The number of applications for naturalization in Berlin has risen massively in the past year.
The number of open procedures also increased sharply. As a result, foreigners who want to become Germans have to wait longer and longer for their naturalization. Despite the new naturalization center, which is scheduled to open in 2024, it will still take years to clear the backlog of applications. This is the result of current figures from the Senate Interior Administration.
Accordingly, the number of open procedures is currently 27,000. Last year around 20,000 procedures were being processed; ten years ago it was around 12,000.
At the same time, the Senate expects that in the coming years even more foreigners than before will want to be naturalized because the planned federal law will lower the hurdles and many Syrians who came to Germany in 2015 and 2016 have now been in the country long enough to to obtain German citizenship.
The backlog of applications arose because, especially recently, more naturalizations were registered than processed each year. In 2020, around 10,700 applications were made and 8,700 completed. In 2021 there were 12,600 applications for 10,600 processing. In 2022 there were already 17,600 applications and 11,400 were processed.
According to Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD), around 8,000 people are naturalized each year, and other applications were rejected because the requirements were not met. The goal of the Senate, which has been announced several times, is to process and approve at least 20,000 naturalization applications per year.
An important building block for this is the central state naturalization center, which is scheduled to start work at the beginning of 2024 and will be responsible instead of the overburdened districts. Here the Senate relies on digital applications instead of the previous paper economy.
Most applications come from Turks who have lived in Berlin for a long time. Syrians now follow in second place. But there are also many naturalization applications from Poland and it is expected that some Ukrainians will also want to stay in Germany.
The waiting time in the districts is up to two years in Pankow, in many other districts it is 18 months, only Mitte stands out with 25 clerical positions and a waiting time of only 5 months. Around 800,000 foreigners are registered in Berlin, of which 250,000 have the requirements to be naturalized as Germans, according to the Senate.