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FRENCH CITIZENSHIP

Reader question: Does France allow dual nationality?

There are many reasons to apply for French citizenship: from getting the right to vote in elections to faster airport queues - but does it affect your original nationality?

French LGBT protestors at a rally.
Fancy dress is strictly optional for those who take French citizenship. Photo by PIERRE ANDRIEU / AFP)

Question: I live in France but was born overseas. I have been thinking about applying for citizenship here but am not sure whether France would allow me to have the status of dual national. Is this possible? 

There are many reasons why applying for French citizenship could be a good idea: you gain the right to live and work in France indefinitely and to move to any EU country; you get the right to vote in French elections; your children will inherit French nationality; and you can use the (usually faster) EU passport line at the airport.  

The most common routes for gaining French citizenship are through living in France for at least five years (or even less if you have studied at a French university) or by being married to a French person for at least four years. 

READ MORE Am I eligible for French citizenship?

But you may be wondering what this means in terms of dual nationality. 

The good news is that France accepts dual citizenship. This means that the Government has no problems with you becoming a French citizen while retaining citizenship of your home country. 

Not all countries are as flexible. Until recently, non-EU citizens applying for citizenship in Germany, for example, would have to renounce citizenship of their own country. 

READ MORE What’s the difference between French residency and citizenship?

While the French Government might not have any issue with dual citizenship, your home country might. In India for example, the constitution forbids someone from holding Indian nationality and citizenship of another country at the same time. 

The UK government has had the power to strip dual-nationals of their British citizenship since 2006 – in practice, this power has been overwhelmingly used in the context of the war on terror. 

READ MORE Should I go for French citizenship and if so where do I start?

The current UK government is trying to push through a law that means it will be possible to strip dual-national Britons of their British citizenship without warning, which would make the appeals process more difficult. The UK government has insisted that the law would only be applied to people who pose a threat to the UK. 

The United States allows people to have dual citizenship, although bear in mind that you will almost certainly still have to file a US tax return even if you move away and take on another nationality. 

If you are in doubt, you should check the nationality rules of your country of origin. Some allow for dual citizenship while others don’t. Others have special rules that apply to dual nationals – for example, if you are Egyptian and then apply for dual citizenship in France, you cannot run as an MP in Egypt. 

Some countries allow you to hold even more than two nationalities. The French government says in theory, there is no limit on how many nationalities you can hold alongside French citizenship. The difficulty is more likely to come from the authorities of other countries. 

As a naturalised French citizen you can have French citizenship stripped under certain conditions, such as committing acts of terrorism; joining the armed forces or other public services of another country; or you commit acts that go against the interest of the French state. 

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BREXIT

Reader question: Can I post books from the UK to France?

There appears to be some confusion around the post-Brexit rules on sending books and other printed items between France and the UK - we break down the rules.

Reader question: Can I post books from the UK to France?

Question: I’ve been told by relatives in the UK that Royal Mail is saying that books can no longer be posted to France because of Brexit, surely that can’t be right?

Brexit has brought in a host of changes to posting things between France and the UK.

Since the end of the Brexit transition period there are things that can no longer be brought into France without appropriate paperwork, and this includes sending things through the post.

Animal products such as meat, some types of fish and diary products cannot be brought in without veterinary certificates and this also covers postage – so for example posting a box of (milk) chocolates would no longer be allowed.

You can find the full list of banned items HERE.

Then there are certain items that are banned in all parcel types because of safety concerns – they include ammunition, lighters and aerosols. Lithium batteries are allowed provided they are installed in a device such as a mobile phone – full details here.

Also banned from being sent through the mail in all circumstances are counterfeit or pirated items, coins or live animals.

None of these lists, however, include books and these can still be posted from the UK to France.

The confusion appears to have stemmed from the British postal service Royal Mail incorrectly advising customers that books cannot be sent to France.

However, a Royal Mail spokesman confirmed to The Local that this is not the case, books can be sent from the UK to France and the Royal Mail advice page has now been updated accordingly.

You can find the full rules here.

Although books can be posted, there are other considerations to bear in mind – all items that are allowed need to be posted with a filled-out customs declaration detailing the contents of the package and its approximate value.

Customs duty applies in some circumstances, so if the sender has not paid this then you will unfortunately be hit with a bill before you can collect your item.

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