Record number of Brits get German citizenship before Brexit

German officials say the number of British nationals who received German citizenship hit a new high last year that is likely linked to the U.K.'s 2016 referendum to leave the European Union.

Brexit has prompted British citizens to seek passports from the EU's remaining countries to preserve their right to live and work in the world's most powerful economic bloc.

Germany's Federal Statistical Office said Wednesday that 7,493 Britons were naturalized in 2017. A year earlier, 2,865 British nationals received German citizenship, as more than three-fold increase from 2015.

Britons were second only to Turks in the number of non-Germans obtaining German citizenship last year.

Almost 10 percent of the British applicants received their German citizenship from abroad, likely because they or their ancestors lost their citizenship under the Nazis.