The Bundesrat, which represents Germany’s 16 federal states, decided without debate on Friday morning that German-born children of immigrants will continue to hold German citizenship and the citizenship of their parents only until they reach adulthood.
The expected decision will keep the laws as they’ve been since 2000, when Germany reformed its citizenship rules. Previously they recognized the principle of nationality by blood above being born in Germany.
The 2000 reform now allows foreigners who have lived in Germany for eight years to apply for naturalization. But the original plan to allow their children born in Germany to automatically become German failed in the face of fierce opposition by conservative parties in the Bundesrat. As a compromise, it was decided that naturalized children would have to decide at the age of 18 whether they wanted to keep a German passport or their foreign one.
Some critics of the law point out that being forced to choose between nationalities could mean a conflict of loyalties just at time when a young adult is developing their own identity.