What does paternity recognition ("Vaterschaftsanerkennung") mean?

If you are not married, the child's father can acknowledge paternity, i.e. officially accept the child as his biological child. Only when the father recognises paternity is he obliged to provide maintenance and only then can the child have the citizenship of the father. To recognise paternity, the child's parents must go to the Youth Welfare Office of their place of residence together. The paternity recognition service is free of charge. The mother has to bring along her "Mutterpass", ID card and birth certificate. The father also has to present his ID card and birth certificate. Foreign birth certificates must have been translated by a certified interpreter. If you are trying to go through paternity recognition after childbirth, you must also present your child's birth certificate. Without the required documents, paternity recognition is usually not possible. If that is the case, seek advice from a counselling centre or a lawyer. You can find a counselling centre nearby on Pro Asyl's website. To find a lawyer who specialises in refugees' and asylum seekers' issues, visit www.rechtsberaterkonferenz.de.

Please note: The Youth Welfare Office can report your application for paternity recognition to the Immigration Office if they suspect that you only recognise the paternity to obtain a residence permit for yourself, the mother of the child or the child. The Immigration Office will then check your case- but they can only do so if you are not the biological father of the child. Seek advice from a counselling centre or lawyer if the Immigration Office is investigating your case.