Embarking on the journey to acquire French citizenship? It’s like a dance through intricate bureaucracy waltz steps! Don’t Worry! We’ve got you covered!

This guide will serve as your partner in this intricate dance! Today, we’re twirling through the process of becoming a true citizen of the Republic, making the dance less daunting and more delightful!

Let’s dive in!

What Does It Mean To Have French Citizenship?

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Being a resident in France doesn’t necessarily make you a citizen over there. Residency and citizenship are different statuses. 

Residency only refers to an individual living in France whereas in the case of obtaining a citizenship, certain avenues open for that person, some of which include:

  • The right to vote.
  • The right to live in the country without restrictions.
  • Access to health care and educational benefits.
  • Moving freely within the European Union.
  • Employment opportunities.
  • An ease in immigration laws in the case of calling your family.

Types Of French Citizenship

A French citizenship can be acquired through the following ways:

  • Citizenship by naturalization.
  • Citizenship by descent.
  • Citizenship by birth.

Obtaining citizenship by naturalization refers to fulfilling specific requirements and going through certain procedures set by the French government to be considered its citizen.

Citizenship by descent means that if either one of your parents is a French citizen, you have the right to claim citizenship as well.

The third type, citizenship by birth, entails that if you’re born on French ground, regardless of your parents being citizens or not, you can claim French citizenship.

As simple and undemanding as it all may seem, it is still quite difficult to follow the proper procedures and come up with the proper documentation required by the government officials on time.

French Naturalization 

French Naturalization refers to the idea that after being a resident in France for a specific period, you become eligible to apply for citizenship, though it is not the same for everyone.

French Citizenship Requirements For Naturalization

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The requirements needed to be fulfilled are listed below:

  • Applicants applying for citizenship must be residents of France for up to at least 5 years.
  • At least 18 years of age.
  • A certain level of fluency in the language is required.
  • No criminal record.
  • A well-integrated part of the community which includes having a stable and persistent job, having participated in communal activities and so on.
  • Being financially stable to the point where you don’t have to rely on external help to support yourself or your family.
  • Renouncing any previous citizenship
  • For some applicants, an interview will take place based on which they might be judged.

Being able to prove your residency will be an easy task as the government possesses all information of individuals living in the country.

Financial stability can be proven by providing bank statements and other related documents.

In most cases, the French government will allow you to have dual citizenship except for in certain cases where there might be a conflict between the two countries.

A certain level of understanding of the French language will also help immensely in attaining citizenship.

We’ve listed some ways by which you can demonstrate your level of understanding of the language:

  • Language certificates such as DELF, DALF, TCF, TEF, DELF prim (for children). These certificates correspond to different levels of proficiency in the language (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2).
  • If you’ve attended a French university or college, you can provide the officials with proper transcripts to prove your eligibility.
  • For immigrants, integration courses are specially designed to equip them with a base level knowledge of the language.

If you don’t have any way to prove that you have any knowledge of French, then you will have to pass a government test where they’ll make a judgment based on your score.

Professional Guidance And Assistance

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Compiling and organizing the correct documents and following all the procedures in an orderly manner needed to apply for citizenship by naturalization can be a hectic task.

Without having any prior knowledge and a firm grasp on the policies related to obtaining citizenship, it can prove to be quite difficult to embark on this journey.

Having a well-organized legal team assisting you in every manner will be of great help.

How To Apply For French Citizenship Via Naturalization

Upon proving that you meet all the requirements to apply for citizenship by naturalization, you can begin your application process.

The steps are as follows:

1. Get An Application Form

You can get the naturalization application form from the following places:

  • Prefecture or Sub-Prefecture (these offices handle all matters related to immigration and citizenship).
  • A form can also be found here.
  • Larger cities often have offices dedicated solely for the purpose of aiding with the process of obtaining citizenship.
  • Forms may also be found in some public libraries.

After filling in the form, compile all documents in a single file.

2. Pass The French Citizenship Test

The French government has designed a test to judge whether an individual is eligible to be a citizen or not. The following table outlines the various sections in the test and the corresponding time allowed for each section:

Listening comprehension15 minutes 
Reading comprehension20 minutes 
Written skills30 minutes 
Verbal skills10 minutes 

If you pass the test, collect your naturalization certificate and add it to your file.

Cases for exemption of test include:

  • Individuals who have a degree or diploma from a French university.
  • Individuals who cannot take the test due to some form of illness.
  • Individuals with a French-language diploma of at least B1 level.
  • An age limit for naturalization process does not exist

3. Pay The Naturalization Fees

The application fee varies according to the age group of the applicants and is demonstrated in the following table:

Adults55 Euros
Individuals below age 1827 Euros

4. Submit All Documents

Take the application form, your receipts to prove that you have paid for that form and your naturalization certificate to the respected application office.

Once the officials approve your documents, collect your citizenship certificate which proves that you are a French citizen.

How To Get French Citizenship By Marriage?

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Obtaining citizenship by marriage is also an eligible way of applying for citizenship. For that, you must meet the following demands:

  • A marriage between a French citizen and their spouse must have lasted 4 years.
  • The spouse must have lived at least 3 years in France after the marriage, with one year of permanent residency.

Required Documents:

  • Passport or any other ID.
  • Passport size photo.
  • Two signed copies of the declaration form.
  • Certificate of Marriage.
  • Citizenship proof of French spouse.
  • Proof of shared residence of the couple.
  • Spouses criminal record from their home country and France.
  • In case of any previous marriage, proof of its termination.

How To Get French Citizenship By Descent?

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Citizenship can also be obtained through family lineage, particularly involving an individual’s relationship with his parents or grandparents.

Since descent laws can hold some complications, there’s a certain criterion which must be fulfilled before you become a citizen this way:

  • At least one of your parents should be a citizen at the time of your birth.
  •  In the case of an individual being born outside of France, if a grandparent was a citizen at the time of either one of your parents’ births, you are eligible to apply for citizenship.
  • In the case of being born to a French citizen who isn’t in the state of wedlock, proper government procedures will have to prove paternity or maternity.

As seen above, it is not an easy task to go through the process of establishing proper lineage. 

How To Get French Citizenship By Birth?

The French nationality law states that an individual born on French soil, also called jus soil, where both parents are non-citizens does not automatically make him a citizen but instead only guarantees attribution to French nationality.

 To claim citizenship by jus soli, you must meet the following demands:

  • If you are born to non-citizen parents, you can claim citizenship if either one of your parents was born in France or if they became citizens before the time of your birth.
  • Children of parents whose nationality cannot be found can also claim citizenship if they’re born in France.

By law, a child born before 1994 to a parent who was born in the former French territory before its independence, is also French.

Is It Possible To Obtain Frеnch Citizеnship By Invеstmеnt?

Thеrе is no direct citizеnship by invеstmеnt program in Francе.  Howеvеr, thеrе is a residency program that can lеad to citizеnship aftеr a period of timе, that being thе Talеnt Passport for businеss invеstors. 

Thе Talеnt Passport for Businеss Invеstors is a program for forеign invеstors who want to start or invеst in a businеss in Francе. 

To qualify, you must invеst at lеast €300 000 in a Frеnch company and crеatе or maintain at lеast onе pеrmanеnt job. Oncе you havе obtainеd a Talеnt Passport for Businеss Invеstors, you will bе еligiblе to apply for permanent residency aftеr 5 yеars. 

Upon obtaining pеrmanеnt rеsidеncy in Francе, you will bе еligiblе to apply for Frеnch citizеnship aftеr 5 yеars.

It is important to notе that this program is not guaranteed to lead to Frеnch citizеnship. Your application will be reviewed on a casе-by-casе basis, and you will need to meet all of the requirements to bе approvеd.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Frеnch citizеn?

To become a Frеnch citizеn by naturalization, you must gеnеrally have lived in Francе for at lеast 5 yеars. Thеrе аrе somе exceptions, such as if you arе marriеd to a Frеnch citizеn or if you havе completed highеr еducation in Francе. 

If you mееt thе еligibility critеria, you can apply for citizenship by dеcrее or by dеclaration. Thе dеcrее process is more complex and takes longer, but it is opеn to all applicants. 

Thе declaration procеss is quickеr and еasiеr, but it is only availablе to cеrtain applicants, such as thosе who wеrе born in Francе or those who havе a Frеnch parеnt. 

Oncе you havе submittеd your application, your casе will be reviewed by thе Frеnch authorities. If your application is approvеd, you will be invited to attend a citizеnship ceremony whеrе you will officially become a Frеnch citizеn.

France Dual Citizenship: And How To Get It

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The French government doesn’t usually require an individual to renounce any previous citizenship.

Their dual citizenship laws are somewhat lenient and allow for a person to possess citizenship of more than one country.

According to the immigration and nationality laws in France, you can apply for a dual citizenship under the following circumstances:

  • Before applying for a dual citizenship in France, the French government requires proof of any previous citizenship from that country, and, if that country permits dual citizenship.
  • The French government doesn’t require you to renounce any previous citizenship when applying for citizenship in France, except for in some cases.
  • Becoming a dual citizen comes with its legal implications as well. This may involve contradicting policies of two countries where you will have to abide by both.
  • Legal advice would be preferred if you’re thinking of applying for citizenship in France by the process of naturalization whilst already being a citizen elsewhere.

Becoming a dual citizen in France doesn’t entail that the individual only follows the rules and regulations of that country only.

In some cases, a person will have to pay their taxes in both countries, even if he or she is residing in only one.

You may be stripped of some privileges for being a dual national. In some cases, you might have to fulfill the military demands of both countries, provided that both countries have strict laws regarding participating in the military.

You might even be restricted to where you travel around the world due to diplomatic restrictions between certain countries.

Dual Citizenship For France As A US National

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France and the USA both permit having dual citizenships. Both countries do not require you to renounce previous citizenship (if you’re applying to France, being a US citizen, then the French government doesn’t require you to renounce your US citizenship and vice versa).

The United States requires you to show your US passport upon entering their country, and showing your French passport when you travel to France.

Both the US and France have strict agendas regarding the legal implications which come with being a dual citizen. You might have to fulfill tax obligations and military requirements of both countries.

The laws around obtaining dual citizenship between the USA and France are relatively much less strict as compared to that of other countries.

Dual Citizenship For France As A UK National

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Being a French citizen, the United Kingdom will not make you renounce your French citizenship when applying for a British one.

You do not need to apply for a dual citizenship in France, you will just apply for a citizenship in France and keep your previous one.

UK citizens who possess dual citizenship need to show their British passport upon entry to their country. A dual citizen must also abide by all rules and regulations of both countries, regardless of which one they are living in.

Common Reasons For Citizenship Denial In France

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Some of the reasons why your appeal for citizenship in France might get denied are:

  • Failure to prove to the French government that you have been a French resident for at least 5 years. Insufficient residency will not make you an eligible candidate to apply for citizenship in France.
  • If you have a serious criminal record or have had any legal problems in the past, then it is possible you might get rejected by government officials.
  • Failure to come up with the proper documentation and bank statements to prove financial stability.
  • Not being able to provide the embassy with proper documentation or trying to commit fraud by creating fake documents.
  • In some cases, France rejects individuals who already hold citizenship elsewhere and are applying for dual citizenship in France.
  • Not being able to prove or pass the language requirements set by the government.

If your application is not approved, you will still be eligible to apply for citizenship again, provided you have not been rejected for either having a serious criminal record or trying to commit fraud.

How To Give Up French Citizenship?

Whereas France does allow you to renounce their citizenship, there are certain legal procedures which you will have to follow:

  1. Contact the French embassy in your country and reach out to them.
  2. Gather all your documents giving credibility to your French citizenship which includes your passport and any other proof of identity.
  3. Apply for the renunciation of your citizenship.
  4. In certain cases, you might be called in for an interview asking you the reason for taking back your citizenship.
  5. There will be an indefinite waiting period when authorities will go through every document of yours.
  6. If your application is approved, an official certificate of renunciation will be handed out to you.

How To Regain French Citizenship?

If for any reason other than a criminal record you have lost your French citizenship or have renounced it in the past, the steps to re-apply for citizenship through naturalization will be the same as before.

Conclusion

And there you have it—your dance through the steps to French citizenship, deciphered! Now, step into your new journey with elegance and savoir-faire.

Citizenship Conquered!

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