The Imminence of Brexit has Boosted British Naturalisation in Occitanie

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Brexit boosts applications for French Nationality

SOCIETY: In the region of Occitanie, land of many British adoption, requests to obtain French nationality have greatly increased for three years

  • Since the June 23, 2016 referendum in favor of Brexit, many British nationals have decided to take French nationality.
  • In the South West, the land of many “British” adoption, the demands have doubled in the space of two years, sometimes even more.
  • Make very often by conviction, these requests take time in spite of the modalities put in place by the services of the State.

The sun sets this morning in March at the Café du Center terrace in Montcuq . Around a cream coffee and a cup of tea, discussions are often in English. This village in the depths of the Lot, made famous by  the comedian Daniel Prévost , has indeed looks very British for several years already. To the point that Friday night, a fish and chips is proposed à la carte.

“When I moved here ten years ago, everyone told me there were a lot of English people,” says Rosamund Williams , municipal councillor for the small town of less than 2,000 people. Subject of his Majesty, she is also for a little over a year a French citizen, ID card in support.

“I thought about it before Brexit . After the vote, I decided and as I could also keep my British nationality it was simpler, because I do not want to get rid of my roots completely, even if at this moment I’m really ashamed of the government in the language of Molière this retired microbiologist. Today president of a heritage association, if she wanted to remain elected from her adopted community, being European was also a prerequisite.

250% increase in French Nationality in Ariège

Marianne Fox, real estate agent in Mauvezin, shares this feeling. She applied only two days after the referendum. “And when I see everything that’s going on today , I think I’m right,” says the woman who settled in the Gers nineteen years ago.

“Making this step was pretty simple, I pay my taxes here, I spent almost half of my life, I feel European, British and French,” she insists. Beyond her attachment to the Frenchies and their country, she also sees a practical side to this new citizenship. “Having two passports also simplifies things because I travel and I still have family in England,” said Marianne, who went overseas in March, while making sure she was return before the date of March 29th.

Three years after the shock of the ballot box, when she sees the waiting time to get an appointment today in the prefecture, she does not regret having made her decision as of 2016. And like her, they are numerous to have skipped the past few months. In the Lot, where more than 2,300 British nationals reside according to INSEE, last year, 40 of them were naturalised, when they were only six two years earlier. In Ariège, this figure jumped by 250% between 2017 and 2018.

In Haute-Garonne, where requests went from 134 in the year of the referendum to 277 in 2018, the services of the regional prefecture opened a dedicated counter last November.

Length and administrative jungle

“But the delays are very long in Toulouse. It’s a challenge to find a niche, “says Curt. This Englishman, married to a Frenchwoman, has since September 2017 dual nationality. To help the British navigate through the administrative meanders, he manages a Facebook group dedicated to the issue , far from the commercial sites that have multiplied recently.

Everyone can solicit on the fly hoses on the pieces to be provided, from the marriage certificate of the parents to the sworn translations. Some also give their course of the combatant, like this national who was refused his file three times because of problems of parts, of which once for a badly stamped document.

A barrier of procedures that some have trouble passing. Airbus, which has about 800 British nationals in France , has approached the state services “to better understand the steps that will be made for these employees.”

Katie, in France for two years and whose husband is employed by the European aircraft manufacturer, took steps to have a residence card. And this has been faster than for a naturalisation application, which is never obtained. “I got it in five to six weeks. But it is true that for naturalisations it is the galley. My 78-year-old father-in-law, who has a house in the Tarn, filed his application three years ago and had it only five weeks ago, “confirms the mother who fears first of all after Brexit.

“We do not know anything. In 2016, during the referendum, we were not told what the consequences would be and people voted without knowing anything, “concludes a bit of a disappointed Julia Barton, settled as Rosamund Williams in Montcuq. At 77, she did not start the journey of naturalization, that of the residence card “is already complicated.” And she does not refrain from returning to England one day, even though today she has a “sad” look at the “madness” that has seized her country.

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