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I'm a Canadian citizen, and I have a girlfriend (and the start of a new life) waiting for me in France. I have returned to Canada to acquire my Portuguese nationality and am awaiting the documentation asserting that I am now a Portuguese citizen. With this, I will be able to live and work in France until I am ready to marry.

  • I visited France at the beginning of July 2014.
  • I stayed for a total of 80 days of the 90/180 Schengen rule.
  • After I receive my Portuguese citizenship, I will have to wait for another 1.5 months before receiving my identity card and Portuguese passport.

I have already been away from my girlfriend and "life" more than I'd care to be, and it's also financially draining.

  • Once I receive the documentation stating that I am a Portuguese citizen, can I return to France on my Canadian passport?
  • Would the 90/180 rule apply to me since I entered on the Canadian passport?
  • If I entered on my Canadian passport, would I have to leave on it the next time I fly out of Europe?
    • If I did, would it count as overstaying?

I'm not worried about getting the citizen card or passport, because I could apply for those at the Portuguese Embassy in France.

  • I am a bit confused: Will you become a Portuguese citizen or merely have your citizenship (e.g. by descent) recognized? Also what type of documentation will you get? Shouldn't you get a Portuguese national ID card? – Relaxed Oct 27 '14 at 7:27
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    As R says, your question is confusing. Just FWIW: (1) "Once I receive the documentation stating that I am a Portuguese citizen, can I return to France on my Canadian passport?" sure, nobody cares at the border. it's not like they are going to "look up" that you also have some portugese paper. read the many many questions on here about various dual-passport situations. (2) "If I entered on my Canadian passport, would I have to leave on it the next time I fly out of Europe?" not particularly. "If I did, would it count as overstaying?" i think you'd basically say "look I'm an EU citizen now" – Fattie Oct 27 '14 at 8:34
  • Let me clarify:after becoming a Portuguese citizen, I would enter the EU solely on my Canadian passport. Then, I would get my Portuguese national ID card and Portuguese passport in Paris. What I'm worried about is this: since I technically entered as a Canadian, but I am an EU citizen, would I be booked for overstaying? – carluge Oct 27 '14 at 12:58
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The thing that's illegal is to be present within Schengen without being entitled to. Passports and entry/exit stamps are merely a means of detecting if you're guilty of that -- but ultimately what counts is what you do, not what your passport does.

Once you're a Portuguese citizen you inherently have a right to be present within the Schengen area, and therefore you cannot possibly be guilty of overstaying.

Your Canadian passport with only an entry stamp will look like it belongs to someone who has overstayed -- but you haven't actually. Once you prove your new citizenship it will be clear that you're not doing anything wrong, no matter that the usual procedure for finding out whether a passport looks suspect or not fails in your case.

You would have to provide a longer-than-usual explanation if you try to use the Canadian passport as a travel document at the Schengen borders after it has begun to look as if it is overstayed, but no actual guilt ought to attach to you.

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    I agree with you completely. The EU regulation concerning the right of free movement for EU citizens especially specifies, that a passport or national id card is not required, but that EU citizens can prove their rights with "any means". Even if it might cause some hassle at the border or during an internal control, a Canadian passport and a Portuguese citizenship certificate should be more than enough. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Oct 27 '14 at 16:14
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo That's another important detail (albeit possibly difficult to use in practice) but I think Henning's point was slightly different. Even if you do not have any proof whatsoever of your citizenship and do not make any attempt to establish it when entering the country, you are still an EU citizen and cannot be fined for overstaying later on. – Relaxed Oct 28 '14 at 13:01
  • @Relaxed: Sure. My point is perhaps not quite relevant, as long as you have a non-EU passport, allowing you to enter the EU in the first place. French immigration is unlikely to have any records of the previous 80 days stay, so having only 10 days "left" of the 90 days allowed is also not going to cause trouble. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Oct 28 '14 at 14:31
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You can visit France, or any other country in the Schengen zone, on your Canadian passport; if you enter as a Canadian and present only a Canadian passport, visitor rules will apply even if you hold citizenship of a member state. So yes, the 90 day restriction and cooling off period would apply.

For your last question, you do not have to go through non-EU exit controls if you have an EU passport, and you will not be booked for overstaying. However, it's a good idea to clear the zone on your Canadian passport rather than to have a 'glitch', however innocuous, in the computer.

Adding 19 Feb 2015 as a result of commentary

It is a fallacy to assume that the evidence used to successfully apply for Portuguese citizenship is fungible in an EU-wide context. Bestowing Portuguese citizenship is a matter arising solely under Portuguese national law and there is no reason to believe that that ancient birth records, marriage records, DNA tests and the like would be acceptable to a French border official.

They will want to see something understandable and acceptable within the EU framework. It does not necessarily have to be a passport or national ID card, but it would have to be something with a widely known (or widely recognized) counterpart in the other EU members.

And of course it goes without saying that when you are able to establish your EU nationality in an acceptable way that you can then benefit from the Free Movement Directive.

  • (+1) I am not sure that there would in fact be a record of the entry. – Relaxed Oct 27 '14 at 13:27
  • @carluge, no need for thanks, please read stackoverflow.com/help/someone-answers – Gayot Fow Oct 27 '14 at 13:31
  • @Relaxed, it's quite likely there would be an entry in the DHS system if the op left from Canada. – Gayot Fow Oct 27 '14 at 13:32
  • How about if I entered France using rail from the UK? I heard they check passport on the train, but they don't necessarily log it in or sometimes even stamp. – carluge Oct 27 '14 at 13:52
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    @GayotFow Probably, I was speaking about the French side of things. – Relaxed Oct 27 '14 at 14:59

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