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Children of unmarried parents

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General Information

If one parent has German citizenship when the child is born, the child automatically receives German citizenship at birth. If only the father is German, an effective acknowledgment of paternity must first be submitted.

Also important: If the German parent was born abroad after December 31, 1999, the birth of the child must be registered in Germany before the child reaches the age of one year in order for the child to acquire German citizenship.

How do I make an acknowledgment of paternity?

In principle, the acknowledgment of paternity can be made according to the regulations of the state in which the child lives. However, since there is no formalized acknowledgment of paternity in Ghana, this option does not apply. Nevertheless, if the father is German or if the child is resident in Germany, the acknowledgment can be made in accordance with the German law.

A German acknowledgment of paternity can either be submitted personally to a responsible youth welfare office or notary, provided the father lives in Germany, or to the German embassy in Accra.

The declaration must be notarized. For legal certainty, it is also recommended that the mother submits the declaration of consent to the acknowledgment of paternity. For this, the same steps need to be taken as for the acknowledgment of paternity.

What is my child's family name and how can I determine his or her family name?

According to German law, the child is given the name of the parent who has sole custody at birth. However, in Ghana both parents have joint custody when a child is born and lives in Ghana. In such cases, and when the names of the parents are entered in the birth certificate, the child does not initially get a family name according to German regulations. Therefore, the parents must submit a name declaration, e.g. as part of the birth announcement, before a German passport can be issued for the child.

If mother and child live in Germany, the child initially receives the mother's name as a surname. If the parents wish to give the child the surname of the father, a name declaration is also required.

If both parents are exclusively German nationals, only German law is applicable for the name of the child. If one parent has a nationality other than German, the parents can choose the law of the home country of the foreign parent.

The choice of Ghanaian law cannot currently be recommended due to pending court proceedings in this area and the associated legal uncertainty. In this context, the responsible registry offices are currently examining whether Ghanaian naming law, which allows fantasy names without a recognizable family connection, can still be applied in choosing family names. It is irrelevant whether a fantasy name has actually been chosen in the individual case. The registry offices will therefore suspend the processing of applications with the choice of the Ghanaian naming law until a further court decision on the above-mentioned question has been made. Unfortunately, the duration of this procedure is unforeseeable.

Which documents do I need for the acknowledgment of paternity, declaration of consent and the name declaration

1. Child's birth certificate

2. Mother's birth certificate

3. Father's birth certificate

4. Passport of any nationality of the mother

5. Passport of any nationality of the father

6. Certificate of residency from Germany (if registered there)

7. If applicable, naturalization certificate of the German parent

8. If applicable, divorce decree in the case of previous marriages of the parents

9. Evidence that the other parent was in Ghana or Germany at the time of conception or DNA report

10. Recognition of paternity (if already done by the father) for the declaration of consent of the mother

11. Declaration that the mother was single at the time of the birth of the child

The original documents must be submitted with the application.

Documents that are not in German or English must be translated into German by a sworn translator.

What fees do I have to pay when applying at the embassy?

Recognition of paternity/Declaration of consent 102,32 Euro
Name declaration 79,57 Euro
Certification of the copies for the registry office 22,92 Euro

The fees are to be paid according to the official exchange rate of the embassy in GHS on the day of the application. They can also be paid by international recognized credit card (VISA).

How do I get an appointment and what is the procedure?

Once you have prepared all the documents for the acknowledgment of paternity, declaration of consent or the name declaration, please book an appointment here.

The embassy does not process any applications itself, but forwards them to the responsible registry office, if you wish.

If you submit your application through the embassy, both parents with custody must be present in person at the appointment, as both signatures on the application form must be certified. If your child is 14 years old or older, the child's presence is also required. If only one parent lives in Ghana, the other parent can sign at the registry office in Germany.

The documents are then sent to the registry office. The registry office at the child's last place of residence in Germany or, if the child has never lived in Germany, at the last place of residence of one of the parents, is responsible for processing your application. If neither the child nor either of the parents had a residence in Germany at any time, the registry office I in Berlin is responsible. They will contact you directly after the examination has been completed. This can take a few months.

If you are planning an urgent trip with the child in the meantime, you can contact the embassy and enquire about the possibility of appyling for a temporary passport.

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