06:00 GMT29 March 2020
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    Life After Brexit: What's Next After UK Leaves EU (24)

    Despite having an option to apply for permanent residence permit free of charge, hundreds of Swedes have elected to become full-fledged British citizens with voting rights.

    Since the 2016 Brexit referendum, an increasing number of Swedes have elected to become British citizens, Swedish Radio reported.

    A total of 1,848 Swedes have become British citizens since 2016, compared with only 360 during the three years preceding the referendum, according to the UK Home Office.

    The UK formally left the EU on 31 January this year and is now in a transitional period. To be able to stay in the country after that, EU citizens who have lived there for at least five consecutive years can apply for a permanent residence permit called “settled status”. The application process is relatively straightforward and free of charge.

    However, many Swedes chose to become full-fledged citizens instead, even though it takes longer and costs almost SEK 17,000 ($1,750). The number Swedes naturalised as British citizens has quintupled since 2016, compared to the three years before the fateful EU vote.

    “You did not have to choose about whether to stay or not after Brexit, but I also felt that I wanted to be able to vote and be more part of the country as a citizen”, self-employed man Johan Aurén told Swedish Radio.

    Aurén moved to London in 1998 didn't choose to apply for British citizenship until the summer of 2018. A year later, he received his brand new British passport after a citizenship ceremony.

    For Eva Jonsson, who has lived in England for over 20 years as well, the application process was worth both the hassle and the money.

    “For me it was incredibly important to be able to vote, so it is only citizenship that matters. 'Settled status' does a very good job too, but for me it was not an option”, Jonsson explained to Swedish Radio.

    In an ironic nod to globalism, however, the new post-Brexit blue passports replacing the old burgundy ones used for decades during the UK's stay in the EU will be manufactured in mainland Europe, by a Franco-Dutch company located in Poland.

    In 2017, the Office for National Statistics estimated the number of Swedish-born people living in the UK as 38,000, an increase from the 2011 census which recorded about 30,000 Swedish residents.

    Life After Brexit: What's Next After UK Leaves EU (24)
    passport, citizenship, Sweden, United Kingdom
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