Cyprus Mail

Approximately one million people acquire citizenship of an EU member state in 2016

A total of 4,660 persons acquired the Cypriot citizenship in 2016, according to data published today by Eurostat. According to Eurostat, 24.8% of them were Russians, 15.6% Greeks and 7.2% from the United Kingdom. An increase of 40% was registered compared to 2015.

In 2016, around 995,000 persons acquired citizenship of an EU member state, up from 841,000 in 2015 and 889,000 in 2014. Of the total number of persons obtaining the citizenship of one of the EU member states in 2016, 12% were former citizens of another EU member state, while the majority were non-EU citizens or stateless.

The largest group acquiring citizenship of an EU member state where they lived in 2016 were citizens of Morocco (101,300 persons, of whom 89% acquired citizenship of Spain, Italy or France), ahead of citizens of Albania (67,500, 97% acquired citizenship of Italy or Greece), India (41,700, almost 60% acquired British citizenship), Pakistan (32,900, more than half acquired British citizenship), Turkey (32,800, almost half acquired German citizenship), Romania (29,700, 44% acquired Italian citizenship), and Ukraine (24,000, 60% acquired citizenship of Germany, Romania, Portugal or Italy).

Moroccans, Albanians, Indians, Pakistanis, Turks, Romanians, and Ukrainians represented together about a third (33%) of the total number of persons who acquired citizenship of an EU Member State in 2016. Romanians (29,700 persons) and Poles (19,800) were the two largest groups of EU citizens acquiring citizenship of another EU member state.

According to Eurostat, the number of UK nationals acquiring citizenship of another EU member state more than doubled in 2016. All but three member states granted citizenship to more people in 2016 than they did in 2015. The largest relative increase was in Croatia (in 2016 it granted citizenship to 3 times more people than in 2015 – an increase from 1,196 persons to 3,973, or +232%), in Greece (the number more than doubled from 13,933 to 33, 210, or +138%) and Malta (from 646 to 1,495, or +131%). The number of citizenships granted fell in three member states in 2016, with the largest decrease recorded in Ireland (from 13,565 to 10,038 or -26%).

Focusing on former citizenships for which at least 100 people acquired the citizenship of an EU member state in 2016, the largest relative increase compared with 2015 was for the citizens of the United Kingdom (the number more than doubled from 2,478 people in 2015 to 6,555 people in 2016, or +165%), nationals of Saudi Arabia (from 133 to 277, or +108%), Nicaragua (from 715 to 1,423, or +99%), Bhutan (from 72 to 143, or +99%), and Paraguay (from 2,046 to 3,468, or +70%).

In 2016, the highest naturalisation rates were registered in Croatia (9.7 citizenships granted per 100 resident foreigners), Sweden (7.9) and Portugal (6.5), followed by Romania and Greece (both 4.2), Finland and Italy (both 4.1). At the opposite end of the scale, naturalisation rates below 1 citizenship acquisition per 100 resident foreigners were recorded in Austria, Latvia and Slovakia (all 0.7), Estonia and Lithuania (0.9) and the Czech Republic (1.0). The naturalization rate for Cyprus is 3.2.


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