Building a New Scotland: citizenship in an independent Scotland

This paper sets out the Scottish Government’s proposals for citizenship in an independent Scotland.


Citizenship is integral to statehood. The ability to define its citizens is an essential part of Scotland's journey to becoming an independent country. Our proposals on citizenship would form part of the interim constitution in the event that Scotland becomes independent. They have been set out in detail in this paper so that everyone involved in the discussion on Scotland's choice of constitutional future is clear where the Scottish Government stands and how they would be affected when the country makes that choice for independence.

Citizenship is important and there are rights attached to it. Being a Scottish citizen would be a meaningful, positive outcome of independence – the new right to hold a Scottish passport, continued rights in the CTA and, after Scotland's accession to the EU, resumed rights as EU citizens are all privileges that Scottish citizens would be able to enjoy.

Equally, though, this Scottish Government is clear that it would not be necessary to become a Scottish citizen in order to participate in and contribute to civic, social, cultural and economic life in Scotland.

People who could become Scottish citizens on independence would be able to continue to choose to be Scottish and British, or just Scottish, or just British – whichever is right for them.

Scotland is an open, inclusive and welcoming country. We would continue to be so for our closest neighbours in the UK and Ireland, for our fellow Europeans, and for anyone, anywhere in the world, who chooses to come to Scotland to live, work, study or raise a family. If they wish to take it up, the offer of becoming a Scottish citizen would be there following the proposed rules outlined in this paper – but we would continue to value all of the people of Scotland.

Scottish Government

July 2023



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