Lucy Dunn Lucy Dunn

Humza Yousaf looks to the EU and Ireland for citizenship inspiration

(Photo by Robert Perry - Pool/Getty Images)

Burgundy passports, dual citizenship and rejoining the EU were a few of the items at the top of Humza Yousaf’s fifth independence paper, published earlier today. The First Minister’s latest independence document in the ‘Building a New Scotland’ series outlines the Scottish government’s proposals for citizenship in an ‘open, inclusive’ and independent Scotland. 

Holding a finger up to the UK government over post-Brexit changes, Yousaf’s paper describes how Scottish passports would be a ‘right’ available to Scottish citizens from day one of independence. In imitation of the old-style EU passports these would be burgundy in colour, not blue, and would follow EU regulations – despite the fact an independent Scotland would not automatically become a European Union member on breaking away from Britain.

There is no guarantee that an independent Scotland would be able to rejoin the EU, but the Scottish government’s proposal seems insistent that some kind of pre-Brexit, European Scotland is possible.

As far as citizenship is concerned, the Irish model is Yousaf’s guide. This would mean that even if you were not born nor a resident in Scotland but one of your parents was a citizen of the country, you would be automatically entitled to citizenship yourself. In fact, the criteria for becoming a Scottish citizen is relatively broad-ranging. If you’re an adult who has spent 10 years living in Scotland previously, you’re in too.

Living up to its ‘inclusive’ credentials, Yousaf’s proposals also take into account those British citizens that may find themselves in an independent Scotland but who do not want to receive Scottish citizenship. There will be an ‘opt out’ option available, primarily targeted at those people eligible to be a Scottish citizen but who are from a country that will not allow dual citizenship. The Scottish government has stated that it would be keen to ‘engage’ with these countries to discuss ‘removing barriers to dual nations acquiring Scottish citizenship if they wished it’.

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