The Federal Statistical Office of Germany has revealed that the country registered an all-time high rate of naturalisation in 2021vdue to the outstanding efforts at integration.
In its most recent press release, the Statistical Office showed that around 131,600 foreigners became naturalised German citizens in 2021.
Such numbers represent an increase of 20 per cent compared with the previous year, 2020, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“In 2021, roughly 131,600 foreigners became naturalised German citizens. The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reports that this was an increase of roughly 21,700 naturalisations, or 20 per cent, compared with the previous year,” the statement of the Office reads.
It has been pointed out that half of the increase is attributable to a large number of naturalisations of Syrian citizens. Around 19,100 citizens of Syria were naturalised in 2021, which is almost three times as many as in 2020. In 2020, only 6,700 Syrian citizens were naturalised.
Other nationalities also account for a high number of naturalisations. Around 12,200 Turkish nationals became naturalised German citizens in 2021.
Naturalisations were frequent among Romanian (6,900), Polish (5,500), and Italian (5,000) citizens too. Such figures suggest that not only third-country nationals but also those from EU countries apply to become legal residents of Germany. The Statistical Office emphasised that one in four people has the citizenship of an EU Member State.
It has been revealed that of all German states, Nordrhein-Westfalen had the highest naturalisations number (29,250) in 2021. The state is followed by Bayern with 23,160 naturalisations, Baden-Württemberg with 17,305 naturalisations, Hessen with 12,160 naturalisations, and Niedersachsen with 10,420 naturalisations, among others. The other German states not mentioned have registered lower naturalisations.
Emphasising the importance of naturalisation, the Federal Ministry of Interior and Community says that it is a major step toward successful integration as it gives immigrants many opportunities to participate in society.
Under the current German law, foreigners who have lived permanently and lawfully in Germany for eight years may be eligible for naturalisation. Nonetheless, basic requirements need to be met.
The Ministry explains that foreigners are required to have the right of permanent residence at the time of naturalisation, they need to resign from their previous citizenship, be familiar with the legal system, society, and living conditions, be able to support themselves, have German language skills equivalent to level B1, have not criminal convictions, and commit to the constitutional principles of freedom and democracy.
However, it has been highlighted that certain exceptions to the naturalisation requirements may be reduced or waived for certain groups.