Home / Highlights / 2021
The acquisition of British citizenship by Portuguese in the United Kingdom remains high
Inês Vidigal
In 2019, 2,227 Portuguese opted for British citizenship, according to Gov UK data. This UK institution accounted for a total of 159,380 acquisitions of foreign citizenship, of which the Portuguese accounted for 1.4%. +

In relation to 2016, when Brexit was voted, the number of Portuguese choosing British nationality practically doubled from 672 in 2016 to 1,234 in 2017. Although there are several quarterly fluctuations in 2018 and 2019, the total number of Portuguese acquisitions in these years were the highest recorded since 2000 in the United Kingdom. In 2020, with the Brexit process already completed and Covid-19 having an impact on administrative processes, there is a large decrease in the 2nd quarter (even more marked in the total of acquisitions). However, despite the decreases in 2020 and the fact that these figures still only refer to the first nine months of the year, the total number of citizenships obtained was 1,484, exceeding the value recorded in 2017. This increase seems to be explained above all by the fears induced by Brexit and the reduction of rights associated with the status of foreigner that may result. The increase in the number of British citizenship acquisitions has catapulted the United Kingdom into second position, replacing France, as regards the acquisition of the nationality of the country of destination.





Cite as Vidigal, Inês (2021), “The acquisition of British citizenship by Portuguese in the United Kingdom remains high”, Observatório da Emigração


[By Inês Vidigal]

Observatório da Emigração Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

Av. das Forças Armadas,
1649-026 Lisboa, Portugal

T. (+351) 210 464 322

F. (+351) 217 940 074

Partners Support
ceg Logo IS logo_SOCIUS Logo_MNE Logo_Comunidades