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German generosity as number of Brits getting nationality in EU soars

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019
German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019   -   Copyright  Credit: AP
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The number of Britons getting their hands on citizenship from an EU country nearly doubled in 2019, latest data reveals.

Eurostat figures released on Monday show that 29,800 Britons were naturalised in that year, compared with roughly 16,200 in 2018.

In 2016, when Britons voted in favour of divorcing the EU fewer than 6,700 Brits were given a passport in an EU country.

The UK officially left the EU on January 1, 2020, and entered into a 12-month transition period during which the country remained in the bloc's customs union and single market.

Negotiations for post-Brexit relations continued however with a deal struck at the 11th hour on Christmas Eve 2020.

Germany has been the most popular member states for Brits. Since the referendum, 29,478 UK citizens have become German, nearly half of whom — 13,675 — did so in 2019.

France and Sweden were the second and third top choices for British citizens. In total, more than 9,600 and 8,000 British citizens became French and Swedish respectively since 2016.

Most of these new EU citizens are of working age. Of the 4,489 Brits who became Swedish in 2019, more than 75 per cent were between the ages of 20 and 59. In France, that number of lower but still over 50 per cent.

Citizens' rights were one of the arduous topics for Brexit negotiators. EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU who were living and working there before 2021 were allowed to continuing doing so and enjoy the same benefits provided they acquired a settlement permit.

Going forward, UK citizens wishing to live and work in an EU member state will be subjected to restrictions and may be denied. The opposite is also true.

Brits — including those who have a second home in the EU — can visit and stay in the 27-country bloc for up to 90 days visa-free.