Applying For French Citizenship
There are three ways to become a French citizen; Birth, marriage, naturalisation. To apply for citizenship through naturalisation you must be over 18 and living in France. It isn’t necessary to renounce your previous nationality, you can have dual nationality.
Any child born in France to one or more French parent/s instantly becomes a French citizen.
Any child born in France to non-French citizens becomes a French citizen at the age of 18, as long as:
- The family was living in France at the time of the birth.
- Since the age of 11, the child has lived in France for a continuous period of 5 years.
A spouse is eligible for French citizenship if they can prove;
- They have been married for longer than 4 years.
- Lived in France for a minimum of 4 years.
- If the couple live outside of France, the spouse must have registered on the French register for citizens abroad.
- If the couple married abroad, the wedding must be registered on the French civil register.
To apply for naturalised French citizenship you must;
- Have been living in France for five continuous years
- Pass a citizenship test (carried out in French it covers current affairs and French history)
How To Apply
To become a French citizen through naturalization or marriage, you must sign the Reception and Integration Contract (CAI). This form is valid for 12 months, after which you will be evaluated (a type of citizenship test).
You will also need to submit a ‘demande d’acquisition par declaration’ at your local prefecture. And depending whether you’re applying via marriage or naturalisation you’ll need;
- Two copies of the French nationality application form.
- Copies of ID of the applicant and spouse (if applicable).
- Proof of address.
- Birth certificate (with a certified translation if not in French).
- Marriage certificate obtained within the last three months.
- Attestation sur l’honneur des 2 époux, which both spouses must sign at the préfecture or consulate.
- Evidence of the relationship such as birth certificates, joint mortgage, bank accounts, birth certificates of children, etc.
- Proof of the spouse being a French citizen at the time of marriage.
- Evidence that you don’t have a criminal record.
- Marriage certificates from any previous marriages and divorce papers.
- Proof that you lived in France for at least three years since your marriage.
- Proof of employment or financial support.
There will also be the naturalisation test, in the form of an interview. The process can take up to two years.
If you don’t wish to become a French citizen, once you have lived in France for five continuous years, it’s possible to apply for a carte de resident. This is a renewable permanent residence permit that allows you to live in France for up to 10 years. You’ll need to apply via your local prefecture. The criteria are similar to the naturalisation process.
You lose the right to permanent residence if you leave France for more than two consecutive years.
If you are married to a French national for more than three years, you can apply for permanent residence immediately, even if you have not lived in France during your marriage.
All the above information was correct at the time of writing. French legislation is liable to change and we recommend you check with the correct French authorities in regards to all legal requirements prior to your move to France.