Brexit For Members

Here's how many Brits and Americans applied for Swedish citizenship post-Brexit and Trump

Catherine Edwards
Catherine Edwards - [email protected]
Here's how many Brits and Americans applied for Swedish citizenship post-Brexit and Trump
A Swedish flag flies at a typical wooden summer house. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

In the wake of Britain's vote to leave the EU, Sweden reported an immediate rise in citizenship applications from British residents. Here's how many Brits applied for and received citizenship in Sweden in the first months of 2018, almost two years on from the Brexit referendum.


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Already in 2018, a total of 473 Brits resident in Sweden have applied for citizenship, statistics from the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) shared with The Local show.

In the same time period, the agency has granted citizenship to 400 Brits and rejected only 13 applications.

This follows two consecutive years of record numbers of British citizens applying to become Swedish, and if applications continue at the same rate throughout 2018, this will be a third record year.

In 2017,1,859 Brits living in Sweden submitted their applications, an increase from the figure of 1,616 in 2016. This was a huge leap from the years preceding the Brexit vote: in 2015, only 511 Brits applied for Swedish citizenship while 491 did so in 2014.

READ ALSO: How Brexit made me quit my job, pack up my life and move to Sweden

The effect of the referendum was immediate: in June 2016, the month the vote took place, 310 Brits applied for Swedish citizenship, more than seven times the number of applications made that month the previous year (41).

And in 2016, Sweden gave citizenship to more Brits than any other EU country except Germany, according to EU figures published last week. 

Of the Brits who applied for Swedish citizenship between 2016 and 2017, the vast majority had their requests for citizenship approved. A total of 940 Brits became Swedish in 2016 and 1,203 the following year.

The status of Brits currently resident in Sweden once their country formally leaves the EU remains unclear, though ministers and authorities in both Sweden and the UK have repeatedly stressed that people should be able to stay in the country they are already legally living in.

But in the absence of any concrete reassurance, many Brits abroad are applying for citizenship as a way of assuring they can not only stay in Sweden but continue to enjoy the rights that come with membership of the EU after Brexit.

There are currently just under 20,000 British citizens living in Sweden who do not have Swedish citizenship, figures from Statistics Sweden show.

While Brexit has had a clear impact on citizenship applications, one of the other big votes in recent years – the election of Donald Trump in America – does not seem to have had an effect on the number of US citizens seeking citizenship abroad, despite a spike in online searches in the USA for moving abroad.

This is likely due to the fact that the president's term in office is temporary, compared to the Brexit vote which will have a direct and permanent impact on citizens' status. Sweden has allowed dual citizenship since 2001.

Around 9,000 American citizens are currently living in Sweden without Swedish passports, Statistics Sweden figures show. A total of 754 Americans applied for citizenship in 2017, a slight increase of the figure of 690 the previous year and 579 in 2014. However, 717 Americans applied to become Swedish in 2015, so the change isn't significant enough to mark a trend.

So far in 2018, 217 US citizens have applied for Swedish citizenship, and 187 have had their requests approved.

READ ALSO: How to get Swedish citizenship or stay permanently in Sweden


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