In 2020, 729 000 people acquired citizenship of an EU Member State where they lived, a 3 % increase from 706 400 in 2019. This increase was mainly due to the increases recorded in Spain (+27 300 Spanish citizenships granted than in 2019), followed by the Netherlands (+21 800), Sweden (+16 000), and Portugal (+11 000).
In contrast, the largest decreases in absolute terms were observed in France (-23 300 French citizenships granted compared with 2019), followed by Germany (-20 800), Belgium (-6 700), and Romania (-4 000).
As in 2019, the majority (85 %) of those who obtained the citizenship of an EU Member State in 2020 were previously citizens of a non-EU country or stateless. Former citizens of another EU Member State accounted for 13 % of the total number of citizenships acquired.
This information comes from data on acquisition and loss of citizenship published by Eurostat today. The article presents only a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article.
Moroccans, Syrians and Albanians main recipients of citizenship
In 2020, Moroccans were the largest group among new EU-citizens (68 900 people, of whom 86% acquired citizenship of Spain, Italy or France), ahead of Syrians (50 200, 49% acquired citizenship of Sweden), Albanians (40 500, 70% acquired citizenship of Italy), Romanians (28 700, 40% acquired citizenship of Italy), Brazilians (24 100, 72% acquired citizenship of Italy or Portugal), Turks (23 700, 49% acquired German citizenship), Ukrainians (18 100, 48% acquired citizenship of Poland, Germany or Italy), Indians (16 400, 34% acquired citizenship of Italy), Pakistanis (16 000, 35% acquired citizenship of Italy) and Britons (16 000, 60% acquired citizenship of Germany, France or Sweden).
Romanians (28 700 persons), Poles (12 500) and Italians (8 200) remained the three largest groups of EU citizens acquiring citizenship of another EU Member State, the same as in 2018 and 2019.
Most new citizenships were granted by Italy (131 800 or 18%), Spain (126 300 or 17%), Germany (111 200 or 15% of the EU total), France (86 500 or 12%), and Sweden (80 200 or 11%) accounting for 73% of new citizenships granted in the EU in 2020.
Highest naturalisation rates in Sweden, Portugal and the Netherlands
The naturalisation rate is the ratio of the number of persons who acquired the citizenship of a country during a year over the stock of non-national residents in the same country at the beginning of the year. In 2020, the highest naturalisation rates were registered in Sweden (8.6 citizenships granted per 100 resident non-nationals), Portugal (5.5), and the Netherlands (4.8), followed by Finland (2.9), Italy (2.6), Spain and Belgium (both 2.4).
At the opposite end of the scale, naturalisation rates below 1 citizenship acquisition per 100 resident non-nationals were recorded in Lithuania (0.2), Estonia (0.4), Latvia (0.4), Czechia (0.5), Austria (0.6), Slovakia (0.7), Bulgaria (0.8) and Ireland (0.9).
For more information:
- Eurostat Statistics Explained article on the acquisition of citizenship statistics
- Eurostat dedicated section on international migration and citizenship
- Eurostat database on migration and citizenship
Citizenship is the legal bond between an individual and a state, acquired by birth, naturalisation, or other means according to national legislation. Naturalisation is the process by which a state grants its citizenship through a formal act on the application of the individual concerned. Other ways of granting citizenship may include spouses of nationals, minors adopted by nationals and descendants of nationals born abroad returning to the country of origin of their ancestors.
- The naturalisation rate is the ratio of the number of persons who acquired the citizenship of a country during a calendar year over the stock of non-national residents in the same country at the beginning of the year. The ‘naturalisation rate’ should be used with caution because the numerator includes all modes of acquisitions and not just naturalisations of eligible residing non-nationals and the denominator includes all non-nationals and not the relevant population, i.e. those non-nationals who are eligible for naturalisation.