More Brits seeking EU citizenship

A record number of Brits applied for EU citizenship last year, new figures show.

Official figures show that an ever-growing number of EU-based British expats who meet citizenship criteria are applying for EU passports as the date of Brexit draws ever nearer.

Nowhere more so has this been the case than in Ireland, which received 183,339 citizenship applications from the UK last year – a 12.5 per cent jump from a year ago. This was the second consecutive record-breaking annual increase for Irish citizenship applications. The number of applicants in 2017 was 24 per cent higher than that in 2016.

It is a trend being seen across Europe – particularly in countries traditionally popular with British expats, such as France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

For example, in France fewer than 400 Brits applied for French citizenship in 2015 – the year before the Brexit referendum. By the end of 2016 this number had soared to 1,363, and then more than doubled in 2017. While full-year numbers for 2018 are not yet available, it is expected that numbers will more than have doubled again.

Even in Sweden, a growing number of British expats are trying to secure a future for themselves by obtaining an EU passport. Around 2,000 of the approximately 20,000 Brits who live in Sweden applied for citizenship last year. In 2015, only 500 Brits in the country looked to obtain EU citizenship.

Article published 8th January 2018