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EU Entry/Exit System: Why I’m getting a French passport before October



As a dual-nationality family with a second home in France, the introduction of the European Entry/Exit System (EES) has made British nationals like me more eager to obtain French citizenship. The EES, set to be implemented in October, will replace the current passport stamping system for Brits crossing the border into the EU. This means that British passport holders, including myself, will now need to provide biometric data such as fingerprints and facial scans before entering France through ports like LeShuttle, Eurostar, airports, and ferry terminals.

Travelers using LeShuttle have already noticed construction work to prepare for the EES implementation. British nationals will be directed to a pre-registration area at the terminals to provide their biometric details at new kiosks before crossing the border. EU nationals can pass through registration and passport control as usual, leaving non-EU nationals, like British citizens, to go through the additional process. While the initial registration will be time-consuming, subsequent trips will only involve a quick biometric check.

LeShuttle has made significant investments to counteract delays caused by the EES implementation, with over £67 million spent on installing 224 kiosks at Folkestone and Calais terminals. The company aims to process over 500 cars per hour with minimal impact on journey times. Eurostar is also investing in pre-check-in kiosks and reinforcing border control capacity at stations in London and Paris to accommodate the new system. However, delays may still occur as not all entities have fully prepared for the change.

For British nationals like me, obtaining French citizenship could make travel easier and avoid delays caused by the EES. As a French citizen, I would be exempt from the 90-day rule that restricts non-EU nationals from staying in the Schengen area beyond 90 days out of 180. Applying for French citizenship involves meeting certain requirements, including demonstrating proficiency in the French language and obtaining necessary documents such as birth certificates and a Livret de famille.

The process of acquiring French citizenship, while daunting, is necessary for British nationals looking to ease travel restrictions post-Brexit. The language requirement has been increased to an intermediate level, requiring applicants to prove their proficiency in French. Finding and organizing essential documents, such as birth certificates and the family book, can present challenges. However, the benefits of holding dual citizenship, including smoother travel experiences for the whole family, make the effort worthwhile.

In conclusion, the introduction of the EES will require British nationals to adapt to new travel protocols when visiting France. Obtaining French citizenship can alleviate the challenges posed by the EES and provide numerous benefits, including exemption from the 90-day rule. While the application process may be daunting, the long-term advantages make it a compelling option for dual-nationality families like mine. By embracing these changes and taking proactive steps towards citizenship, British nationals can ensure smoother travel experiences and avoid potential delays at border crossings.

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