Survey shows Brit expats in France ambivalent on citizenship

Published:  3 Apr at 6 PM
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In spite of the considerable number of British expats applying to become French citizens, the option isn’t the best one for many.

Obviously, the motivation for the massive increase in the numbers of Brits looking to become French citizens isn’t because they wish they’d been born French – it’s because this is the only way to ensure their long-term futures in their chosen country. Every applicant knows full well that along with permanent residency in France comes the coveted right to post-Brexit free movement across the entire EU.

Even as applicant numbers increase, there are many Britons who, for reasons either practical or in principle,are unwilling to commit to being citizens of France. One Brit who’s lived in France’s southwestern corner for five years doesn’t want to become French and believes the French shouldn't have her foisted on them. She loves France, but feels using citizenship to get what she’s likely to lose due to the UK’s appalling inability to see straight just isn’t fair to the French, and she’s not alone in her opinion.

Research by campaign group Remain in France Together (RIFT) has revealed many British expatriates consider becoming French as the solution of last resort and are dreading having to make the choice. RIFT’s citizenship survey of 800 plus UK expats showed 40 per cent of respondents saying they’d only apply if it really was the only alternative to being forced back to the UK. Many others cited hypocrisy as a fit description of becoming French in order to stay, with others saying it was dishonest to use citizenship as a way to get round new rules.

A number of respondents said they felt resentment that they’d been forced into an expensive, lengthy application process by a farcical referendum in which they didn’t even have the right to vote due to the 15-year disenfranchisement rule. One respondent claimed no patriotic feelings towards either country, but would be happy to continue living in France as he prized his European citizenship, and others were dismayed at the lengthy citizenship process and the vast amounts of documentation necessary.
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