Five-Fold Increase in UK-Born Dual Citizens with British and EU Passports

Five-Fold Increase in UK-Born Dual Citizens with British and EU Passports

The number of individuals holding multiple passports in England and Wales has seen a significant increase, doubling over the past decade.

Census 2021 figures revealed a five-fold surge in UK-born residents holding both British and EU passports.

While this surge is partly attributed to increased migration from the EU, it is also linked to more people obtaining additional passports post-Brexit, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The Numbers and Trends

In 2021, a total of 1.26 million usual residents in England and Wales (2.1%) held multiple passports, compared to 612,000 (1.1%) in 2011.

The majority, comprising 84.4% or 50.3 million people, still held only one passport in 2021.

The number of UK-born residents with UK/EU dual citizenship increased fivefold over the decade, while non-UK-born residents witnessed a three-fold rise since 2011.

There was also a five-fold increase in UK-born residents holding both British and Irish passports.

Brexit and Free Movement Impact

The surge in dual citizenship might indicate a greater uptake of additional passports following the end of free movement when the UK departed from the European Union.

Jay Lindop, an ONS representative, pointed out that this change is partly due to migration, with an increase in EU nationals settling in England and Wales.

As these settled individuals have children, there is an evident rise in dual citizenship among younger age groups.

Age Differences in Dual Citizenship

There are notable age differences among dual citizens.

For UK-born British and European dual citizens, younger age groups dominate, with 58.7% being under 16. Conversely, 36.7% of UK and non-EU dual citizens fall into the same age group.

The median age for UK/EU dual citizens is 12, while EU-only passport holders have an average age of eight.

Non-EU dual citizens have a median age of 22, and UK/Irish dual citizens tend to be older, with a median age of 47.

Irish-only passport holders have a median age of 33.

A noteworthy increase in UK/Irish dual citizens aged 50 to 70 suggests that many acquired dual nationality later, despite having moved to England and Wales years ago.

Passport Breakdown

The top five UK/EU passports for UK-born dual citizens are primarily held by children or young adults, with Ireland being the exception.

For UK/French and UK/German passport holders, the median age is 15, while for UK/Polish, it’s seven, and for UK/Italian, it’s 20.

The five most common non-EU passports for UK-born dual citizens have a broader range of average ages.

UK-Australian dual citizens have a median age of 39, UK-US dual citizens are around 21, UK-Nigerian dual citizens have an average age of 19, UK-Canadian dual citizens are about 36, and UK-New Zealand dual citizens have a median age of 28.

These young ages suggest that most UK/other dual citizens are the children of first-generation migrants.

The reasons for holding multiple passports may vary between those who obtained a UK passport first and those who obtained a non-UK passport initially.

It’s important to note that the census does not collect data on when passports were acquired.