For members


Reader question: Can British-Swedish dual citizens apply for post-Brexit residency status?

Our recent articles on post-Brexit residency status have had questions from our readers on how dual citizenship affects applications. In this article, we try to provide answers.

Swedish passports
Dual citizenship and post-Brexit residency status – how does it work? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Question: I don’t understand how someone with dual British/Swedish citizenship can apply for residency status when their Swedish citizenship automatically gives them the right to residency. Surely once you have obtained Swedish citizenship you can’t also apply for post-Brexit residency status in Sweden because you already have it through your citizenship. Or am I misunderstanding something here?

To answer this question, we need to get into the nitty-gritty of what rights the new post-Brexit residency status gives you.

The first, more obvious right, is the right to continue living in Sweden. Our reader is correct here in that those with Swedish citizenship don’t need post-Brexit residency status to continue living here. This also applies to dual EU/British citizens, who have right of residency in Sweden as long as they fulfill EU criteria.

READ ALSO: Should British-Swedish dual citizens still apply for post-Brexit residence status?

However, the less obvious right which post-Brexit residency status protects is the right for your family members to come and join you in Sweden visa-free. The Swedish Migration Agency describes it like this: “If you have residence status, more family members than just your spouse/cohabitating partner and underaged children can apply to move to live with you. This applies, for example, to parents or children over 21 who are financially dependent on you. The same also applies to the family members who are not EU/EEA citizens and want to visit you and usually apply for a visitor visa to come to Sweden. In their case, the application is also free-of-charge in contrast to if you have a permanent residence permit in Sweden or a Swedish citizenship.”

READ ALSO: Living in Sweden post Brexit: who has to apply for residence status?

This last benefit is the reason why some people with permanent residence permits or Swedish citizenship may wish to apply for post-Brexit residence status, even though they don’t technically have to in order to stay in Sweden.

But, not everyone who has dual Swedish/British citizenship, EU/British citizenship, or a permanent residence permit can apply for post-Brexit residency status – only those who also qualify for residency under EU rules. This is why some of our readers have contacted us with questions on how they should fill in the form when applying for residence status, as it asks what you have been doing in Sweden (working, studying, supporting yourself, or a family member of a British resident in Sweden). Those who have residency due to other reasons (such as accompanying a Swedish citizen), are therefore unable to apply.

The Local contacted the Swedish Migration Agency for information on how to apply for residence status if you fall into the category of Brits with Swedish citizenship or a permanent residence permit.

We were told that these people can apply via the usual online form or via post and explain that they have citizenship or a permanent residence permit under “other information” (or “övriga upplysningar“, if using the Swedish form). As this only applies to dual citizens or people with permanent residence permits who also qualify for residence status under EU rules, you will also need to state your reason for having right of residence under EU law (worker, student, self-employed, or able to support yourself).

Member comments

  1. Hi and thanks, this article clarifies for me at last, that as a Belgian/British dual national I do not need to apply for the post Brexit residence status.

    Tack så mycket

  2. Hej, I (Brit living in Sweden for 3.5 years) applied last-minute for post-Brexit residence status despite already becoming a Swedish citizen (Oct 2021), mainly because I read this article – in order future-proof myself for eventualities mentioned above. But I just received a flat ‘no’ from Migrationsverket purely based on the fact I’m already a Swedish citizen- but I should have qualified anyway based on the fact I’ve been working in Sweden for 3.5 years. I thought you’d be interested to hear this. Does this now mean I may have issues potentially moving British family to Sweden in the distant future, or (worse) issues with British family members having to apply for a tourist/visitor visa to come and visit me? Cheers

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For members


Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

People who have more than one citizenship often hold multiple passports, so what does this mean for crossing borders? Here's what you should know.

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

For many readers of The Local, gaining citizenship of the country where they live helps them to feel more settled – but there are also travel benefits, including avoiding the long ‘non EU’ queue when coming back into the Schengen zone.

But this week the problems associated with travelling while holding dual citizenship came to light, leaving many people wondering what they should know when they are entering different countries.

Put simply – which passport should you use? And do you have to carry both with you?

Financial Times journalist Chris Giles tweeted that the UK Border Force “detained” his dual-national daughter while she was travelling from France into the UK with her German passport – and not her British one. 

He went on to say that UK border guards released his daughter. According to Giles, the border staff said she should have had both passports with her “and asked why she was travelling on her German one”.

The rules on dual-nationality have not changed, but now that the UK is not in the EU, there are strict rules on non-Brits who enter the country (and vice-versa) which has made it trickier for travel.

For instance, UK nationals receive a stamp in their passport when entering Schengen member states because they are only allowed to stay up to 90 days within an 180 period (unless they have a visa or residency card).

READ ALSO: Brexit: EU asks border police not to stamp passports of British residents 

People coming from the EU to the UK can generally visit as a tourist for up to six months without a visa – but are not allowed to carry out any work while there.

So which passport should you show?

The first thing to be aware of is there are no specific rules on travelling with more than one passport. 

Travellers can choose to use whichever passport they prefer when going to a country. 

But one thing to note is that it’s worth using the passport that is best suited to your destination when travelling there. Each country has its own set of immigration and visa rules that you’ll need to research closely.

It could be that one passport is better suited for your trip – and you may be able to avoid visa requirements.  

READ ALSO: How powerful is the German passport?

In the case of the UK, many people are still getting to grips with the different rules that apply because it’s not in the EU anymore.

A question submitted to the Secretary of State for the Home Department in September 2021 provided some insight into this issue. 

The question from Labour’s Paul Blomfield asked what steps the UK government “is taking to enable dual UK and EU citizens to travel to the UK on an EU member state passport without having to further prove their UK citizenship?”

The Conservatives Kevin Foster said: “Border Force Officers examine all arriving passengers to establish whether they are British citizens, whether they require leave to enter or if they are exempt from immigration control.

“Where the passenger claims to be British, but does not hold any evidence of British citizenship, the officer will conduct all relevant checks to satisfy themselves the passenger is British.

Border control at Hamburg airport.

Border control at Hamburg airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

“When dual nationals who are eligible to use e-gates travel to the UK, they will enter via the e-gates without being examined by an immigration officer.

“We recommend all dual nationals, including EU citizens, travel on their British passport or with evidence or their British citizenship to minimise any potential delay at the border or when commencing their journey.”

The Local contacted the UK Home Office to ask if there was any official advice. 

A spokesman said: “An individual can present whichever passport they desire to enter the UK, however they will be subject to the entry requirements associated with the nationality of the passport they present.”

They said anyone who is looking for more information should check out guidance on entering the UK and on dual nationality.

In short, if you present a German passport on entry to the UK you will be treated the same as any other German citizen – which can include being quizzed about your reasons for visiting the UK – as border guards have no way of knowing that you are a dual-national. 

Do I have to carry both passports?

There’s no rule requiring you to have both passports, but you won’t get the benefits of a British passport (entry into the UK without questions) if you don’t show it.

Likewise if you are a French-British dual national and you enter France on your UK passport, you will need to use the non-EU queue and may have your passport stamped.

Should I think about anything else?

An important thing to remember is that if you apply for a visa and register your passport details, the same passport has to be used to enter the country. 

It could also make sense to travel with both passports, just in case. 

However, note that some countries – like the US – require that US nationals use a US passport to enter and leave the States even if they are dual nationals. 

In general, it’s best to use the same passport you entered a country with to depart.

The rules and systems are different depending on the country. But many countries require people to show their passport when leaving – and they will either stamp or scan the passport – this is how authorities know that a foreign visitor hasn’t overstayed their time in the country. 

So if your passport is checked as you leave the UK, you should show the one you arrived with, just to ensure there is a record of you arriving and leaving.

However as you enter France/Germany/other EU destination, you can show your EU passport in order to maximise the travel benefits of freedom of movement.