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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/are-you-allowed-to-return-to-france-is-there-30838747.aspx

Subject:  Re: Renouncing citizenship for tax purposes Date:  8/23/2013  6:07 AM
Author:  JeanDavid Number:  119065 of 121144

Are you allowed to return to France? Is there compulsory military service in France? If so weren't you technically a draft dodger?

I am allowed to return to France, and I have done it many times.
There is (was) compulsory military service in France.

While I have not kept up with French law, at the time that mattered to me, all male French citizens had to report for military service at age 18 for 18 months of compulsory military service. But at the time, the French were getting rid of their colonies. First, because the UN required it, and second, because the expense (mainly military) of maintaining them was way more than the benefits of keeping them. So they were out of Viet Nam, our of ALgeria, out of Tunisia, out of Morocco, out of the French Congo, etc. (A lesson the US still has not learned. We do not technically have colonies other than part of Cuba and Puerto Rico, but we are serious neocolonialists throughout the world with all our military bases located in foreign countries, to our enormous financial costs.) This greatly reduced their need for the large military they formerly maintained.

So while their draft law remained in place, they kept tightening the physical standards so as to disqualify as many men from military service as they could. They signed a treaty with the US so that French nationals living in the US could fulfill their military service in the US military. I did that by registering for the US draft, which I had to do anyway as a male resident (I had an immigration visa) in the US. And I got out of that because I was a student majoring in electrical engineering, and later in math. By the time I graduated, they ended student deferments, but I had a job at a small defense contractor and worked on anti-submarine warfare and stuff like that, so I got an occupational deferment. When they stopped those deferments, I was over 26, and they tended not to draft people over that age because they did not make good soldiers. Except doctors, but fortunately, I was not a doctor. Once deferred, I was eligible to be drafted until I was 35, but they did not want me.
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