Germany Grants Record Citizenship in 2023

Tue May 28 2024
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BERLIN: In 2023, Germany witnessed a significant surge in naturalizations, with a large number of people from Syria, marking the highest level of naturalizations since at least 2000, according to official data released on Tuesday.

The Federal Statistical Office reported that approximately 200,100 people were granted German citizenship in 2023, representing a rise of approximately 31,000, or 19 percent, compared to the previous year. This surge followed a 28 percent increase in 2022, largely fueled by the substantial number of Syrians being naturalized, as more migrants who arrived between 2014 and 2016 fulfilled citizenship requirements.

Last year, 75,500 people from Syria were naturalized, constituting the largest single group at 38 percent of the total, marking a 56 percent increase compared to 2022. On average, these people had resided in Germany for 6.8 years before attaining citizenship.

Moreover, approximately 10,700 citizens each from Turkey and Iraq acquired German citizenship in 2023, placing these groups in second place.

The overall number of new citizens in 2023 was the highest since records began in 2000, following a legislative change that granted automatic citizenship to people of German ancestry from the former Soviet Union, who had arrived in significant numbers in the 1990s.

Requirements for citizenship include proficiency in German and evidence of financial self-sufficiency. Under the law, as it stood last year, individuals were generally required to have lived in Germany for at least eight years, though exceptions were made for spouses and children. This residency period could be reduced to six years for people demonstrating “special integration accomplishments,” such as advanced language skills, professional success, or community involvement.

New legislation, effective from June 27, will relax these requirements. Individuals will become eligible for citizenship after five years in Germany, or three years in the case of “special integration accomplishments.” Moreover, German-born children will automatically acquire citizenship if one parent has been a legal resident for five years, down from the current eight years.

Restrictions on dual citizenship will also be lifted. Previously, people from non-European Union countries and Switzerland generally had to renounce their previous nationality upon gaining German citizenship, with some exceptions.

Germany’s population stands at approximately 84 million inhabitants.

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