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South Africans in Germany

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Registering your child at birth

Your new baby needs to be registered at the registry office (Standesamt) within seven days of the birth in order to receive a birth certificate and a tax ID (even babies get them in Germany!)
Once you have a birth certificate you can also apply for child benefit and a passport for your child.

From the Standesampt Stuttgart:

“Die Geburt Ihres Kindes müssen Sie innerhalb einer Woche beim Standesamt des Geburtsortes anmelden. Dafür benötigen Sie eine vollständig ausgefüllte Geburtsanzeige, in der Sie u.a. die Vornamen für Ihr Kind festlegen.

Schriftliche Anzeige bei Geburt in einer Klinik

Bei der Geburt eines Kindes in einem Krankenhaus oder in einer sonstigen Einrichtung, in der Geburtshilfe geleistet wird, meldet der Träger der Einrichtung die Geburt direkt beim Standesamt.

Mündliche Anzeige bei einer Hausgeburt
Bei einer Hausgeburt muss die Geburt von der Mutter, dem Vater oder jeder anderen Person, die bei der Geburt dabei war, im Standesamt angezeigt werden.

Das Standesamt teilt die Geburt des Kindes nach deren Beurkundung dem Bürgerbüro am Wohnsitz der Eltern mit. Das Bürgerbüro informiert das Finanzamt. Die Eltern erhalten dann automatisch vom Bundeszentralamt für Steuern die Steuer‐ID des Kindes zugesandt.”


Roughly translated:

“You must register the birth of your child with the registry office of the place of birth within one week. To do this, you need a fully completed birth announcement (Geburtsanzeige) in which you specify the first names for your child, among other things.

Written notification of birth in a clinic
If a child is born in a hospital or other facility where obstetrics is provided, the institution responsible for the facility reports the birth directly to the registry office.

Verbal notification of a home birth
In the case of a home birth, the birth must be reported to the registry office by the mother, father or any other person who was present at the birth.

The registry office notifies the birth of the child to the citizens office (Bürgerbüro) at the parents’ place of residence after it has been recorded.
The citizens’ office informs the tax office. The parents then automatically receive the child’s tax ID from the Federal Central Tax Office.”

Take note: – The birth must be registered in the Bundesland where the child was born and not where you live.

Naming your baby

There are rule and regulations on naming your child. First of all it depends on your marital status, and then the name itself.
The most confusing law is that it must be gender clear, so it has to indicate whether it is a boy or a girl. There has been some changes to this law and names can now be gender-neutral, with the additional paperwork of course. All names must be approved by the Standesamt.

In Baden-Württemberg the following rules apply. This might be different for your Bundesland so always make sure.

You have the following options for naming:

First names
If both parents have custody, they can jointly determine the first name of their child.
If only one parent has custody, they can choose their first name.

You can determine the first name yourself.
Names are not allowed which by their nature are not first names or that negatively affect the best interests of the child.
Surnames, objects or products as a First name are also not allowed.

When determining the surname of your child (also known as the maiden name), you must consider the following:

  • If you are married to each other and have a married name. The child then receives your married name as the maiden name.
  • If you are married to each other but do not have a married name. You can then choose either the surname of the mother or the father as the child’s maiden name.
    This provision then also applies to all other children.
  • If you are not married to each other and one parent has sole custody of the child. Then the child receives their family name. As the parent with custody, you can also give the child the surname of the other parent. But this is only possible with their consent.
  • If you are not married to each other but have joint custody. Then you can choose either the family name of the mother or the father for the child’s maiden name.

From on of our Facebook Members:
“We have chosen an Afrikaans girl’s name which is apparently seen as a gender neutral name in Germany.
We had to get the name ‘Beurkundigt’. We have also been told that either we need to give a second name which identifies the gender or we need to sign a document (Erklärung zum Vornamen eines Kindes) stating that we are aware we are giving our child a gender neutral name.
FYI, it is very much a girl’s name in SA but as with the name Yolandi, apparently it is gender neutral here. So something one might want to get out of the way and discuss with the Standesamt before the 7 day registration.”

Author: Martjie Louw and Carla James



As a rule, children born to a German and a non-German parent, or to parents with dual nationality, acquire the nationalities of both parents at birth, according to the principle of descent. See Section 4 of the Nationality Act
South Africa

Section 28 of the Constitution outlines rights to which children are entitled, including rights to a name and nationality. The SA Citizenship Act, 1995 (Act No. 88 of 2005) as amended by the South African Citizenship Amendment Act, 2010 (Act No. 17 of 2010) translates, and gives effect to, the Constitution’s provisions. Expanding on citizenship in South Africa it says it is obtained by birth, descent or naturalisation.

The basic principle of the South African citizenship is that a child follows the citizenship or nationality of his or her parents. If one parent is a South African citizen, the child will be a citizen by birth. A foreign child adopted by South African citizens becomes a citizen by descent whilst a naturalised citizen is one who has complied with the requirements for naturalisation as set out in section 5 of the South African Citizenship Act. – source DHA

Two sections in the South African Citizenship Act is of importance

Section 10 –  Deprivation of citizenship in case of children

Whenever the responsible parent of a minor has in terms of the provisions of section 6 or 8 ceased to be a South African citizen, the Minister may, with due regard to the provisions of the Children’s Act, order that such minor, if he or she was born outside the Republic and is under the age of 18 years, shall cease to be a South African citizen.

Section 13 – Resumption of South African citizenship

(2) A minor who has in terms of section 10 or a provision in any of the laws referred to in Schedule 2 ceased to be a South African citizen and who is resident in the Republic or has returned to the Republic for permanent residence therein, may at any time after attaining the age of 18 years make a declaration in the prescribed form stating that he or she wishes to resume South African citizenship, and if the Minister deems it fit, he or she may order that such a declaration be registered, and upon registration thereof, such person shall resume his or her former South African citizenship.

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