Please note that the Scottish Parliament is not responsible for the content of any external websites.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the full name of the country. Scotland is a kingdom within the United Kingdom (UK), and forms part of Britain (the largest island) and Great Britain (which includes the Scottish islands).
As the UK has no written constitution in the usual sense, constitutional terminology is fraught with difficulties of interpretation and it is common usage nowadays to describe the four constituent parts of the UK (Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland) as “countries”.
Information about coming to live, work or study in Scotland is available on the Talent Scotland website or by contacting the Scottish Government's Relocation Advisory Service.
Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom, and immigration and nationality are reserved matters. You should therefore apply for British citizenship, as there is no separate category of Scottish citizenship.
Information on how to obtain British citizenship is available from the UK Border Agency. The UK Border Agency is part of the Home Office, which is a department of the UK Government.
The Scottish Parliament does not hold genealogical information and we are unable to help you trace your ancestors.
The General Register Office for Scotland and the National Archives of Scotland provide useful information for those wishing to trace Scottish ancestors and the ScotlandsPeople database contains a wide variety of online records for Scotland. (On 1 April 2011 the National Archives of Scotland and General Register Office for Scotland were amalgamated to form National Records of Scotland.)
At its meeting on 18 February 2003, the Scottish Parliament's Education, Culture and Sport Committee recommended that Pantone 300 should be recognised as the correct colour of azure blue for the Saltire. (This was an advisory decision on the part of the committee and does not have statutory force.)
Bank holidays have their basis in the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 and their dates are the same across Scotland. Local holidays are not prescribed in statute, and the dates vary from area to area across the country. They are usually agreed after consultation between local government, local business interests and other interested local parties.
A list of statutory bank holidays in Scotland through to 2012 is available on the Scottish Government website.
The Scottish Parliament is not responsible for awarding honours. Information on how you can nominate someone for a UK honour is available from the Honours and Appointments Secretariat, which is part of the Cabinet Office.
The Sovereign sends congratulatory messages to those celebrating their 100th and 105th birthday and every year thereafter, and to those celebrating their diamond (60th), 65th and 70th wedding anniversaries and every year thereafter. Information on how to apply for a message is available on the website of the British monarchy.
The Boundary Commission for Scotland produces and publishes detailed boundary maps, including maps of Scottish Parliament constituencies and regions.
Detailed maps of Scottish Parliament constituencies and regions are also available on the Ordnance Survey Election Maps website.
No – since the UK general election in May 2005, the constituency boundaries in Scotland for the UK Parliament have differed from those for the Scottish Parliament.
The Scotland Act 1998 set out that the constituencies of the Scottish Parliament were to be the same as those for the United Kingdom Parliament, except that Orkney and Shetland were to be separate constituencies.
Following a review, the Boundary Commission for Scotland proposed that the boundaries of Scottish constituencies for the UK Parliament should be changed and their number reduced from 72 to 59. These changes were agreed by the UK Parliament, and the details are set out in the Parliamentary Constituencies (Scotland) Order 2005.
In order to avoid reducing the number of MSPs, the UK Parliament passed the Scottish Parliament (Constituencies) Act 2004. This piece of legislation modified the Scotland Act 1998 by removing the necessary link between the Scottish Parliament constituencies and those for the UK Parliament. This means that the Scottish Parliament continues to have 73 constituencies.
Constituency boundary maps for Scotland are produced by the Boundary Commission for Scotland and its website includes maps of the Scottish Parliament constituencies used for the 2011 election. Maps of Scottish constituencies and regions are also available on the Ordnance Survey Election Maps website.