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I am a US citizen born in the US to US citizen parents who also hold dual citizenship (of Colombia for one and of Germany for the other). I hold a US passport.
As far as I can tell on the German Consulate website, I immediately, at birth, also became a German citizen by descent because "Children born in wedlock after Jan. 1, 1975, acquired German citizenship if one of the parents was a German citizen at the time of their birth". The German state has record of this since I was registered at a German consulate by my parents after I was born. My dad did not get his US citizenship until I was around 5. Furthermore, according to national law 19362, I am also entitled to Uruguayan citizenship because my grandfather, an Uruguayan citizen, was born & raised in Uruguay. I have not yet applied for this citizenship.
I have several questions:

  1. I am already a German citizen simply because of my dad's citizenship at the time of my birth, correct? Applying for a German passport would be a related, but separate step? i.e., my current lack of German passport is not reflective of my citizenship status?
  2. If I were to apply for this Uruguayan citizenship via law 19362, would I be required by Germany to rescind my German citizenship and/or my right to a German passport?
  3. If the answer is yes to number 2, would it be possible to, in the future, rescind the Uruguayan citizenship and subsequently get the German one back? Is this allowed on both sides? The information on rescinding is tough to find.
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  • As far as I can tell law 19362 grants Uruguayan citizenship without having to apply for it: "The children of the people who by article 2 of this law are granted the quality of nationals, born outside the national territory, will have the quality of natural citizens." If Germany agrees, you will neither lose your German citizenship nor have to renounce it.
    – phoog
    Jun 8 at 21:10

3 Answers 3

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1. Yes: It's related but German citizenship does not require a passport. The German Missions in the United Kingdom expressly says that if one...

... acquired German citizenship automatically, you can book a passport appointment. 

2. (Answered according to the question's first incarceration) No: As well as law 19362, there's law 16.023 (sic) and Section III, Chapter I of the Constitution. I can't seem to find law 16.023 online but Wikipedia offers this:

Uruguayan nationality law is entirely based on the principle of Jus soli. Its rules are written in the Uruguayan Constitution in Section III, Chapter I and detailed in law 16.023 and law 19.362 which defines nationality for those born in Uruguay, their children and grandchildren. Dual Citizenship is permitted under Uruguayan law, and people who become Uruguayan citizens are not obligated to renounce their previous nationality. However they do not become nationals.

3. As the answer to 2 is "No", this swapping around does not seem necessary.

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  • I believe that German law causes people who naturalize elsewhere to lose their German nationality. Uruguay may permit dual nationality, but Germany also has to accept that acquiring Uruguayan nationality under this Uruguayan law does not constitute naturalization.
    – phoog
    Jun 8 at 21:08
  • I have edited my question to be more clear. I was referring to being required to rescind by Germany; Do they have a problem with me acquiring the Uruguayan citizenship?
    – Runeaway3
    Jun 8 at 21:10
  • OK. I'm not going to bother re-writing my answer, I'll leave it as is for prosperity - someone may find it useful in the future. I'll also leave the revised question about German law for others to answer and take the Down Votes on the chin.
    – Rick
    Jun 8 at 21:37
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    Your answer is fine as far as I can see and the link to Section III, Chapter I of the Constitution Article 74 makes the situation (from the German side) clear. Jun 9 at 14:07
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Being automaticly citizens of the US and Uruguay, causes no problem with your German citizenship.

For Uruguay, you are appling for recognition of your citizenship at birth as a grandchild of a Uruguayan citizen.

Only when you, as an adult, apply for nationisation (i.e. that country considers you to be a foreigner at the time of the application) would you lose your German citizenship automaticly when this application has been granted, unless you apply for an exception beforhand.

Such an exception would only be granted when you can prove that you still have strong ties to Germany.

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  • This makes sense. To be clear, applying for my Uruguayan passport does NOT count as 'nationalisation' of a foreigner, right? I'm already a citizen; I'm just looking get that recognized and obtain my passport.
    – Runeaway3
    Jun 9 at 13:28
  • @Runeaway3 correct. Section III, Chapter I of the Constitution Article 74 (linked in the previous answer) states that you are a natural citizen and have been since your birth. When entering/leaving Germany, you must however use your German passport. Otherwise you can exercise your other citizenships outside of Germany as it pleases you. Jun 9 at 13:38
  • I do not yet have this German passport. That doesn’t change the answers to my question though right?
    – Runeaway3
    Jun 9 at 13:47
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    @Runeaway3 correct. And when you apply for your German passport, apply also for an ID (Personalausweis). That will make your life easier while inside the EU. (BTW: Both are not considered proof of citizenship, only the assumtion of citizenship) Jun 9 at 13:59
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In Germany, you will be asked whether you want to keep your German citizenship around your 18th birthday. If you want to keep it, you'll need to give up any non-German citizenship; if some country refuses to let you give up their citizenship that would be fine. In that case you can have two citizenships.

If you apply and get Uruguayan citizenship, Germany won't like that and will want to take the German citizenship away. Exception would be if you received that citizenship without applying and while refusing it. Can't tell you exactly what would happen. And no idea if Uruguay is fine with dual citizenship.

And your last question, sorry, don't know if you can get the German citizenship back after giving it up. I wouldn't bet on it.

If you ask a German registry office, they will either have all the answers, or they will be happy to find out for you (the attitude is usually that a case like yours doesn't make their job harder, but more fun).

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  • The German embassy in Windhoek, at least, disagrees with the first paragraph of this answer.
    – phoog
    Jun 8 at 20:54
  • Paragraph 1 is no longer generally true, see gesetze-im-internet.de/stag/__12.html, second paragraph. It's generally fine to have a German citicenship together with another European citizenship.
    – PMF
    Jun 9 at 7:38
  • @PMF I don't see how §§ 10 and 12 StAG are relevant since they relate to naturalization, whereas OP is German by descent. The § 29 Optionspflicht nowadays only applies to people who acquired the German citizenship via ius soli (not by descent) but then didn't grow up in Germany. If OP doesn't yet have Uruguayan citizenship and then applies for it, OP would lose German citizenship per § 25 (unless they obtain an exception due to special ties to Germany). A previous German citizen living abroad may be re-naturalized per § 13 without the § 10 conditions, but has no right.
    – amon
    Jun 9 at 11:13
  • @amon You mean to say that if one gets a German and another citizenship by descent, they can always carry both?
    – PMF
    Jun 9 at 11:33
  • @PMF per current laws, yes, multiple citizenship by descent is allowed without having to choose, as far as the German laws are concerned. StAG does prevent subsequent acquisition of multiple citizenship though, with some exceptions. However, the specific details have changed over time.
    – amon
    Jun 9 at 13:13

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