A man holding a German and a British passport in Berlin. Photo: DPA
In 2017 a record 7,493 Brits earned German citizenship compared to 2,865 in 2016, according to a press release published by the German Statistics Office (Destatis) on Wednesday.
The fact that Brexit is on the horizon accounts for this record number and 162 percent increase, Destatis writes. The UK plans to officially withdraw from the European Union at the end of March next year.
In 2016 and 2017, a total of 10,358 Brits acquired German citizenship – more than twice as many as in the entire period from 2000 to 2015 (5,092). Only 622 British nationals acquired German citizenship in 2015.
Some 9 percent of British nationals who acquired German citizenship through naturalization last year were from abroad and dont currently live in Germany, Destatis reports. This was the highest proportion among people from all other EU countries obtaining German citizenship.
These are mainly people and their descendants who expatriated during the Nazi period, Destatis adds. UK citizens who got German citizenship last year were on average 52.8 years old – significantly older than the average age of nationals from other EU countries (40.9 years).
Foreigners who have lived in Germany for eight years or longer and who have a residence permit can generally acquire German citizenship through the process of naturalization under certain conditions.
Similarly to previous Destatis citizenship reports, Turkish nationals led the way as the largest group of foreigners to become German citizens in 2017 (14,984). The British came in second place (7,493), followed by the Polish (6,613), Italians (4,256) and Romanians (4,238).
Figures from the press release reflect the increasing number of Brits who are calling Germany home. In Berlin last year, for instance, some 26,840 UK nationals were recorded as living in the capital – a dramatic increase from 12,355 the previous year.