Since the Brexit vote, the number of Brits becoming German citizens is soaring

Papers, please.
Papers, please.
Image: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch
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As the UK’s divorce from the European Union creeps closer, some Brits are cementing their ties to the bloc. Germany has been a preferred sanctuary, with a 162% jump in UK citizens acquiring citizenship in Deutschland last year.

Some 7,493 British became German citizens, up from 2,865 the year before, according to the latest data from Germany’s Federal Statistical Office. In 2015, the year before the UK held a referendum on EU membership, only 622 acquired German passports.

Germany is known for things like beer, bread, and public nudity, and also for its powerful passport: It routinely ranks high in the Henley Passport Index, an annual ranking of how many countries passport holders can travel to visa-free or with visa-on-arrival. Other countries have also seen a spike in citizenship and passport applications from Brits after the referendum vote, most notably Ireland.

Another imperative for Brits to hurry up and get German papers is that they won’t have to give up their UK citizenship as long as Britain is in the EU—Germany currently permits dual nationality provided the applicant is from another EU country.

Britain is set to leave the EU officially on March 29, 2019. A transition period that keeps many of the same rules in place—including the rights of EU citizens to live and work in other member states—will remain in place through the end of 2020. Beyond that point things are less certain, so British citizens who want to be sure of retaining these rights (and have the flexibility to do so) aren’t taking any chances.