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Sharp rise in Britons seeking German passports

Chase Winter
June 13, 2017

The number of Britons seeking German citizenship nearly quadrupled last year. The number is expected to rise as Brexit nears.

Britischer und deutscher Reisepass
Image: imago/AFLO/blickwinkel

The number of Britons receiving German citizenship soared last year as the British voted to leave the European Union, Germany's Federal Statistic Office said on Tuesday.

In all, 2,865 Britons were granted German citizenship in 2016 - a 361 percent increase over the previous year.

"A connection with Brexit is obvious," the statistic office said, noting it was the highest ever recorded number for British citizens.

Many Britons are concerned a hard Brexit will leave them outside the EU's single market and cherished free movement within the bloc.

Read: Germany looks to reap Brexit dividend as EU agencies leave London

The number of Britons seeking German citizenship may rise further this year as the process takes time and people calculate the benefits of a German passport before Britain is scheduled to leave the bloc in 2019.

Still, Britons made up a small portion of the 110,383 foreigners who received German citizenship last year, a 2.9 percent increase over the previous year.

Read: Dual citizenship in Europe: Which rules apply where? 

At 16,290, Turkish citizens remained the largest group seeking a German passport, although applications dropped by nearly 17 percent. Poles came in second at 6,632, an increase of 11 percent compared to 2015. 

Foreigners can apply for German citizenship after eight years of residence. The average naturalized person was 33 years old and had been living in Germany for 17 years.