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French/US Citizenship

Posted by MickaelB - Created: 16 years ago
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7 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 7)

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Posted by szozu - 16 years ago

It's very difficult to lose your US citizenship these days. I suspect that the benevolent attitude towards dual nationality is motivated by an eagerness for your tax dollars. Even if you were to walk into an American Consulate and hand over your passport, they would be inclined to conclude that you were renouncing your citizenship only to avoid paying taxes. The thinking is that everyone wants to be an American and that no one would willingly give up their citizenship unless it were for dubious reasons.

For a real eye-opener, read this article, entitled U.S. Makes It Harder to Renounce Citizenship, which you may find it much more enlightening than the quotes found further down.

Of course, what with the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and personal freedom being undermined these days, everything could change at some point. There is even talk of making it possible for naturalized citizens to become president, leading the way for "The Terminator" to rise to the highest office in the land. I'm sure though, that the IRS's greed will continue to be the motivating factor in determining citizenship.

Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act states that US citizens are subject to loss of citizenship if they perform certain acts voluntarily with the intention to relinquish US citizenship. These acts are:

becoming a naturalized citizen of a foreign state; taking an oath, affirmation or other formal declaration to a foreign state or its political subdivisions; entering or serving in the armed forces of a foreign state engaged in hostilities against the US or serving as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer in the armed forces of a foreign state; accepting employment with a foreign government if (a) one has the nationality of that state or (b) a declaration of allegiance is required in accepting the position; formally renouncing US citizenship before a US consular officer outside of the United States; formally renouncing US citizenship within the US (but only in time of war); conviction for an act of treason.

The Department of State is responsible for determining the citizenship status of a person located outside of the United States. When such cases come to the attention of a US consular officer, the person concerned will be asked to complete a questionnaire to ascertain his/her intention to relinquish US citizenship. Unless that person clearly and affirmatively asserts that it was his/her intention to relinquish US citizenship, the consular officer is required by law to assume that the person acted with the intention to retain his/her US citizenship, and therefore rule that the person did not lose his/her US citizenship.

Consequently a person will be judged to have lost nationality only in those cases where:

the individual formally renounces US citizenship in writing before a consular officer; takes a policy level position in a foreign state; is convicted of treason; or the expatriating act is accompanied by conduct which is so inconsistent with retention of US citizenship that it compels a conclusion that the person intended to relinquish US citizenship (such cases are very rare).


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Posted by C J Flynn - 16 years ago

I am not a lawyer, nor do I have ADSL at home.But I did find several good sites with a Google search about this topic, one on the US Dept of State site. http://travel.state.gov/dualnationality.htmlThis site &lt1;http://www.richw.org/dualcit/&gt1; summarizes best what others also seem to say. Essentially, there were american laws that would have stripped one of citizenship if another citizenship is taken, but for the most part they have been stricken down by the Supreme Court in several cases. There is a quirk in this generality for a naturalized citizen to the US for the courts left a hole for Congress to make citizenship less than solid for them. There seems to be another quirk for citizens who have made remarks that would show incompatible sympathies with the foriegn country...as the State Department says:quote:Also, a person who is automatically granted another citizenship does not risk losing U.S. citizenship. However, a person who acquires a foreign citizenship by applying for it may lose U.S. citizenship. In order to lose U.S. citizenship, the law requires that the person must apply for the foreign citizenship voluntarily, by free choice, and with the intention to give up U.S. citizenship. Intent can be shown by the person's statements or conduct.id=quote>I would have to worry about the bush administration seeing my political website should I take citizenship in France...I doubt if truth would be a significant defense. Does your wife now, or ever said, anything that could be interpreted as being against the US government? C J Flynn

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Posted by Joelle-187653 - 16 years ago

I am not sure your wife can become French without losing her American nationality. A French citizen can opt for another nationality without losing his French nationality, but it is not true for all countries. You should check first with the American embassy.Good luck,Joëlle

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Posted by Ellen7-187820 - 16 years ago

I don't know exactly, I'm just reporting what I've been told.  I was told 60E. I know that's not extreme but the French ID is free and serves for the whole of the EU. My friends said that for travelling inside the EU they used their free French IDs and for outside, their American passports.

Of course the advantage of a French passport compared to a British one, is you can put your kids on it.


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Posted by legend_in_my_lunchtime-182603 - 16 years ago

just out of interest - why is it expensive?  How much are you talking about?

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Posted by Ellen7-187820 - 16 years ago

I applied for French nationality by marriage last month. A lot of the paperwork I had to provide was to prove my husband's residency in France. I registered the paperwork on 23rd September, have the official meeting with the judge on 10th November and then I was told that I should have an answer next summer. I'm in no hurry, I've been here 12 years.

As angel says, France doesn't require people to renounce their original nationality, nor does the US (unlike French/German nationality, which isn't accepted)

According to American friends who have both nationalities; it's not worth the while getting a French passport (which is expensive) an ID card is sufficiant for the EU and it's best to use the American passport when entering or leaving that country.


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Posted by angel-187474 - 16 years ago

France does not require one to renounce their nationality of origin.  Your wife should be able to make the application after a year's residency in France with yourself.  However, I know there are now only two persons handling all immigration (citizenship/naturalisation) applications for all of France.  This means that once you have submitted the dossier, there is currently a 30 month queue before the processing of your application can then be commenced.

Further info can be found here.


xx. A