Building a New Scotland: citizenship in an independent Scotland

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


This chapter sets out the Scottish Government's proposals for entitlement to a Scottish passport after independence. This would be for the Scottish Parliament to decide upon and enact relevant legislation.

Holding a Scottish passport would be a right available to Scottish citizens and citizens should be able to apply for and receive a passport from the first day of independence. Any currently valid UK passports would continue to be recognised in Scotland until their expiry date. It would not be a requirement of Scottish citizenship that you hold a Scottish passport.

The EU sets a number of standards for passports, visas and national identity cards.[76] These combine common technical requirements for document security with optional recommendations on design and size. Under our proposals, planning for new Scottish passports would follow EU standards and technical requirements. Scottish passports would also follow the EU recommended layout, size and colour: they would be available in lengths of five years for children and ten years for adults and would be burgundy red.

An independent Scotland would establish a passport and citizenship services office to issue passports and receive and determine applications to naturalise or register as a Scottish citizen.

Consular assistance while overseas

An independent Scotland would put in place arrangements to provide support to Scottish citizens who needed it while travelling, living or working abroad.

A key responsibility of any government is to ensure the safety and security of the nation, its people and their values and interests, both at home and abroad. That responsibility must be met within the context of a constantly changing world and be based on a robust assessment of risks and threats.

This government would propose to work with like-minded partners and allies to promote the values and interests that ultimately support the safety and security of our people. Consular services would be available, from travel advice through to emergency support in the event of a crisis abroad. We would achieve this the same way other countries do, through a network of embassies, consulates and through other means such as key partner countries, roaming diplomats and honorary consuls. As citizens of an EU member state, Scottish citizens travelling outside the EU would be entitled to seek consular assistance from the foreign missions of other member states where there is no Scottish diplomatic presence.[77] This would give us the means to reach all Scottish citizens in crises abroad. More detail will be provided in a forthcoming paper on Scotland's place in the world.



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