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Number of UK nationals acquiring other EU citizenship more than doubled in 2017

The number of UK nationals acquiring citizenship of another EU Member State more than doubled in 2017, according to a Eurostat report.

In 2017, 14,911 UK nationals acquired the citizenship of another EU country, compared with 6,555 in 2016.

Half of the Member States granted citizenship to more people in 2017 than they did in 2016. The largest relative increases were recorded in Romania (from 4 527 persons in 2016 to 6 804 persons in 2017, or +50%), Luxembourg (from 3 315 to 4 980, also +50%), Slovakia (from 484 to 645, or +33%), Malta (from 1 495 to 1 973, or +32%) and Finland (from 9 375 to 12 219, or +30%).

The number of citizenships granted fell in the other half of the Member States in 2017, with the largest decrease registered in Croatia (from 3 973 to 688, or -83%), followed by Spain (from 150 944 to 66 498, or -56%), Denmark (from 15 028 to 7 272, or -52%), and Estonia (from 1 780 to 880, or -51%).

EU Member States granted citizenship to over 800 thousand persons in 2017

In 2017, around 825 000 persons acquired citizenship of a Member State of the European Union (EU), down from 995 000 in 2016 and 841 000 in 2015. Of the total number of persons obtaining the citizenship of one of the EU Member States in 2017, 17% were former citizens of another EU Member State, while the majority were non-EU citizens or stateless.

The largest group acquiring citizenship of an EU Member State where they lived in 2017 was citizens of Morocco (67 900 persons, of whom 83% acquired citizenship of Italy, Spain or France), ahead of citizens of Albania (58 900, 97% acquired citizenship of Greece or Italy), India (31 600, over 53% acquired British citizenship), Turkey (29 900, over 50% acquired German citizenship), Romania (25 000, 32% acquired Italian citizenship), Pakistan (23 100, 45% acquired citizenship of the United Kingdom), Poland (22 000, 63% acquired citizenship of the United Kingdom or Germany), and Brazil (21 600, 74% acquired citizenship of Italy or Portugal).

Moroccans, Albanians, Indians, Turks, Romanians, Pakistanis, Poles and Brazilians represented together about a third (34%) of the total number of persons who acquired citizenship of an EU Member State in 2017. Romanians (25 000 persons), Poles (22 000) and Britons (15 000) were the three largest groups of EU citizens acquiring citizenship of another EU Member State.

Highest naturalisation rates in Sweden and Romania

The naturalisation rate is the ratio of the number of persons who acquired the citizenship of a country during a year over the stock of foreign residents in the same country at the beginning of the year. In 2017, the highest naturalisation rates were registered in Sweden (8.2 citizenships granted per 100 resident foreigners), Romania (5.9) and Finland (5.0), followed by Portugal (4.5), Greece (4.2) and Cyprus (3.9).

At the opposite end of the scale, naturalisation rates below 1 citizenship acquisition per 100 resident foreigners were recorded in Estonia (0.4), Latvia (0.6), Austria and Czechia (both 0.7), Slovakia and Lithuania (both 0.9).

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