British in France rushing for citizenship rather than facing the unknown

Published:  21 May at 6 PM
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With just ten short months to go before Britain leaves the EU, UK citizens in France are rushing to gain French citizenship.

In a panic to ensure their futures in the land of their choice, Britons in France are deciding not to take the risk of waiting to hear the final Brexit deal before deciding whether or not to apply for French citizenship. Although the majority believe they will be able to keep living in France post-Brexit, the chaos surrounding the negotiations is unsettling enough to persuade increasing numbers to become citizens.

Between 2015 and the present day, the number of applications has soared from just 386 to 3,173 in 2017 and applicant numbers are expected to soar further as Brexit approaches. Estimates of the total numbers of British expats in France show between 150,000 and 200,000, without taking into account those who have not yet formally registered in their local district. Research conducted by the Remain in France Together protest group revealed many Britons are considering the last resort of applying for permanent residency should their rights to remain and work be revoked post-Brexit.

According to another report in a French newspaper, the continuance of benefit and pension payments as well as healthcare are also important in the decision. It’s also been revealed that a good number of expats have become estranged from the UK due to its present political path and are citing the fact that they now have more in common with French thinking than with the UK’s stance.

Deciding to become a French citizen is a daunting task involving endless documentation, all of which needs to be translated into the French language. In addition, applicants must take and pass a French language exam, and the entire process can take as long as 18 months to complete. It’s likely that a good few applicants may not have a decision until after the one-year transition period.
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