Dual Citizenship Question...

I was born in Germany, at an American Army Hospital. My father was in the Army, and both my parents were American citizens. I have a German birth certificate, which says that my father was in the US Army and that I was born at an American hospital. It also says that I am “Eine Zwischenzeile”-- but I’m not sure what that means. Literally it means “between line”. I’m guessing it’s something like “Dual Citizen”, but I can’t find any good definition for it. I had a consular report of birth, but it has been lost. I’m trying to avoid having to send off $30 to the Department of State for a copy of it.

Question 1: Anyone know if there is any chance the Social Security Administration will accept this as proof of US Citizenship? I tried a while back to change the name on my SS card to my married name, but they wouldn’t do it because I didn’t have the consular report of birth. I found this incredibly irritating, because my bank and the state of Colorado were perfectly willing to accept my ID and my marriage certificate to change my name. I had to prove that I was a citizen to get the SSN in the first place, and I can prove I am the person attached to that SSN. Did I somehow LOSE my citizenship somewhere along the way?

Question 2: Someone told me that with my German birth certificate, if I were to go to Europe, I might be able to get an EU passport, which they said would be better for traveling and especially if I wanted to stay there and work for a while. Based on what I’ve looked up today, though, I’m not sure I am considered a German citizen in any way. We left Germany when I was 6 weeks old, and I’ve never been back. I read that you are supposed to formally choose citizenship of one country or the other, by filing some sort of form, before your 23rd birthday. I never did that, and I’m 33. So, could I get an EU passport? (I’m guessing no.)

Question 3: Am I some sort of countryless person? I don’t currently have the paper that proves I’m an American, and I think that Germany would say I am not a German citizen, German birth certificate notwithstanding. Could I get a free trip to Germany by calling up the INS and telling them I can’t prove I’m an American? If I get deported and then get my paper proving I am a citizen and was wrongly deported, do they have to bring me back on their dime? (Yeah, I know it’s far-fetched, but wouldn’t that be kinda cool?) Seriously, I’m not really in any danger of deportation, am I?

Disclaimer: I know no one can offer me legally binding whatever, does not constitute a professional relationship, yadda yadda yadda. I have no plans to go to Europe in the forseeable future, and the SSN thing just means I have to remember to file my taxes under my maiden name, or they’ll send them back and tell me to do it over. Mostly this is just to satisfy my curiosity, and when I need to do something concrete about any of this I will consult the proper professional and authorized person, blah blah blah. But if someone could unoffically tell me the answers, that would be nice.

This helpful page maintained by the US Embassy to Germany seems to provide the answer, which is as follows.

(a) You are a US citizen. You may have mislaid the paperwork which proves this, but you are a US citizen.

(b) You are not a German citizen. It is only recently that German law was amended to provide German citizenship to someone born in Germany of non-German parents. Unless you were born after 1990 (which clearly you weren’t) you are not a German citizen.

Having said that, the answer to your questions are as follows.

  1. I don’t know what the SSA will accept but, if you’ve already proved you’re a citizen and they’re asking you to prove it again, they’re obviously a fairly bolshie crowd, and I doubt very much that they’ll accept a German birth cert as proof of US citizenship. Most people with German birth certs are not US citizens and, even if the German certificate described you as a US citizen (which it doesn’t appear to), it’s not for the German authorities to say who is, and who isn’t, a US citizen.

  2. No, you can’t get an EU passport. As far as I can make out, the opting for one status or the other only applies to people born since 1990, so you’re ruled out on two grounds.

  3. You’re not stateless. You are a US citizen. The US authorities can deport you for not being a US citizen, but not for being a US citizen without the paperwork to prove it. In the wildly unlikely event that they challenged your status, I’m sure you’d have opportunity to get the damn consular report and establish your status before being deported.

Obviously you haven’t got a passport, or else you could produce that to the SSA. Failing that, I think you’ve no alternative but to fork out the cost of the consular report, and keep it with your birth cert. You’re likely to need it again.

I have an SSN, and am not an American citizen. Forgive their reluctance to take that as proof of citizenship.

My sister was in a sort-of similar situation. She was born to my (Canadian) military father and (Canadian) mother while dad was posted in Germany. When she applied for a Social Insurance Number (Canadian equivalent to SSN), she was told that she was not a Canadian citizen, but German. She had to apply for citizenship in Canada.

Good luck! Let us know what comes of this.

It is no substantive information, just a document formatting device to prevent unauthorized additions to the document by stating how many lines were originally contained/later officially added.

Finally! A SDMB question that I can truly answer!

Since you were born in a US Military hospital, you simply go here : http://www.sacdhhs.com/article.asp?ContentID=285 to get the information you require. This would include certified birth certificates, which would also indicate your US Citizenship.

Please be aware that this is the government you are working with, and it likely won’t be real quick.

On this same sort of note, I was also born and baptized on a US Military base, though in the USA, also in 1970. I needed a copy of my baptizmal certificate prior to getting married. I had to contact the head chaplin’s office in DC, and it took about 3 months for me to get it. (This was only needed as I was marrying in a Catholic church).

Good luck.


I think it was my high school German teacher who told me it meant “dual citizen”. Another triumph of the American education system, I suppose. So, it’s the written out equvalent of that line you put after the amount on your checks to prevent someone from writing in “and a million dollars”?

This seems odd to me. As the child of Canadian parents, especially as her father was overseas on official government duties, she should automatically have had Canadian Citizenship. (Only the current Citizenship Act is available online, so I can’t verify this until I have a chance to look up the 1953 act, but I am pretty certain of this as my SIL was also born in Germany to a Royal Canadian Air Force father.) I suspect that, not having a Canadian birth certificate, she had to apply for a Certificate of Canadian Citizenship as proof of her citizenship for the SIN card.

Bookkeper - former SIN application documentation reviewer

Nope, she had to apply for citizenship. There was a swearing-in ceremony and everything.

**GingerOfTheNorth ** - I finally had a chance to check the 1953 Citizenship Act. If your sister wasn’t resident in Canada on her 21st birthday, and hadn’t officially confirmed her citizenship prior to that date, her Canadian citizenship would have automatically lapsed (the current act is a bit more lenient on this). Applying to regain her citizenship would have been pretty much a matter of filling out some forms, with no need to meet any special requirements, but she still would have done the whole swearing allegiance thing.