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Record number of Brits become Swedish citizens – but hundreds are still waiting

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Record number of Brits become Swedish citizens – but hundreds are still waiting
Brits are the fourth-biggest group of new citizens so far this year. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
16:56 CEST+02:00
More than 2,400 Brits have become Swedish citizens this year. But almost as many are still waiting for a response to their application, with less than two months to go to the Brexit deadline.

In March, the Migration Agency granted citizenship to a record 1,273 Brits as it attempted to fast-track applications ahead of the UK's original date for exiting the EU on March 29th this year. Numbers have since dropped to lower levels, with 100 applications from Brits granted in June and only 50 in August.

As of August 27th, the agency had a total of 2,023 open case files of Brits who had yet to receive an answer to their application for Swedish citizenship, according to figures obtained by The Local.

A spokesperson told The Local that the agency was still prioritizing applications by people affected by Brexit, with straightforward cases dealt with before those that need more documents submitted by the applicant or further investigation to determine whether or not an applicant is in fact eligible for Swedish citizenship.

"The Migration Agency has, since this spring, a general decision in place which states that matters related to a possible Brexit should be prioritized so that processing times can be kept in accordance with our service commitments," Johanna Måhlén told The Local.

"However, we can't single out a specific national group as prioritized, because that is not compatible with [administrative law]. If/when Brexit happens the authority can decide on a so-called special incident, and then we could prioritize British applicants in a special order."

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So far this year, 95 percent of processed applications from British citizens for Swedish citizenship have been successful and out of those the average waiting time was 281 days.

The Migration Agency has so far granted citizenship to 2,406 Brits this year, according to figures from September 1st, making them the fourth-biggest group after people from Syria (19,813), Afghanistan (2,582) and Somalia (2,457). It's a huge increase on last year, when 1,305 Brits were given citizenship.

It follows a rush for Swedish passports (and by extension EU freedom of movement) in recent years by many of the country's approximately 20,000 British residents who are currently without Swedish citizenship.

READ ALSO: Sweden sees drastic times in waiting time for citizenship applications

And the rush has shown little sign of slowing down. A record 1,991 Britons submitted their applications for Swedish citizenship in 2018, an increase from 1,859 in 2017, 1,616 in 2016, and 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.

Approved citizenship applications for Brits in 2019:

January: 183

February: 154

March: 1,273

April: 436

May: 142

June: 100

July: 68

August: 50

Total: 2406

 
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