of your German citizenship with a special document despite presenting a valid German proof of identity (e.g. passport or identity card) to German or foreign authorities or courts.

If, at your request, the citizenship authority determines that you have German citizenship, you will receive a special certificate (citizenship card).

Process flow

  • You must apply to the competent citizenship authority for the determination of the existence of German citizenship and the issuance of a citizenship certificate.
  • If necessary, personal advice from the citizenship authority may be required.
  • For your application, please use the application form provided for download by the citizenship authority or sent to you on request.
  • Submit the completed application form with all documents (see "Required documents") in legible copies (on white paper, DIN A4) to the citizenship authority.
  • Upon receipt of the application documents, the citizenship authority will contact you. Before that, you don't need to do anything else.
  • In the course of the procedure, the citizenship authority will ask you to submit the original documents for verification; You will then receive the documents back immediately.

Who should I contact?

The competent nationality authority at the place of habitual residence of the applicant is responsible for processing the application. In Lower Saxony, these are the districts, independent cities and large independent cities.


  • You have German citizenship or at least suspect it (for example, because you have German ancestors).
  • They usually reside in Germany.
  • You must demonstrate a legitimate interest in the finding. Such an interest is credible if you state certain facts which make it predominantly probable to the nationality authority that the determination of the existence of German citizenship is useful for a purpose worthy of protection (for example, because a German public body has doubts about your German nationality and expressly requires the presentation of a citizenship certificate).

Which documents are required?

  • Completed application form
  • Proof of identity (foreign passport, recognised foreign passport replacement document or other official foreign identity document with photo, such as an identity card or identity card)
  • Proof that German citizenship was in any case once possessed and, if necessary, is still possessed today:
    • German identity documents (e.g. passport, children's identity card, identity card),
    • naturalisation certificates,
    • certificates or documents attesting to the acquisition of German citizenship by declaration or option,
    • Certificates of ethnic German repatriation,
    • displaced persons' identity cards,
    • registration forms,
    • refugee identity cards,
    • citizenship certificates,
    • certificates of origin,
    • documents or identity cards concerning legal status as Germans or Germans or
    • documents relating to membership of the group of persons covered by collective naturalisation (e.g. proof of - former - national law, citizenship or residence in the territories concerned, certificates of renunciation of the right of renunciation).

What are the fees?

The fee for the declaratory decision is EUR 51


For reasons of equity or public interest, fee reductions or exemptions may be granted where appropriate.

There are no additional costs for issuing the citizenship card.

For special shipping options (e.g. registered mail or cash on delivery), additional cost-covering expenses will be charged.

A citizenship certificate will only be sent if the declaratory fee and any expenses have been paid in advance or if cash on delivery is desired.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

The nationality card is issued for an indefinite period.

Processing duration

The duration of the application processing depends, among other things, on the factual accuracy of your information and the completeness of your application documents. Moreover, it depends on what possibly difficult facts must be identified in order to be able to make the requested finding. Depending on this, it may take a few weeks or more than a year to make a final decision on your application.

Applications / forms

Personal appearance required: Yes

What else should I know?

  • Citizenship certificates are only issued if this is necessary to prove German citizenship with German or foreign public authorities or is at least specifically useful in individual cases (for example, for a civil servant or adoption). If the existence of German citizenship is not doubtful, applications for a declaration will in principle not be granted.
  • The nationality card is not proof of identity. It cannot be used for travel or as a substitute for identity cards.
  • As a rule, you do not need a citizenship certificate to prove that you have German citizenship. In principle, it is sufficient that they present a valid German passport or a valid German identity card. You should therefore only apply for a citizenship card if you have been requested to do so in text form by an official body.

Technically approved by

Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and Sport


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)