Germany sees highest number of naturalisations in 23 years

Germany sees highest number of naturalisations in 23 years

Figures from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) have revealed that the number of residents who gained German citizenship in 2023 was the highest since 2000. The new citizens were born in 157 different countries and had an average age of 29,3.

Germany gained 200.100 new citizens in 2023

2023 saw a significant uptick in the number of residents being granted German citizenship, Destatis figures have revealed.

200.100 people were naturalised in 2023, compared to the 168.500 naturalised in 2022. Compared to 2021, when 131.000 people were eingebürgert, the number of annual naturalisations has increased by nearly 50 percent.

The 2023 figures mark the highest number of annual naturalisations since records began in 2000, when 186.675 people were naturalised.

Syria, Greece and Romania: Who are the new German citizens?

By a big leap, Syrian nationals were the largest group to naturalise in 2023. 75.485 Syrians became German, compared to 10.735 Turkish nationals and 10.710 Iraqis. 

This large discrepancy between the two largest groups can be explained by the fact that many of the Syrian nationals who came to Germany as refugees between 2014 and 2016 were newly eligible for citizenship in 2023. In Germany, people with refugee status are not required to renounce their original citizenship to get a German passport.

While Turkish nationals remained the second largest group to naturalise in 2023, rates have been dropping in recent years. The explanation? Until the new dual citizenship law comes into force on June 27, 2024, Turkish nationals are required to renounce their original passport if they want a German one. 

Many Turkish people are likely biding their time until late June, when non-EU citizens will be able to hold dual German citizenship and the demographics of new citizens will be drastically diversified.

Of the EU citizens who can already take advantage of dual citizenship, Greeks, Bulgarians, Italians, Polish and Romanians were the largest groups to become German nationals in 2023.

North Rhine-Westphalia naturalised the most new citizens

Of the 16 federal states, Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, naturalised the largest number of people in 2023. The 51.185 new citizens living in North Rhine-Westphalia made up a quarter of all naturalisations across Germany last year.

Bavaria followed in second, naturalising 36.105 people last year and Baden-Württemberg in third with 16.870. In Berlin 9.040 people became Germans and in Hamburg 7.540.

Thumb image credit: Tatjana Meininger /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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