Ethnic German resettlers
Ethnic German resettlers are ethnic Germans from the successor states of the former Soviet Union and from other Eastern European states. By means of a special acceptance process they are entitled to live in Germany.
Certifying status as an ethnic German resettler
Being recognised as ethnic German resettlers means that immigrants automatically receive German nationality. German ethnicity is key in the acceptance and certification procedure carried out by the Federal Office of Administration The legal basis for accepting ethnic German repatriates is the Federal Expellees Act (BVFG).
Family members can apply to immigrate to Germany together with ethnic German resettlers who are applying for entry. They have been required since 1 January 2005 to prove that they have a basic knowledge of German.
Arrival in Germany
After the ethnic German resettlers have registered in one of the Federation's initial reception centres, the Federal Office of Administration allocates them to the host Federal Länder. However, since 31 December 2009, ethnic German resettlers have not been required to live in a stipulated place.
Ethnic German resettlers and their family members are legally entitled to attend an integration course free of charge. Further information about attending an integration course can be found here.
4.5 million ethnic German resettlers
More than 4.5 million (ethnic German) resettlers including their family members have immigrated to Germany since Germany began to accept this group of immigrants in 1950. The numbers of immigrants decreased steadily between 1990 and 2012. 1,817 people classed as ethnic German resettlers arrived in Germany in 2012. In the years after that, however, an increase was once more recorded in the numbers of ethnic resettlers immigrating. 6,118 people were registered as ethnic German resettlers in 2015.