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‘Hug a Brit to stop Brexit’ Europeans urged

If Britain leaves the EU after its referendum in June, it won’t just affect Brits, but people from across Europe - none of whom will get a vote. Now Europeans can get involved – by love-bombing their British friends to encourage them to stay.

'Hug a Brit to stop Brexit' Europeans urged
Yinka Shonibare MBE, British Nigerian, hugged by German Katrin Lock.
The idea came from a group of Europeans living in London, who have launched a group called #PleaseDon’tGoUK. Their idea is simple: forget the debates and show the Brits some love – and then post the evidence online.
 
“It’s a little bit hippy, but a little bit of hippiness is needed. People are always arguing about cucumbers and shower caps. We wanted to do something positive instead of just talking about rules and regulations,” says Katrin Lock, a German who has lived in London for eleven years.
 
“It’s a love-bomb for the UK.”
 
The group has had contributions from French people, Italians, Germans, Spaniards and Swedes, both in the UK and on the continent, hugging their favourite Brits. Singer Jarvis Cocker, best known as frontman of nineties indie band Pulp, is one of the better-known Brits to have found himself on the receiving end of a Euro-hug.
 
“We just got a picture of someone hugging a statue of Virginia Woolf, too,” Lock says.
 
Jarvis Cocker gets a hug from Christine Ullmann, German.
 
The people in the photos are also asked to share their thoughts about their friendship and the referendum – or just why they like Britain. Italian Rosella Soravia, posing with her friend Saul, said: “I know Saul from going to boarding school in Malvern, where I spend the best two years of my life thanks to the great English humour and its great education.”
 
Berlin-based German Steffi Grimm, whose partner Simon lives in London, had more practical concerns: “Simon lives in London and I live in Berlin. We have been in a long distance relationship for 20 years. And now Brexit? Things would be even more complicated.”
 
Steffi and Simon
 
The reaction so far has been positive, even if the Brits are sometimes a bit reluctant.
 
“English people don’t like being hugged very much – they’re a bit reserved – but we try to be polite.”
 
As for what would happen if Britain voted to leave, Lock is apprehensive.
 
“I live here, this is my home, and so far I’ve been treated like everyone else. But I worry that there will be a distinction between UK and EU citizens in the future. Living somewhere else is a great thing and it would be a shame if that was taken away.”
 
The referendum will be held on June 23rd. Voting is open to all British citizens who live in the UK or have done so at some point in the last fifteen years. 
 
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Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

People who have more than one citizenship often hold multiple passports, so what does this mean for crossing borders? Here's what you should know.

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

For many readers of The Local, gaining citizenship of the country where they live helps them to feel more settled – but there are also travel benefits, including avoiding the long ‘non EU’ queue when coming back into the Schengen zone.

But this week the problems associated with travelling while holding dual citizenship came to light, leaving many people wondering what they should know when they are entering different countries.

Put simply – which passport should you use? And do you have to carry both with you?

Financial Times journalist Chris Giles tweeted that the UK Border Force “detained” his dual-national daughter while she was travelling from France into the UK with her German passport – and not her British one. 

He went on to say that UK border guards released his daughter. According to Giles, the border staff said she should have had both passports with her “and asked why she was travelling on her German one”.

The rules on dual-nationality have not changed, but now that the UK is not in the EU, there are strict rules on non-Brits who enter the country (and vice-versa) which has made it trickier for travel.

For instance, UK nationals receive a stamp in their passport when entering Schengen member states because they are only allowed to stay up to 90 days within an 180 period (unless they have a visa or residency card).

READ ALSO: Brexit: EU asks border police not to stamp passports of British residents 

People coming from the EU to the UK can generally visit as a tourist for up to six months without a visa – but are not allowed to carry out any work while there.

So which passport should you show?

The first thing to be aware of is there are no specific rules on travelling with more than one passport. 

Travellers can choose to use whichever passport they prefer when going to a country. 

But one thing to note is that it’s worth using the passport that is best suited to your destination when travelling there. Each country has its own set of immigration and visa rules that you’ll need to research closely.

It could be that one passport is better suited for your trip – and you may be able to avoid visa requirements.  

READ ALSO: How powerful is the German passport?

In the case of the UK, many people are still getting to grips with the different rules that apply because it’s not in the EU anymore.

A question submitted to the Secretary of State for the Home Department in September 2021 provided some insight into this issue. 

The question from Labour’s Paul Blomfield asked what steps the UK government “is taking to enable dual UK and EU citizens to travel to the UK on an EU member state passport without having to further prove their UK citizenship?”

The Conservatives Kevin Foster said: “Border Force Officers examine all arriving passengers to establish whether they are British citizens, whether they require leave to enter or if they are exempt from immigration control.

“Where the passenger claims to be British, but does not hold any evidence of British citizenship, the officer will conduct all relevant checks to satisfy themselves the passenger is British.

Border control at Hamburg airport.

Border control at Hamburg airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

“When dual nationals who are eligible to use e-gates travel to the UK, they will enter via the e-gates without being examined by an immigration officer.

“We recommend all dual nationals, including EU citizens, travel on their British passport or with evidence or their British citizenship to minimise any potential delay at the border or when commencing their journey.”

The Local contacted the UK Home Office to ask if there was any official advice. 

A spokesman said: “An individual can present whichever passport they desire to enter the UK, however they will be subject to the entry requirements associated with the nationality of the passport they present.”

They said anyone who is looking for more information should check out guidance on entering the UK and on dual nationality.

In short, if you present a German passport on entry to the UK you will be treated the same as any other German citizen – which can include being quizzed about your reasons for visiting the UK – as border guards have no way of knowing that you are a dual-national. 

Do I have to carry both passports?

There’s no rule requiring you to have both passports, but you won’t get the benefits of a British passport (entry into the UK without questions) if you don’t show it.

Likewise if you are a French-British dual national and you enter France on your UK passport, you will need to use the non-EU queue and may have your passport stamped.

Should I think about anything else?

An important thing to remember is that if you apply for a visa and register your passport details, the same passport has to be used to enter the country. 

It could also make sense to travel with both passports, just in case. 

However, note that some countries – like the US – require that US nationals use a US passport to enter and leave the States even if they are dual nationals. 

In general, it’s best to use the same passport you entered a country with to depart.

The rules and systems are different depending on the country. But many countries require people to show their passport when leaving – and they will either stamp or scan the passport – this is how authorities know that a foreign visitor hasn’t overstayed their time in the country. 

So if your passport is checked as you leave the UK, you should show the one you arrived with, just to ensure there is a record of you arriving and leaving.

However as you enter France/Germany/other EU destination, you can show your EU passport in order to maximise the travel benefits of freedom of movement.

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