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Citizenship News

EUDO CITIZENSHIP offers a selection of media reports and news summaries on significant legislative changes, court decisions, policy developments, political campaigns or other events concerning citizenship in Europe and beyond.

We welcome suggestions for news items by our users. Proposals including the full text or internet link should be sent to EUDO.Citizenship@eui.eu. The EUDO CITIZENSHIP team will selectively publish news based on their significance and information content. We will not publish items whose content appears to be biased or otherwise problematic.

We will publish news in any European language if an English summary of the content is available.

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British Sephardic Jews apply for Portuguese passports after Brexit

The decision of the United Kingdom (UK) to leave the European Union (EU) has caused an increase in the number of British Sephardic Jews seeking Portuguese citizenship. In recent years, Portugal and Spain have readopted laws facilitating the return of descendants of Jews expelled from the Iberian peninsula in late 15th century.

Read full text in The Guardian, and for a detailed overview of present and past citizenship legislation in Portugal consult our country profile pages.

Trump: citizenship revocation for burning the US flag

On 29 November, the president-elect of the United States Donald Trump tweeted that individuals who burn the US flag should bear the consequences of their act, such as ‘perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail’. The tweet was motivated by the action of a student ay Hampshire College Massachusetts who burned a US flag in protest over Trump’s victory in the election.

Read more in The Atlantic.

For details of current and past citizenship legislation in the US, check out our country profile pages.

Dissidents in the Gulf states stripped of their citizenship

The Economist writes that following their independence from the British rule, many Gulf states have started stripping dissidents and their families of their citizenship, often rendering them stateless. Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar have all resorted to citizenship revocation as a mechanism of maintaining control over their subjects. 


Read the full text in The Economist

Post-Brexit citizenship for British EU officials? Residency issues

Jonathan Faull, the former leader of the Commission’s Brexit task force, requested a ‘high level action’ by the Commission to facilitate the acquisition of dual nationality for British European Union (EU) officials in Belgium and other countries. 

British officials seeking Belgian citizenship need to have five years of legal residence, commonly evidenced by paying employment tax and health insurance, or having a national ID. However, employees of the EU do not pay taxes to the Belgian government directly and hence have no tax residency. They also have special EU IDs, hence a further hurdle in proving residency.

Read full text at Politico.

For details of current and past citizenship legislation in Belgium, check out our country profile pages.

UK Supreme Court: denial of automatic citizenship at birth to children born out of wedlock is discriminatory

In R (Johnson) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] UKSC 56, the UK Supreme Court unanimously decided that deporting an individual who would have had British citizenship but for the marital status of his or her parents is a violation of article 8 of ECHR (right to respect for private and family life)in conjunction with article 14 of that convention (general  prohibition of discrimination).

The case concerned Mr Johnson, born in Jamaica in 1985 to a British father and a Jamaican mother who were not legally married. The absence of marriage did not allow Mr Johnson to automatically obtain British citizenship through his father. In 1992, Mr Johnson was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, but has never formally registered as a British citizen. 

Mr Johnson was convicted of manslaughter in 2003 and sentenced to nine years in prison. Being a foreign national sentenced to over one year in prison, Mr Johnson was bound to be deported under the 2007 Borders Act, unless this would have breached his rights under the ECHR. The Supreme Court ruling is the judgment of the highest instance in this case.


For more details, read Aidan Wills's UKSC blog and Colin Yeo's analysis at Freemovement.org .

See our previous news item on cases of children in the UK who were not automatically granted citizenship at birth.

For details of current and past citizenship legislation in the UK, check out our country profile pages.