If Scotland becomes independent, can I have both UK and Scottish passports? I live in France.
THE CURRENT devolved Scottish government has set out policies on who would be eligible for a Scottish passport if Scotland becomes independent after a “yes” vote.
British people who have their main home in Scotland will be considered Scottish as well as people who were born in Scotland and live elsewhere.
Other people will also be able to apply such as those who have a parent or grandparent who qualifies and those who have a connection to Scotland and spent at least 10 years living there. Legal immigrants will also have opportunities to apply.
The Scottish government would allow dual citizenship. The position is less clear as regards the position of “the continuing UK”.
The UK states in a document reviewing the situation that the Scottish policies appear to have a “very wide model of citizenship” effectively deeming some people Scottish if they want to be or not.
It says the UK has historically been tolerant of dual nationality and it is likely it would be possible to hold both British and Scottish citizenship (though, like other people living outside the UK, they could only pass British citizenship on to one generation).
People who are British if and when Scotland becomes independent “may have that right protected”, however it is possible this could be dependent on certain residence conditions or on them proving they retain an “affinity to the UK”.
“It cannot be guaranteed that dual nationality would be available to all persons who were British citizens prior to independence who then became Scottish citizens,” the UK says.
The matter would also raise issues related to Scotland’s membership (or not) of the EU as EU citizens in France have certain rights that are not automatically given to other people. This also remains uncertain. The Scottish government would be able to negotiate continued EU membership in a transitional period before independence is declared; possibly 18 months after a “yes” vote.
“The EU needs Scottish business as much as Scotland needs the EU,” says Scottish first minister Alex Salmond.
However, European Commission president José Manuel Barroso has said Scottish membership would be “difficult, but not impossible”, involving a long process and with potential for it to be vetoed.
One possibility would be to apply for French nationality, although this depends on length of residence and ability to speak French. British people becoming French remain British (unless they renounce this) and the same would be expected to apply to Scottish citizens.