The figures released by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) on Tuesday show that 2,865 Brits were awarded German citizenship last year, and increase of more than 2,200 people in comparison with 2015. It was the largest number of Brits ever to be awarded German citizenship in a single year.
“The number of citizens of the United Kingdom who were naturalised as German citizens increased in particular, which suggests some link with the Brexit issue,” Destatis wrote in the report.
Overall 110,383 people were given German citizenship in 2016, with Turks making up the largest group of new Germans.
Figures obtained by The Local in May showed that after the Brexit referendum last summer, the number of Brits applying for German citizenship in major metropolitan areas increased by more than fivefold.
In Hamburg, 280 British passport-holders applied for German citizenship in 2016 – more than five times as many as the 52 who applied for citizenship in 2015. And just in the rough time period after the Brexit referendum vote on June 23rd, 206 people applied.
A representative for the city authorities said that “even though the reasons for naturalization applications are not collected statistically, for us there is a clear connection” to the referendum to leave the EU.
Germany has a rule that its citizens must generally only hold German citizenship, but makes an exception for other EU countries. It is likely that many Brits want to take advantage of this rule before their country exits the EU.