Applying for determination of German citizenship (Feststellung der deutschen Staatsangehörigkeit) by ancestry is normally done, by individuals not living in Germany, through their local consulate, who forwards the application to the German "Federal Office of Administration" (Bundesverwaltungsamt, BVA).

The BVA's website says: "The BVA is the competent authority with respect to naturalization as a German national and the establishment of German citizenship for people living abroad."

Unfortunately the application processing time when applying through a consulate/the BVA is currently quoted as 2-3 years.

It is also possible to apply for determination of citizenship at local offices in each German city. I suspect this option requires one to be a registered resident of the corresponding city/district. Is that true?


Is it feasible, as someone who does not currently live in Germany, to apply via one of the local offices? What would be required?

What is the processing time when applying through a local office? Is it the same 2-3 years as via the BVA? Or is it much shorter?

1 Answer 1


When living outside Germany an application should be made at the local consulate that is responsible for your area. It can be made directly to the Bundesverwaltungsamt, but not to the local reponsible authority (Staatsangehörigkeitsbehörde) in Germany (which in Berlin would be the city district of permanent residence).

No, the time needed for the application will not be swifter since

  • the consulate will send the application to the responsible authority for processing

The consulate will do an initial check to advise you if making a application is needed.

They will also advise what specific documentation is needed based on the local nationality laws of the country your parents (possibly) became citizens of. The consulate will then know, based on the submitted documents. The goal is to insure that everything needed is complete before passing the application on to the next stage.

Then the application will be sent on to the responsible authority in Germany (Bundesverwaltungsamt), from where any needed contact to a local authority or archives will be made. Often this will be where your parents (ancestor) were last registered.

There, in most cases they are looking for confirmation that they were citizens at the time of emigration.

If the information is available online (application of passport), then the confirmation process may be swift. If the material needed has to be searched for in older archives, then the 2-3 years meantioned may be needed.

The link below shows information from the German embassy in the United States.

You are advised to look at the German Embassy site from the country you are applying from, since the required information needed may differ based on your present citizenship or situation.


  • I was under the impression that the consulate would send the application to the BVG in Cologne. This is the first time I've heard that the application will be sent to the local office where my ancestor was registered. Nov 27, 2019 at 0:22
  • @KarlWilhem Yes, indeed, you are right. The Bundesverwaltungsamt is the responsible Staatsangehörigkeitsbehörde for persons not permanently resident in Germany. Text has been adapted. Nov 27, 2019 at 9:24

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