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Brits continue mad rush for Swedish passports

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Brits continue mad rush for Swedish passports
Fancy joining these flag-waving Swedes? Photo: Maja Suslin/TT
16:18 CEST+02:00
Sweden has hit another weekly record in the number of Britons applying for citizenship on the back of Brexit.

A total of 150 Brits filed for citizenship in Sweden last week, according to fresh figures released to The Local by the Migration Agency on Monday, just a week after the number of applications went up by 500 percent.

It stands in stark contrast to a normal weekly average of 20 applications.

The rush among British nationals to get their hands on a Swedish (and by extension ensuring they hold onto an EU) passport began in the run-up to and immediately after their compatriots voted on June 23rd to leave the union. The new figure follows 129 applications during the week of the Brexit vote, according to statistics emerging on Tuesday.

EU citizens who have lived in Sweden for at least five years and have a right of residence – or who have lived here three years, two years of which with a Swedish citizen – are able to apply for Swedish citizenship.

However, any British readers who do not meet the requirements for citizenship, but are perhaps hoping that Swedish authorities will take pity on them, may find themselves disappointed. The head of the agency's citizenship unit told The Local that the applications are to be processed according to normal procedure.

"We haven't started looking at them, and I can't make any predictions. But if you don't meet the requirements you can't get citizenship. If you apply too early you risk getting rejected," said Annette Grafen Silander.

The most recent available statistics show there were 19,782 UK citizens without Swedish passports living in Sweden in 2015.

Simon Linter, a writer living in Stockholm, told The Local after the vote: "I will be forced into applying for Swedish citizenship providing that the UK allows dual citizenship after it exits the EU."

Nazia Hussain, a British entrepreneur now living in Skellefteå, northern Sweden, was hopeful she would eventually get a Swedish passport when she too spoke to The Local after the referendum.

"Having lived here for almost three years, I am now confident that this is where I want to be, so I hope that by the time Britain is out of the EU, I will have managed to acquire Swedish nationality and so remain in the EU. I don't think I want to go back to the UK to live as I am grateful for living here," she said.

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