EXPLAINED: The French far-right's proposal to ban dual nationals from certain jobs

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: The French far-right's proposal to ban dual nationals from certain jobs
Rassemblement National leader Marine Le Pen and deputy Sebastien Chenu. Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

Since the start of the snap election campaign Marine Le Pen's far-right Rassemblement National party has delivered mixed messages on people who hold two nationalities - we take a look at the party's policy on dual nationality, and French citizenship for foreigners.


At the start of the election campaign, the deputy leader of the far-right Rassemblement National party gave a TV interview in which, among other things, he called on France to end the practice of allowing dual nationality.

He said: "Outside European countries, when you have a nationality, you have one because it says a lot about who you are, what you're attached to - you can't be French for some things and Uruguayan for others."

Sébastien Chenu's comments caused confusion because although party boss Marine Le Pen had previously had a policy of banning dual nationality, she scrapped this idea in 2022.


Chenu swiftly issued an apology saying that he was mistaken.

However, a few days later French daily Le Monde revealed that the party also has plans to ban dual nationals from working in public sector jobs.

Speaking in the pre-election TV debate on Tuesday night, party leader Jordan Bardella listed the dual-nationals job ban as one of the party's key priorities in office. 

As part of the party's 'French preference' policy for employment, it also proposes to prohibit "access to jobs in government departments, public companies and legal entities entrusted with a public service mission to people who hold the nationality of another state".

READ ALSO What is 'national preference' and how would it hurt foreigners?

This would include both people who have gained French citizenship through naturalisation and people who have been dual nationals from birth, by virtue of having a non-French parent.


Although the party offers little detail, French media report that it would concern 'sensitive' roles within the public sector, with a full list of the jobs affected published by decree (but only after the election).

French media also suggests that the ban would not affect people who have dual nationality with another EU country, although the party has not confirmed this.

Current policy 

At present France has no restrictions on dual nationality - which means that any foreigners who gain French citizenship are not required to give up any other passports that they may hold (unless their home country requires it - for example India requires any of its citizens who gain another nationality to give up their Indian passport).

France is also one of the more generous countries in Europe when it comes to granting citizenship - those applying through residency are only required to have lived in France for five years, while many other European countries require 10 years of residency.

READ ALSO Am I eligible for French citizenship 

Candidates are however required to speak French and to prove their integration into French life via an interview where they can be grilled on anything from the French political system to the language that they speak at home. 

There are no restrictions on employment (or anything else) for dual nationals - certain high-level government posts are restricted to French citizens, but that includes dual nationals.

Once you become French you should be treated by the administration in the same way as someone who has been French from birth.

Rassemblement National policy

In 2017, part of Le Pen's platform was suppression of dual nationality for non-EU citizens - so for example it would be possible to be a French-German dual national but not to hold both French and American passports.

There are some countries in Europe that have similar policies - for example Austria bans dual nationality for people who have gained Austrian citizenship through naturalisation, although those who have two passports through blood ties can keep them. Germany previously forbade dual nationality for non-EU nationals, although it has recently repealed this ban.

However by the time the 2022 elections came round Le Pen had abandoned the proposal, saying: "I've met thousands of people, for example Moroccans who, legally, can't renounce their nationality because their country forbids it. Honestly, I prefer to put that aside because it's like putting salt on open wounds."

Politicians coming up with policies without doing basic research? Never. 

So it seems that at present, RN has no plans to change rules on dual nationals and people would still be able to gain French citizenship and keep their previous nationality.

However, the 'French preference' policy discriminates against those who hold dual nationality - outlawing them from taking up public sector jobs.

Bardella also seemed to make a distinction against dual nationals when he said: "French people of foreign origin or nationality have nothing to fear, if they work, pay their taxes, pay their contributions, respect the law...".

This was later blamed on a slip of the tongue.


When it comes to French citizenship Le Pen said that she would allow it only to people who have "earned it and assimilated" - although she did not specify how this would be different to the current process, which already requires a French test and an interview on French culture for those applying through residency or marriage.

The 2022 immigration law raises the language requirement from B1 to B2 for those applying through residency - further changes could be another hike in the language level required or raising the qualifying period for those applying for residency from five years.

Currently France has one of the most generous residency requirements in Europe, many other countries require 10 years of residency.

You can find the full details of Le Pen's party's 2024 manifesto HERE.

READ ALSO What would a far-right prime minister mean for foreigners in France


Comments (1)

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Harriet 2024/06/24 16:20
To be fair many countries won’t let you take up certain roles (ie intelligence services) if you are a naturalised citizen - it’s often an unwritten rule but it happens in practice, and even affects those married to overseas nationals.

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