Why a French passport is the 'best' one to have

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Why a French passport is the 'best' one to have
The most valuable passport in the world, according to a new report. Photo: AFP

If you're living in a country, being a citizen obviously gives you a few extra advantages - but a new report claims that a French passport is the most valuable in the world. So let's see what that little red book gives you.


The new report - put together by a Dutch academic and a Swiss immigration lawyer - scores France highest in the world for the 'value' of its passport.

The scoring system gives countries points for the quality of life people can expect in that country, with factors such as economic development, human development and the peace and stability of the country.

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But it also counts external factors and this is what propels France into the lead - due to a combination of its membership of the EU and agreements with many of its former colonies, there are 160 countries in the world that French passport holders can travel to without needing a visa, and 50 where they can live and work visa-free.

So visa free travel aside, what else will a French passport get you that mere long-term residency will not?

The right to vote - residents can vote in some local elections and people from EU countries can vote in European elections, but if you want to have a say in who gets to be the next French president, you will need to be a citizen. 

The right to become a French politician - or you could aim to be the next French president yourself. With citizenship comes the right to stand for office, and there's no limit as to how high you can aim as unlike some countries France has no rule saying that the president has to be born in the country. In 2012 Green politician Eva Joly, who was born in Norway, stood for president (although she didn't win). More successfully, former prime minister Manuel Valls was born in Spain and current French government spokesman Sibeth Ndiaye was born in Senegal.

The right to commit crimes - Certain types of criminal conviction are likely to prove a barrier to renewing your residency status, but once you are a citizen it is much harder for France to get rid of you. People can be stripped of their citizenship, but this is usually only used in cases of very serious crime indeed, such as terrorism offences.

The right to stop filling in forms - OK, not completely, living in France is always going to involve a fair amount of paperwork, this is the home of bureaucracy after all. But gaining citizenship relieves you of the obligation to be renewing residency permits. It's not officially stated, but being French is also likely to be an advantage if you're applying for a job, as employers know they will be spared residency hassles. 

The right to move - as a citizen of an EU member state, you will then have the right under freedom of movement to live and work in any of the 27 (soon to be 26) other EU countries. Plus as mentioned above you can also travel visa free to countries such as Morocco, Algeria and Vietnam.

The right to a shorter queue - when coming back into France you can access the EU arrivals queue which is generally much faster moving than the 'other nationalities' section.

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