Germany with increasing number of new citizens, many naturalized Syrians

German passport

German passport

Photo: Associated Press

Germany saw another big increase in the number of people gaining citizenship last year, as a large number of people from Syria helped push naturalization to the highest level since 2000, according to official data released on Tuesday. .

Around 200,100 people have acquired German citizenship in 2023, the Federal Statistical Office has announced. This means an increase of about 31,000 or 19%, compared to a year ago, AP reports.

The increase followed a 28% rise in 2022, which was also driven by a large number of naturalized Syrians, as a growing number of people who immigrated to Germany between 2014 and 2016 met the requirements for citizenship. 

Last year, 75,500 people from Syria naturalized - the single largest group, accounting for 38% of the total - according to the statistics office. This number increased by 56% compared to 2022. They had spent an average of 6.8 years in Germany before becoming citizens. 

About 10,700 citizens of Turkey and Iraq became German citizens last year, placing these groups in second place. 

The requirements for obtaining German citizenship require having a job in Germany and proof of the ability to support oneself financially. 

Under the law last year, people were required to have lived in Germany for at least the last eight years, although this did not apply to spouses and children. The period could be reduced to six years for people who showed "more special integration achievements" such as very good language skills, professional achievements or civic engagement.

These rules have been deleted under the new legislation, which will come into force from 27 June. According to him, people will be able to request citizenship after five years of living in Germany, or after three years in cases of "special integration achievements". 

Also, children born in Germany will automatically acquire citizenship if one of the parents has been a legal resident for five years, up from eight years now.