Building A New Scotland: Citizenship

The Scottish Government has published the latest in its series of independence papers, setting out a blueprint for how citizenship would work in an independent Scotland.

It states who would be automatically entitled to Scottish citizenship and sets out the routes to apply.

Click here to read the full document, or read on for a handy summary.

Here’s all you need to know.

Entitlement to citizenship in an independent Scotland

The proposal sets out an inclusive approach to citizenship after independence for people born or living in Scotland and describes who would become a Scottish citizen at the point of independence, and who could become a Scottish citizen from then on.

The plan presents an inclusive, welcoming and ambitious vision of the entitlement to Scottish citizenship.

Scottish citizens would have the right to live and work freely in Scotland. They would also be able to get a Scottish passport.

Most Scottish people are currently British citizens and UK law allows British citizens to hold multiple nationalities.

The Scottish Government’s latest paper proposes that after independence, the law in Scotland would allow Scottish citizens to do the same, so people can hold both Scottish and British nationality or only one or the other.

Under the proposals, British citizens would not have to become Scottish citizens after independence in order to live and work in Scotland because Scotland would continue to be part of the Common Travel Area.

This area includes the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

There would be four ways to become a Scottish citizen in an independent Scotland

The four routes to Scottish citizenship would be:

  • automatic entitlement on the day of independence
  • by birth after independence
  • by registering as a Scottish citizen, or
  • by applying to become a Scottish citizen

You would be automatically entitled to Scottish citizenship if you were already a British citizen living in Scotland, had been born in Scotland, or if you had a parent who was a British citizen born in Scotland. You would also be automatically entitled to citizenship if you had previously lived in Scotland for at least ten years, or five years as a child. If you did not want to automatically become a Scottish citizen, you would be able to opt out.

Children born in Scotland after independence would automatically be Scottish citizens if at least one of their parents was:

  • a Scottish citizen
  • a British or Irish citizen
  • “settled” in Scotland under Scottish immigration law or if at least one of their parents was a Scottish citizen if they were born outside of Scotland.

Registering as a Scottish citizen will be open to two groups of people; British and Irish citizens living in Scotland and any children, regardless of nationality, who are living in Scotland or were brought up here.

It would also be possible to apply for citizenship. A person of another nationality could apply for citizenship if they had lived in Scotland for five years or had been settled here for at least twelve months.

Passports and travel after independence

Scottish citizens would be entitled to have a Scottish passport after independence. You would not need to hold a Scottish passport if you do not want one but you would be able to get a Scottish passport through a similar application process to the one that exists for British passports.

Scotland is part of a Common Travel Area on these islands. As part of the Common Travel Area after independence, British and Irish citizens would be able to live and work in Scotland without restrictions as they do now and Scottish citizens would retain those same rights in the UK and in Ireland.

Once Scotland rejoins the European Union, Scottish citizens would once again become EU citizens. This would allow them and their families to live, work and study freely across all 27 current EU member states, as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

An approach that works for Scotland

The Scottish Government’s model presents an inclusive approach to citizenship, delivering for families, new Scots and Scots around the world. The SNP believes that the people of Scotland are the key to its success and has put them at the heart of our vision for citizenship in an independent Scotland.

But only you can make it happen.

Get involved and pledge your support for Scottish independence at