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If for example a Spanish citizen happens to find two houses in two close cities that are close to each other (for example a French city and a Belgian city), applies for residency in both of them and manages somehow to afford rent costs and meet the work requirements in both countries (let's say for example he resides with him family in one country and pays rent on his own in the other one, and works part time in Belgium and part time in France, for a needed extension of time), and likewise also assuming that he manages not to let know each country's authorities about his own status in the other country (for example opening a bank account in a country exclusively with its own issued document, in order to avoid double taxation and using exclusively each document for its own territory), can he for example seek citizenship from both countries after 5 years (Belgium and France require 5 years for their citizenships)? Would it be legal to seek both citizenships in that case? In case this is illegal, how would he eventually be caught?

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    I’m voting to close this question because this question is asking for advice on the best way to avoid committing a fraudulent application for citizenship in 2 countries at the same time. It ignores the fact that nationalization is not soley based on residence. – Mark Johnson Feb 12 at 16:31
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    I did write about meeting work requirements as well. Check that – us er Feb 12 at 16:41
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    And by the way language knowledge, work requirements and whatnot were already assumed by default. – us er Feb 12 at 17:02
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    @us er Would the part time earnings in each location be sufficient to meet all the costs associated with that location? If not, how would you explain the discrepancy if asked to do so? Would you plan to seek citizenship from both locations at exactly the same time? How would you answer any questions about other citizenships? In applying for residency in the two cities, what trail would there be linking those applications back to you as a Spanish citizen? How would you deal with eg future passport applications that might ask about other citizenships? You’d be weaving a complicated web of lies – Traveller Feb 12 at 20:46
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    My question was purely hypothetical, I don't even live in France nor in Belgium – us er Feb 12 at 21:37
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Since you mention France, the residence requirement for naturalisation has been interpreted as having the “center of your life” in France. For example, if you live in France and your spouse and children live abroad, naturalisation can be denied. It's deliberately not about meeting formal criteria (like spending a predefined number of days in France) but by definition excludes living a life split between two countries and gives the authorities and justice system complete flexibility to deal with such cases.

In practice, what happens during a naturalisation procedure is that you will at least have an interview with the police (probably an officer of the General Directorate for Internal Security) and the mayor of the town where you live will be asked for an opinion (in a small town, s/he might know you or inquire in person, in large city, they would typically mandate a social worker to pay a visit to your address). It's not a deep investigation but it might still be difficult to hide the fact you have a kind of double life to them.

Another way this could come back to haunt you is that if you run into some serious problem with the law (or even, possibly, with a private citizen who has reasons to report you to the authorities) at a later point. It's entirely possible for the original decision to be invalidated as fraudulent. At this point, any action you took to dissimulate your true situation (like failing to report income or opening two bank accounts) only make matters worse as they establish fraudulent intent.

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  • Ok, but how would they realise when such an individual exits France, if Belgium and France have basically no border checks and hence no date stamps? – us er Feb 12 at 21:42
  • And how would they realise if this individual has opened also a bank account in the other country, if he uses only each ID in its own issuing country? If this person uses a Belgian ID with Belgian address to open a bank account in Belgium and likewise for the French counterpart with its relative same features, how can they eventually cross check data? Obviously I'm not intending to do that, but I just wonder how they would catch such an individual, if he manages not to get any interception in terms of information – us er Feb 12 at 21:49
  • @user That's exactly what the second paragraph is about. This other answer of mine also seems relevant. As I explained (and unlike some other countries), France doesn't have any hard threshold for trips abroad. – Relaxed Feb 12 at 21:52
  • Ok, regarding staying authorities cannot do that much, but what about the bank accounts opened with two different IDs (Belgium and France allow EU citizens to request a card specific for them) used each one for its own issuing place? Either they have a big bank accounts/fiscal registry including multiple countries' citizens or they exchange data between countries, even though I don't know on which criteria they do so is they have nothing to be assuming over – us er Feb 12 at 22:02
  • @user And that's what the third paragraph is about. Just to give one example, one way it could be discovered is by a police search finding some paper from your other bank. Of course until you attract that kind of attention, you might very well be able to hide it. – Relaxed Feb 12 at 22:06

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