WITH a change in policy, the German government opened more ways for Filipinos to obtain dual citizenship, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The DFA said that effective December 20, 2014, Filipino children born in Germany after January 1, 2000 now have several ways to earn dual citizenship.
Their eligibility would depend if, at the time of their birth, their parents were both foreigners, and one parent has stayed in Germany legally for eight years, or the child grew up in Germany.
Aside from German citizenship, these children can opt to carry the citizenship of their parents’ country when they turn 21 years old, the DFA said.
“Previously, children born to foreign parents have to face the difficult decision of choosing only one citizenship when they turn 21. For those who were born of Filipino parents, this meant choosing German citizenship over Filipino citizenship,” the DFA added.
The amended German citizenship law, the German Nationality Act or StAG, abolished the exclusivity rule that obliged children born in Germany of foreigner parents to choose one citizenship over the other citizenship (Optionspflicht).
Children born of foreigner (non-German) parents in Germany after January 1, 2000 can now have both citizenships.
One condition, however, states that they should have grown up in Germany.
This means they have been in Germany for eight years or they attended a school there for six years, or graduated from a school or occupational training in Germany.
The same exemption from the obligation to choose is applicable to children of foreign parents who were born in Germany between January 1, 1990 and December 31, 1999 and were naturalized, becoming German citizens in 2000.
“For them, they are likewise no longer obliged to choose one from both citizenships and can therefore retain their dual citizenships provided they grew up in Germany,” the DFA said.
The changes in the citizenship law will not affect the current rule in the Philippines that children born of mixed marriages (i.e., Filipino-German) are entitled to both citizenships. They get dual citizenship by reason of blood.
Thus, aside from the usual dual Filipino-German citizens, born of mixed Filipino and German parents and who are therefore both Filipinos and German by birth, there is now a newer group of dual Filipino-German citizens.
They are those born of Filipino parents, or of a Filipino parent and a non-German parent.
Philippine Ambassador to Germany Melita Santa Maria-Thomeczek applauded the recent amendments to the German law.
“The changes [in]the immigration law are important in ensuring that Germany continues to be an open and multicultural society,” Thomeczek said.
“It is especially important that Filipino-German youth, many of whom continue to closely identify themselves with the Philippines, are able to stake their claim to their parents’ homeland. No difficult decisions will have to be made, the only decision they will have to think about is when to renew their Philippine passport!” she added.