German Passport Holders

A total of 109,880 foreigners became German citizens in 2020, after living in the country for seven or eight years and meeting all the other requirements, which is a drop of 14.75 per cent compared to the previous year.

In 2019, there were recorded a total of 128,900 cases of citizenship by naturalisation in Germany, which at the same time was the highest number recorded since 2003.

The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reports that the number of naturalisations was up by 16,600, or 15 per cent, on the previous year, reaching the highest level since 2003. Almost half of the increase (+8,000) is due to growing numbers of Britons being naturalised,” Destatis noted in a press release issued at the time.

According to Destatis, which is the Office is responsible for the collection, processing, presentation and analysing of statistical information on the economy, society and environment, in 2019, 14,600 Britons were naturalised as German citizens. In 2018 and 2017, the numbers stood at 6,600 and 7,500, respectively.

In spite of the increase marked in 2019, in 2020, the number of British citizens that became German dropped again to 4,930, which is the lowest since Brexit. Before Brexit, in 2015, less than 600 had been naturalised as German citizens.

Data by Destatis show that in 2020, Turkish citizens were once again the main beneficiaries for German citizenship, with 11,630 Turks becoming German citizens, followed by Syrians (6,700), Romanians (5,930), Poles (5,000) and then Brits.

The list of the top ten groups that benefited most from citizenship by naturalisation based on former citizenship is completed by the following five:

  • Iraq – 4,770
  • Italy – 4,075
  • Iran – 3,965
  • Kosovo – 3,440
  • Afghanistan – 2,880

Other EU Countries, the citizens of which became German citizens, also include Italy (4,075), Greece (2,650), Bulgaria (2,040).

The number of new German citizens who were former Africans is 11,090, while in the same year, 33,685 Asian-born also became German citizens.

There are several routes through which one can gain German citizenship, and naturalisation is only one of them. The others are by marriage, by descent, and by birth.

The majority of foreigners that become German citizens are by naturalisation after the same live in Germany for eight years legally. Those who have attended an integration course can apply for citizenship by naturalisation after seven years.

Other conditions to gain German citizenship include renouncing any previous citizenships, the German language proficiency of at least B1, good financial situation, as well as being able to pass a citizenship test and having no criminal record.