Growing Number of Brits Acquire EU Citizenship in Wake of Brexit Referendum

Growing Number of Brits Acquire EU Citizenship in Wake of Brexit Referendum

A rising number of UK citizens have been seeking citizenship of other EU member states since the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

A rising number of UK citizens have been seeking citizenship of other EU member states since the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

The growth in the number of Brits becoming EU citizens has been described as a “surge” by the BBC which acquired data on the naturalization of UK citizens from a total of 17 other EU member states.

Thus, in 2017, a total of 12,994 UK citizens obtained the nationality of one of the 17 member states in question, compared with just 1,800 in 2015, the year before the Brexit referendum, a sevenfold increase.

The rise in the number of Brits who got EU citizenship seems noticeable as early as 2016, the year of the Brexit referendum, when it reached 5,025.

The surge is construed as resulting from the fact that a number of UK citizens who do meet the respective citizenship criteria prefer to retain their legal rights as EU citizens.

Germany has attracted the largest number of British recipients of a second nationality, with 7,493 British becoming German citizens in 2017, compared with only 594 two years earlier, a nearly thirteenfold increase.

France is the second most popular EU member state for Brits seeking a new nationality, with 1,518 becoming French citizens in 2017 compared with 320 in 2015. Belgium comes in third, with a respective surge from 127 to 1,381.

The number of the UK citizens who obtained an Irish passport in 2017 was 529, up from 54 in 2015; however, these numbers exclude applicants entitled to Irish for reasons such as being born in Northern Ireland.

Other EU member states which saw major surges in the number of naturalized Brits between the year before the Brexit referendum and the year after include Denmark, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Sweden.

Most of the British who have also taken on another EU citizenship in the wake of the Brexit vote have also retained their UK passports, becoming dual nationals.

Acquiring EU citizenship is seen as a guarantee for the right to travel, live, and work throughout the European Union after Brexit, which is set for March 2019.

Some of the EU countries such as Germany, however, allow dual nationality only with EU states, which means that UK citizens who decide to seek Germany citizenship after Brexit might have to give up their British citizenship.

(Banner image: Pixabay)

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