The naturalization of immigrants to German citizenship was regulated by the Foreigners Act (Ausländergesetz) until 2004; however, with the change in the citizenship law in 2005, the naturalization of immigrants to German citizenship is now carried out according to the German Citizenship Act (Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz). The Federal Statistical Office of Germany published data about citizens who were naturalized in 2016. The report, published on June 13 2017, was based on data from Local Foreign Residents’ Offices (AZR).

Germany has a population of 17 million 100 thousand immigrants (Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund). A large part of this population consists of people originally from Russia, Poland and Turkey. The population of Turkish origin people in Germany (those who have German citizenship, Turkish citizens, or dual citizens) is about 2 million 9 hundred thousand. This number is %16.7 of all immigrants in Germany. The rate of naturalization to German citizenship increased by 2.9 percent (about 3 thousand people) compared to the year 2015. Nonetheless, the rate of Turkish citizens’ naturalization to German citizenship decreased by 17 percent compared to the previous year. In addition to this, Turks still constitute the largest group of immigrants who have received German citizenship. Brits make up the majority of  people who have received German citizenship in 2016. While this is associated with the “Brexit” incident, the proportion of British citizens who have acquired citizenship in 2016 is almost four times higher than in 2015. In 2015, 622 British nationals became German citizens. In 2016, this number rose to 2,865.

Data points of interest from the German Federal Statistical Office for 2016 are as follows:

  • 110,400 people became German citizens
  • 16,290 Turkish origin people received German citizenship (in 2015: 19,695)
  • Naturalized German citizens have been living in Germany for at least 17 years. The average age of people who received German citizenship is 33.
  • The rate of naturalization to German citizenship is highest in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
  • The largest decline in the rate of naturalization to German citizenship was in the state of Bremen.
  • Women are the largest group who received German citizenship at %53.9.
  • %59.4 of those who acquired German citizenship are from Europe, while %29 are from European Union countries (EU).
  • The number of English nationals who became German citizens increased by 360.6 percent compared to 2015.


The report also includes the possibility of receiving German citizenship calculated according to the condition that the immigrants have resided in the country for at least 10 years.  According to this, people from Cameroon, Egypt and Syria have the highest potential to be naturalized as citizens.

The report includes statistical data about marital status, sex, age, residence period, reasons for receiving German citizenship, and data based on states and countries about naturalized German citizens.


Country of Origin Total Difference ratio by 2015 How much has the potential to receive German citizenship been used?
Number of persons who received German citizenship Percentage rate (%)
The total number of persons who received German citizenship 110,383 + 2,9 2,2
Turkey 16,290 – 17,3 1,2
Poland 6,632 + 11,3 2,8
Ukraine 4,048 – 2,9 4,9
Kosovo 3,966 + 3,8 3,2
România 3,828 + 27,6 7,8
Italy 3,597 + 5,6 0,8
Iraq 3,553 + 3,0 11,7
Greece 3,444 + 12,6 1,4
Croatia 2,985 – 10,3 1,4
United Kingdom 2,865 + 360,6 3,9
Iran 2,661 + 5,1 9,8
Serbia 2,596 + 33,7 1,7
Afghanistan 2,482 – 3,5 10,8
Morocco 2,450 – 4,0 6,2
Russia 2,375 + 2,0 1,8