France, like many countries in Europe, has begun to view marriages between their citizens and foreigners as a problem for immigration control. Consequently, marriage between French and non-EU citizens is increasingly policed and recent laws have passed that make it ever more difficult for foreign spouses to obtain residence rights and citizenship.
Couples who wish to marry or apply for a spouse visa after being married abroad, are now required to demonstrate the genuine nature of their romantic involvement to government officers. Officers who can decide the outcome of their application.
Hélène asks how individuals experience this growing intrusion of the state into their intimate relationship; and, how this bureaucratic process affects the experience of citizenship. Drawing on interviews with couples, their families, a civic association, and government officers as part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme to answer these questions, the paper seeks to contribute to the literature on changing notions of citizenship in modern states.
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