New Berlin citizenship centre will simplify application process
Berlin’s new German citizenship processing centre (Einbürgerungszentrum) will open in 2024, mayor Franziska Giffey has announced. Once it opens its doors, the centre plans to triple the amount of Berliners it grants citizenship to.
Berlin citizenship centre to open in 2024
The much-awaited citizenship centre which is set to open in Berlin now has a more specific opening date – 2024. Currently, 8.000 people are granted citizenship per year in the German city. Once the red-red-green local coalition government has opened the new centre, the plan is to boost the number to 20.000. The announcement comes as Germany’s federal government makes plans to liberalise the country’s migration policy for workers and citizenship legislation.
Speaking about the plan at Berlin's Abgeordnetenhaus (local council), Mayor Franziska Giffey said, “It is important that we move forward in this area, and that is what the coalition has planned to do. We have been working on plans for a naturalisation centre for 11 months and that requires preparation and time.”
In a surprising twist of events Giffey is set to have her leadership challenged in spring 2023 when constituents will recast their votes after Berlin’s constitutional court deemed 2021 elections in the German city invalid. Giffey’s coalition partner, Greens member Bettina Jarasch has announced she is determined to take her colleague’s mayoralship, though such developments would likely have little impact on the plan to open Berlin’s citizenship centre.
Berlin’s German citizenship administration is disorganised
To the despair of many migrants, Berlin’s residency and citizenship administration if currently somewhat disorganised, a fact that Giffey was willing to admit in her recent parliamentary address. Many Berliners experiences delays when applying for residency permits or German passports.
Across the city, local districts (Bezirke) deal with applications in different ways. A consequence of this disorganisation is that the process of applying for citizenship can take longer in some districts than others. With Giffey's new plan, part of the process will likely also be digitalised, removing the barrier of appointment shortages.
“Things are not as they should be,” Giffey acknowledged when speaking at the local council meeting, “We have to change something."