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Historically it was not unknown for EU nationals from former Communist countries to acquire British citizenship, not because they desperately needed it to conduct their lives, but because they feared that it just might be possible that one day their country of origin would revert to oppressive Communist rule, and they wanted to feel safe.

This was understandable, but now there is a probably more pressing reason for Europeans to acquire British citizenship if they can, or at least Permanent Residence:  Brexit (for the uninitiated, that means British exit from the EU).

If the UK does leave the EU the position of Europeans exercising EC Treaty rights in the UK would be uncertain, and for obvious reasons this is very worrying for them. There has recently been a surge in European applications both for Permanent Residence and British citizenship.

Figures from the Home Office show that applications for British citizenship by EU nationals surged in the last quarter of 2015 surged by about 20 per cent.

If the UK votes not to leave the EU those who have acquired British citizenship may not have completely wasted their time and money: the British passport, as well as having a nice picture of the British coat of arms and some strange words in French, is one of the very best in the world for visa-free travel.

 

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