Naturalisations in Germany slumped by 15 percent in 2020

Naturalisations in Germany slumped by 15 percent in 2020

The number of people gaining German citizenship by naturalisation fell by 15 percent in 2020, according to new figures from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). Both Brexit and coronavirus played a role in the decrease.

110.000 people became naturalised German citizens in 2020

110.000 foreigners gained German citizenship in 2020, Destatis announced this week. That’s around 19.000 fewer than in 2019, and therefore amounts to a slump of 15 percent. 

According to Destatis, a good half of this decline can be attributed to the fact that fewer British citizens were naturalised last year: only around 4.900, compared to 9.700 in 2019, when the number of Britons seeking a German passport in the aftermath of Brexit peaked. 

At the same time, the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic were also noticeable in the naturalisation statistics, Destatis explained. In some cases, restrictions led to longer waiting times, as reduced capacity meant fewer applications could be processed. 

Majority of applications from EU citizens

Overall, people from 173 different countries became naturalised German citizens last year. Around a quarter of them originally hailed from one of the 27 EU member states, and the majority of those were Romanian, British (which was still part of the EU in 2020) and Polish citizens. 

There was a significant increase in the number of Syrians who received German citizenship, rising by 74 percent to 6.700 applications overall. In the coming years, the statisticians noted, this number will likely rise even further, as more and more of the people who came to Germany between the years of 2014 and 2016 will start to meet the requirements. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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