Sign pointing to the naturalisation office in Charlottenburg, Berlin. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, naturalisation offices could not work at the usual capacity last year /Photo: Femi Awoniyi

Germany: Why the number of naturalisations dropped sharply in 2020

The number of naturalisations in Germany declined significantly last year. Around 109,900 foreigners took German citizenship in 2020, as the Federal Statistical Office announced in Wiesbaden recently. That is a decline of 19,000 cases (minus 19 per cent).

The decline is to a large extent due to the reduced naturalisation of Britons. At the same time, the number of Syrians who received a German passport increased. According to the data, only 4,900 British citizens were naturalised in the previous year. That was 9,700 or almost two-thirds (minus 66 per cent) less than in 2019, the year with the highest number of naturalisations of Britons.

Excluding British nationals, the statistics still show a decrease of 9,400 naturalisations compared to 2019. According to the statistics authority, this decrease also reflects the fact that in the year of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the relevant authorities could not work at the usual capacity and fewer applications could therefore be processed.

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In 2020, people with 173 different nationalities received a German passport. Of these, a good quarter (26 per cent) previously had the nationality of an EU-27 member state. Among EU citizens, Romanian nationals formed the largest group with 5,900 naturalisations.

As in previous years, Turks were the most likely to take German citizenship in 2020. However, here, too, there was a significant decline in 2020 compared to the year before it, namely by more than a quarter (minus 28 per cent) from 16,200 to 11,600.

For the first time, Syrians were the second largest group of naturalised citizens. Contrary to the general trend, their number increased by almost three quarters (plus 74 per cent) from 3,900 to 6,700 persons. “For the coming years, it is to be expected that the number will continue to rise as more and more of the Syrian protection seekers who arrived between 2014 and 2016 fulfil the requirements for naturalisation,” the statistical office explained.

Sola Jolaoso

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