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'If Brexit happens I'm becoming French just to stay in EU'
Photo: AFP

'If Brexit happens I'm becoming French just to stay in EU'

The Local/AFP · 10 Jun 2016, 15:28

Published: 10 Jun 2016 15:28 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Jun 2016 15:28 GMT+02:00

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Growing fears among many expats that a Brexit could happen is forcing many of them to think about how life in France would be if the UK cut its ties with "the continent".

Most seem to believe life will continue pretty much as normal  - Brits won't be camped out at Calais waiting to catch a boat home - albeit things may get more complicated, but some of the more worried British immigrants in France want more guarantees than that.

One of the options, at least for those who have lived in France for five years or more, is to take French citizenship. 

And some are considering it.

Nick Wood said: "Already considered at the start of this Brexit farce. Will go ahead for sure if Brexit happens as it will be the only way to remain in the EU. Also don't want to have to get a visa to go in and out of my country of residence.

" My kids were all born in France and have lived here all their lives. I cannot risk them getting booted out of the ony home they know just because they are British citizens and Britain is no longer part of the EU.

Graham Franklin said: "I was considering it. Reading your post has helped me decide to go for it. I'm married to a French woman and we both work here in France. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction."

There are basically two main paths to French citizenship for those from the UK, and here's the step-by-step guide to both.
1. Naturalisation
If you're not married to a French person, this is the pathway that's most likely applicable to you. You need to have lived in France for five continuous years to be eligible, and you have to be able to prove that you have integrated into the French culture (and can speak French, bien sûr). 
If you're a tertiary student, it's a bit more relaxed, and you can be eligible for citizenship after two years if you've completed a master's degree or you can prove that your talents are an asset to France.
Sounds easy enough, but it can be a time-consuming affair - especially getting documents translated.
(Photo: AFP)
2. Marriage
Story continues below…
Have you been married to a French person for at least four years? Well, as long as you live together, then you're eligible for French citizenship too (if you don't live together, however, then you need to have been married for five years).
Of course, you need to still be married to the spouse upon application, they need to still have a French citizenship, and you need to show that you have a good knowledge of French. 
Susan Walton said: "I submitted my naturalisation request a year ago, and have a first interview with the prefecture scheduled. 

"The process has been somewhat simplified since I first considered it. But it took me about three days to work out what was required and dig out and photocopy the documentation.

"If you are over 60 the language requirements are reduced. I understand there is a new, even simpler, process in the pipeline for over-60's who are parents or grandparents of French citizens."

But for some the thought of becoming French is just too much, whether it meant an easier life or not. And it seems patriotic pride is the reason.

Andrea Jacobs said: "After 20 years of living in France. Husband French and two kids born in France there is still nothing in the world that could persuade me to take French nationality."

Gail Chudley said:  "I live in France but I am still proud to be English. No, I wouldn't become a French citizen."

Another reader wrote: "What a bunch of traitors".

And it's not just the Brits in France who are considering taking a new nationality to enable them to have a worry-free post Brexit.

Respondents to a survey by the community website France in London reflected similar worries of French expats in the UK.

While some talked of gaining British citizenship, others said they intended to leave the UK if the UK left Europe.

A IN vote in the June 23rd referendum will clearly calm a lot of fears, whether they are real or not and it will also save a lot of people some arduous paperwork.



The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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