Well all things considered we have decided to make the move to become French. Several things have lead to this decision…. Brexit, kids schooling and sports specifically, and in general just loving the french way of life, culture and living in Brittany plus we have no intention at this time of leaving France. So now the fun starts…. the paperwork required is pretty impressive and the bureaucracy (one of the things I like least about France) is probably about to start raising my blood pressure. But I am motivated and will attempt to navigate my way through this potential mine field. Hopefully keeping a smile on my face.
So first to the issues of not being French – well this is more of a problem for my son who is very sporty. He has reached the age now where he can no longer compete at the highest level. For example, he finished 5th in France in Karate but after age 11 was told he can no longer compete because the Champion of France has to be French. Understandable really. So he has changed sport and now plays football and is a pretty good player. He is going for a sports scholarship in a school called the Pole Espoirs, translated to Centre of Hopes. This is run by the Department (County), the France Federation de Foot (FFF) and Nike, is supported by the local clubs (3 of which are in the equivalent of the Premiership), and also has links to the National Team. Now the local clubs will not give a hoot about his nationality but as this is also run by FFF this could be a potential problem. Plus to all intents and purposes Sam is very French. He speaks it fluently, has lived here since he was 2, goes to school here and his mates are all French. He even supports PSG (and Arsenal too (Simon wants this added)) and much to his dad’s chagrin, supported France in the Euros!
Evie is just as sporty but is younger so hasn’t hit any of these problems yet.
For me it just makes sense to be French as well. This will no doubt make running a business easier too. The number of times I fill in forms and am asked for my nationality is increasing so I have started the ball rolling and here is the list of what I must provide (in duplicate):
Completed Naturalisation forms for all of us
Birth Certificates along with translated certified copies
Marriage Certificates along with translated certified copies
Marriage Certificates of our parents along with translated certified copies
Birth Certificates of our parents along with translated certified copies
Details all of siblings and their address, previous names etc
Details of all previous addresses and jobs
Last 3 years worth of payslips/business accounts
Deeds to our property
Deeds to any overseas property
Attestation both children are schooled in France
and last but not least……
A diploma (degree level) in French that is recognised by the French authorities.
Now this is the tricky bit. I am due to sit the exam end of January and have restarted lessons. My French is OK but I make a lot of mistakes and in a test I will be marked down for these and my written French is terrible. So wish me luck. I will post updates on my progress (sometimes these may even be rants!). I will either be celebrating or commiserating by the end of January. Both indeed will involve wine (another thing I love about France!) Once I have the Diploma it will take at least another 12 months from then and no doubt a lot of officialdom.