The honour was bestowed on the former politician by Angus Council in recognition of his prominence in the political scene in Angus for almost 40 years.
Helen Oswald, the Provost of Angus, said: “To be admitted as an Honorary Freeman of the County is the highest civic honour that can be bestowed on an individual by the council and this illustrates the very high esteem that Andrew is held in for his long years of public service to the people of Angus.”
She added: “Andrew Welsh has dedicated his adult life to the service of the people of Angus. No other parliamentarian has given the years of service that he has, with over 18 years at Westminster, 12 years at Holyrood and three years as Provost of Angus. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this unique honour than Andrew Welsh.”
Mr Welsh left a career in teaching when he was elected to the South Angus seat as the first SNP MP to represent Angus in 1974. He lost the seat at General Election in May 1979 and became an Angus councillor in 1984, later becoming the first Provost of Angus.
He returned to Westminster as the MP for Angus in 1987 and was elected to the new Scottish Parliament in 1999 where he served as the MSP for Angus until his retirement in May 2011.
Mr Welsh was recently appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of the County and he has agreed to become an Angus Champion, working alongside the council for the benefit of the area.