Citizenship ID

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The citizenship card of the Federal Republic of Germany is an official document that documents the possession of the German citizenship at the time of issue with documentary evidential value. Such an identity card is a binding proof of citizenship, unless it can be proven by other documents with the same legal force (e.g. birth certificate , civil status register ). The legal basis is the Nationality Act (StAG). The card is not to be confused with the certificate of naturalization for the acquisition of German citizenship by the administrative act of naturalization certified.

Of Bavarian national authorities, the designation is partly " certificate of citizenship " is used. In the Citizenship Act, this designation is used as a generic term for the citizenship certificate and the naturalization certificate.


Contrary to popular belief, the German nationality mark on a German identity card or passport is not a reliable proof of German nationality, but rather suggests the legal presumption that the card holder is a German citizen. Such identification documents can therefore only serve as a refutable credible proof of possession of German citizenship. Belief is understood to mean a reduced standard of proof for which the presentation of a predominant probability is sufficient without formal evidence having to be provided.

In German citizenship law, other documents are therefore required as proof, which are listed in detail in the Citizenship Act:

  • The birth certificate is in over 85% of cases the actual document to prove German citizenship.
  • Official declarations regulate further cases (important case: the certificate for the adoption of a child ).

It is only necessary to issue this ID in case of doubt. However, its issuance or submission is binding for all German authorities.


Citizenship certificate of the Federal Republic of Germany

The nationality card is issued to German citizens on application and after examination, if doubts could arise and these have not been cleared by other documents (e.g. birth certificate), by the competent nationality authority (the registry office or the local immigration authority usually acts as such ). The administrations act in order management for the federal government. People with residence abroad submit their application for a citizenship card to the German diplomatic mission responsible for them, which forwards the application to the Federal Office of Administration (BVA) in Cologne , which is the only competent authority for applicants with residence abroad. The processing fee for a citizenship card is 25  euros in accordance with Section 3 Paragraph 1 No. 3 of the Citizenship Fee Ordinance (StAGebV).

For the issuance of a nationality card, there are therefore higher demands on the evidence, as it is used to issue a passport or identity card. Due to the German nationality law, which is characterized by the principle of descent (ius sanguinis) , German nationality was mainly determined in the past by conjugal (later also illegitimate) birth and thus by descent from the father, but possibly also from the mother and her ancestors (depending on the Time of birth). It is therefore regularly necessary to provide evidence that the parents and forefathers of the person concerned who are decisive for passing on German citizenship were actually German citizens. For this purpose, old documents (primarily the birth, parentage and marriage certificates, but also naturalization certificates, home certificates, work books , Aryan certificates , pay books ( Wehrmacht ID), ID cards, etc.), passports and IDs of the applicant and the ancestors and - if available - to bring documents issued for them in Germany such as certificates or the family register . In addition, the whereabouts of the persons concerned from birth to death or up to the present must also be listed and, if necessary, supported by documents or evidence.

In order to issue a citizenship card, the citizenship authority usually checks whether the applicant or his ancestors have been treated as German citizens by German authorities since January 1, 1950. If doubts arise in individual cases, the citizenship-relevant data and living conditions of the relevant persons are checked, possibly also up to the time before the First World War . Details are regulated in the general administrative regulation on citizenship law ( StAR-VwV ).

The duration of the granting procedure therefore varies greatly from person to person, depending on the personal origins and residence conditions and those of the relevant ancestors as well as the type and scope of the evidence provided when the application was submitted. If the applicant cannot contribute much to the evidence, the nationality authority has to investigate ex officio and write to authorities and archives, which can considerably extend the duration of the procedure.

Samples of the citizenship certificates can be found in the annexes to the General Administrative Regulation on Documents in Citizenship Matters ( StAUrkVwV ).


Until the amendment to the Nationality Act on August 28, 2007, citizenship cards were issued for a limited period of ten years. If necessary, a new ID had to be applied for, whereby the existence of an expired ID was an indication of the renewed determination of nationality. Since the change, the ID has been issued without a time limit. Open-ended ID cards can be requested by submitting a copy of the expired application.

However, a citizenship card issued for an unlimited period does not mean that German citizenship can no longer be taken after the card has been issued. The same reasons for a loss of German citizenship (according to § 17 StAG) apply to them as apply to citizens born in Germany: They are, for example, dismissal ( § 18 StAG), acquisition of a foreign citizenship ( § 25 StAG), waiver ( § 26 StAG) or joining the armed forces or a comparable armed association of a foreign state ( § 28 StAG). The StAR-VwV regulates further details .


The citizenship certificate can generally be requested if the relevant legal consequences are linked by law to a person's German citizenship, i.e. these only apply if the person can be proven to be a German citizen. In some federal states, for example, it is required for appointment as a civil servant (if birth certificates or similar are not presented), which, however, is not a general practice in Germany; Usually civil servants are granted solely on the basis of a passport or identity card with a note of German citizenship.

In addition, the document also serves as proof of German citizenship for persons with dual citizenship to foreign authorities that are requested to be released from the foreign citizenship.

The nationality card is not a proof of identity in the sense of an identity document (passport, identity card, temporary passport, temporary identity card, children's passport, etc.). It can therefore not be used for travel or as a substitute for ID, but only serves the purpose of unequivocal proof of German citizenship.

The most frequent use at the moment is in the so-called Reichsbürgerszene , where citizenship of the Federal Republic of Germany is disputed and instead they hope for advantages with this “yellow certificate”. Citizenship certificates are therefore only issued, as planned from the beginning, if the nationality is actually unclear or is doubted by the authorities (e.g. Potsdam Administrative Court ), since in the majority of cases the birth certificate or an official document appropriate to it is sufficient Proof is.

Nationality Register - Register EStA

Since 2007, the Federal Office of Administration has been using the data from the certificates of citizenship that have already been issued to rebuild a nationwide register of citizenship, known as the Register for “Decisions in Citizenship Matters” (EStA). The basis is Section 33 of the Citizenship Act in the version valid from November 1, 2016.

Citizenship cards of other countries

In Austria the corresponding document is called Proof of Citizenship , in Switzerland Proof of Citizenship .

In English-speaking countries, such documents are usually called Certificate of Citizenship or similar.

In Poland , citizenship can be confirmed in the form of an administrative decision ( Decyzja ) by the voivod (district president) in case of doubt or if citizenship is based on a distant parentage .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. § 30  StAG
  2. ^ Bavarian State Ministry of the Interior, for Building and Transport : Certificate of Citizenship; Exhibition. In: BayernPortal ( Retrieved May 5, 2016 .
  3. § 33  StAG
  4. ↑ Apply for a citizenship card in Munich. State capital Munich , accessed on November 20, 2014 .
  5. Proof (citizenship certificates) ( Memento from March 17, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  6. ↑ Issuance of a citizenship card. City of Erlangen, accessed on August 17, 2018 .
  7. BVA: Why is the validity of my citizenship card limited (to ten years)? In: Retrieved May 5, 2016 .
  8. Jochen Eichner: Significantly more citizenship cards: "Reich Citizens" activities are increasing , Bayerischer Rundfunk ( May 15, 2017. Archived from the original on April 23, 2018. 
  9. openJur eV: VG Potsdam, judgment of March 14, 2016 - Az. VG 8 K 4832/15. Retrieved April 21, 2017 .
  10. BVA: Register EStA - decisions on citizenship matters
  11. Federal Ministry of the Interior: Proof of Citizenship. Retrieved on January 7, 2019 (in the official guide of the Austrian Federal Chancellery).
  12. ^ City of Zurich: Proof of citizenship for Swiss citizens. Retrieved January 7, 2019 .