Obtaining German Citizenship under Article 116 #germany

Richard Oppenheimer

A number of you have recently asked questions about obtaining German Citizenship under Article 116. I have just completed the process and received my German citizenship Certificate on May 14, 2021. I started the process in April of 2019. I did everything by myself without the assistance of an attorney. Both of my parents were born in Germany, I was born in the US. I live in Florida, so I contacted the German Embassy in Miami. You must use the Embassy that has jurisdiction of where you live. I was able to obtain birth records of both my parents through the local archives in Germany. Both of my parents are deceased. Additional documents such as proof of my parent’s residency in US, my parents’ marriage certificate, my birth certificate, and my parent’s naturalization certificates for US Citizenship rounded out the documentation needed to apply. I was also asked to provide birth information of all four grandparents. I was told the entire process should take between 18 and 24 months. I mailed all of the documents, which needed to be notarized (in the US) to the Embassy in Miami. Miami mailed the package to Germany for processing. No tests of German history or German language skills were given. The German embassy in Miami reviewed all of my documents prior to sending them to Germany. The Miami embassy asked for a few more details, but once they reviewed it, no one came back to me for more information.

Last week, exactly 22 months since I started the process, I was notified to come to the Embassy in person to pick up my Naturalization Certificate and simultaneously apply for a German passport. This must be done in person. The passport should be mailed to me 6 weeks after submitting the application. I looked at the German Embassy website today, and the process now is estimated to take between 24 and 36 months.

I hope this answers many of your questions. Feel free to email me directly if you have any more questions.



Richard Oppenheimer

Venice Florida


Richard Oppenheimer
Venice, Florida, USA


Not to be picky, but just for the sake of clarity, a country's embassy is located in your country's capital.

Offices of the other country in cities other than your capital are called consulates.

I applied and received my German citizenship in August 2017 through the German Consulate here in Toronto.  The process back then was exceptionally straightforward and quick (about 4-5 months), but I did use a German lawyer to track down my father's German birth certificate.


Marc Stevens

Andreas Schwab

Obtaining birth certificated from Gemany is super easy if you know the municipality where your ancestor was born, provided it is your direct ancestor (your parent, greatparent or great-greatparent). If the birth is less than 110 years ago, the competent office is the Standesamt (civil registration office), which can be at the municipal or sometimes at the Kreis (county) officies. Older birth records (which can also be obtained by others than direct descendants) are held at the municipal archives. In some places (like Würzburg), the records have been destroyed in WWII, but the city will be happy to provide repacement certificates.
If you don't know the place where your ancestor was born, it becomes much more difficult. If you know at least one place where your ancestor has resided, the archivist of that place can maybe find out where your ancestor was born based on other documents such as residents' registration records or land records. A local genealogist could maybe help you in this case, too.
Andreas Schwab, Montreal, Canada