The German population has grown by 109,880 new German citizens through naturalization in 2020, data by Destatis, which is the Federal Statistical Office, show.  

The largest group of new German citizens by former citizenship are Turkish nationals, 11630 of whom became German nationals, followed by Syrians (6,700), and then to European Union Member States – Romania and Poland (5,930 and 5,000 respectively).

Fifth in this regard is listed the United Kingdom, a former EU member after 4,770 former Brits obtained German citizenship in 2020.

The rest are listed as follows:

  • Iraq – 4,770
  • Italy – 4,075
  • Iran – 3,965
  • Kosovo – 3,440
  • Afghanistan – 2,880
  • Serbia – 2,765
  • Greece – 2,650
  • Morocco – 2,320
  • Ukraine – 2,260
  • India – 2,235
  • Bulgaria – 2,040
  • Pakistan – 1,955
  • Russia – 1,950
  • Vietnam – 1,840
  • Croatia – 1,805

Further, Destatis, which is in charge of collecting, processing, presenting, and analyzing statistical information regarding economy, society, and environment, reveals that 1,235 former Brazilians also became German citizens in 2020, 1,205 Spaniards, 1,025 Israelis, 935 Americans, and 680 former Chinese nationals.

The majority of these people, if not all, have had to give up their former citizenship in order to be able to become German citizens, as this is an essential condition for becoming a German citizen. However, there are very few exceptions, i.e., in cases when a country does not permit its citizens to give up their citizenship.

Eligible for naturalization are all foreigners who legally live in Germany for a period of eight years. Those who complete an integration course successfully can apply after seven years.

Among the main requirements to become a German citizen is sufficient knowledge of the German language, integration into the country’s society, as well as familiarization with the legal system, society, and living conditions in Germany.

According to Destatis, in 2019, 128,900 foreigners obtained German citizenship, which was 15 percent more than in 2018, or 16,600 more. The main reason behind the increase is the increase in the number of applications by UK nationals for German citizenship, thus making 2019 the year with the highest number of citizenships by naturalization since 2003.

In 2019, more Britons were naturalized (14,600) than in the preceding two years together (2018: 6,600 and 2017: 7,500). In 2015, that is, before the referendum, roughly 600 Britons were naturalized,” Destatis explains.

The lowest number of citizenships by naturalization since 2000 was marked in 2008 when just under 95 thousand foreigners became German citizens. Throughout these years, Turkish nationals were the top main national group gaining citizenship in Germany through naturalization.