For members


Reader question: What changes for me in France if I get an Irish passport?

Reader Question: I am a non-EU national of Irish descent living in France, and I have recently successfully applied for Irish nationality. What changes for me and do I need to tell French authorities about my new passport?

A laptop is displaying the online application for the Irish passport with an Irish passport replica stood up right, next to the screen.
Many Brits have gained Irish citizenship since Brexit. Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

Irish nationals, in common with all other citizens of EU Member States, can live, work, study, retire and travel in France without having to register with the authorities.

Through Freedom of Movement they also avoid the pesky 90-day rule.

This applies to anyone who has gained citizenship of any EU country, but Ireland’s generous approach to citizenship through ancestry means that it is a popular choice for non-EU nationals such as Brits, Americans or Australians who have Irish family connections.

But once you’ve got that precious passport, what next?

Moving to France

Residency – if you wish to move to France you can do so with a minimum of paperwork and there is no need for a visa or carte de séjour residency permit, although you may apply for one if you wish. For dual nationals, the Irish government says having the residency card ‘may facilitate dealings with French administration.

If you have a spouse or registered partner who is a non-EU citizen, then they are entitled to apply for a spouse visa as the spouse or partner of an EU citizen. 

Visits – if you just want to visit France then you can do so with no need to limit your stays to 90 days in every 180 – as non-EU citizens must. There is no need for a visa for travel.

Work – if you wish to work in France, either on an ad-hoc basis or by moving here and working full time, then you may do so and have no need for a work permit.

Healthcare – if you move to France you need to register for a carte vitale to ensure that you are within the French health system – here’s how. The process of registering is not very different for EU and non-EU nationals, but as an EU citizen you will need to provide only your passport to establish your right to be in France. 

Taxes – if you live in France you must file an annual tax declaration, even if you do not have any income in France. This rule is the same for EU and non-EU nationals. 

EXPLAINED Who has to make a tax declaration in France

Voting – as an EU national you are entitled to vote in local and European elections, but not presidential elections. You will need to register to get your name on the electoral roll. 

Already in France

If you are already in France you will be registered in various databases under your original nationality.

But if you then gain Irish citizenship and you wish to ensure you are considered an Irish citizen by the French authorities – which as shown above gives you some considerable advantages – then you need to inform all necessary administrative bodies. 

The unfortunate truth is that you will have to contact relevant bodies individually, there is no magical button you can press to switch your status to Irish in all French government databases. 

So you will need to re-sign onto the electoral roll to be able to vote in local and European elections.

You will have to contact CPAM to update the information linked to your carte vitale – this can be done online via your Ameli account.

If you are working you should inform your company’s HR department of the change, so that you are not incorrectly asked for proof of residency at any time in the future.

Basically, you should contact any official bodies that you may have already registered with under your non-EU nationality.

Each body is likely to want proof of your new citizenship before they make changes on their systems – so, in practical terms, there’s a lot of paperwork coming your way.


It may sound obvious, but if you want to benefit from European freedom of movement at the border, you need to make sure you are using your Irish passport to travel on.

Member comments

  1. Just one detail: as an EU citizen you can indeed vote in European and local council elections but not departmental or regional elections.

  2. “If you have a spouse or registered partner who is a non-EU citizen, then they are entitled to apply for a spouse visa as the spouse or partner of an EU citizen.”
    I was under the impression that a non-EU spouse can join an EU citizen in France without a visa and then apply for a CdeS.

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How to adopt a pet from a French animal shelter

Around 300,000 pets are abandoned every year in France, many of them during the summer months. So if you're looking for a pet there are many lovely cats and dogs in shelters looking for a good home - here's how to go about it.

How to adopt a pet from a French animal shelter

Where to look

French animal welfare charity the Société Protectrice des Animaux (SPA) is an excellent place to start – it currently lists nearly 4,500 animals available for adoption. 

But there are lots of other smaller, local organisations – it may be worthwhile dropping in to see a local vet as they will generally know of local groups seeking homes for abandoned pets.

There will be paperwork

First-time buyers of cats or dogs have to sign a ‘certificate of commitment and understanding’ before they will be allowed to buy an animal, and the same applies to those looking to adopt. 

After the signed document is delivered to the authorities, future owners have seven days to change their mind – the idea is to prevent people from ‘impulsively’ buying or adopting pets only to abandon them later. 

The SPA, certainly, demands that would-be adopters are of legal age and are willing to take part in a “responsible adoption process”.

These things take time – as you should expect for a commitment that can last more than a decade. As the SPA website says, it seeks to ensure “that each decision is carefully considered and that the adopted animal matches its new family and way of life”.

The process may include home visits, interviews and discussions to help adopters find the animal to which they are best suited – older people may not cope well with an energetic puppy, for example.

READ ALSO What you need to know about owning a dog in France

Shelter animals

Some welfare organisations ensure their animals spend some time with ‘foster families’ until they are adopted. This means that the organisation has a pretty good idea how that animal is likely to behave when it gets to its new adopted home.

It is more difficult to judge an animal’s character if it has been kept in a pen in a shelter.

It will cost money

A financial contribution will most likely be requested by the organisation from which you are adopting. The sum will depend on the age and type of animal being adopted. 

The SPA, for example, asks for a donation to cover vets’ fees of between €250 and €300 for a dog, depending on its age, and €150 for a cat or a kitten.

Another well-known animal welfare organisation in France, Les Amis des Animaux, has a slightly different scale of fees covering the cost of chipping, vaccinations – including rabies/passport in mature animals, sterilisation, worming, et cetera. 

READ ALSO What you need to know about microchipping your pet in France

What else you need to know

Under French law, pet dogs – and cats and ferrets – over a certain age must be identified and registered on a national database. 

The animal must be identifiable by a tattoo or microchip – the latter is the most common method these days – that is registered on the Identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD) database

The procedure to insert the microchip, or ink the tattoo, must be carried out by an approved professional. The procedure should be done by a vet and costs between €40 and €70, the shelter will tell you whether your new pet already has a microchip or not.

You might not believe it if you have walked along certain streets in Paris, but you can be fined if you fail to pick up after your pet. 

The standard fine is €68, but the mayors of some towns have imposed stricter rules in the street, in parks, gardens and other public spaces. 

The French government’s Service Public website lists other rules regarding the health and wellbeing of pets. Read it here.