<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to France Magazines today click here

How to become a French citizen

PUBLISHED: 14:44 11 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:54 21 February 2017

How to become a French citizen © philipimage / Thinkstockphotos

How to become a French citizen © philipimage / Thinkstockphotos

Archant

Planning to live in France permanently? Find out how to become a French citizen and obtain the same rights and benefits as the French

Why apply for French citizenship?

If you are planning to live in France permanently then it can be easier to become a French citizen. You won’t have to keep applying for visas (if you are a non-EU citizen) and you will be entitled to the benefits and rights of a French citizen, including the right to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections and to hold political office.

If you are from outside the EU then becoming a French citizen gives you access to the European Union and you can travel to, live and work in another EU country without applying for visas. You will also be able to get through passport control much quicker than non-EU passport holders!

Criteria to meet to become a French citizen:

1. You are over 18

2. You have lived in France for at least 5 consecutive years (although this can be reduced if you have studied at a French university)

3. You are of good character and morals

4. You don’t have a criminal record (minor offences like speeding fines and parking tickets don’t count)

5. You can demonstrate that you have integrated into French life and you speak reasonable French

If you are married to a French citizen and have been married for at least 4 years you can apply for French citizenship as long as your French spouse retains their citizenship and you can prove a good level of French.

____________________________________________________________________

Related articles

Insider tips on applying for French citizenship

My experience of applying for French citizenship

____________________________________________________________________

How to apply for French citizenship:

The local prefecture is responsible for processing citizenship applications. You must provide the following to them (anything written in English must be translated by a sworn translator):

• The Cerfa n°12753*01 application form

• Your birth certificate

• Proof of identity (e.g. passport)

• Proof of marital status and whether you have children

• Evidence of employment and residence in France

• Evidence that you don’t have a criminal record

• An ‘attestation de moralité’ to attest that you are of good moral character (a letter from your mairie would be sufficient)

It can take up to 2 years for your application to be approved and during that time you will be checked out by various government departments and possibly the police. You may also have to prove your ability to speak French. Some countries, including Britain, America and Australia, allow you to hold dual French nationality.

Citizenship for children born in France

Children born in France of foreign parents after 1 September 1998 are automatically entitled to French nationality at the age of 18, as long as they currently live in France and have done so for at least 5 years between the ages of 11 and 18.

From the age of 16, the child can claim French nationality without needing parental consent, as long as they have been resident in France since they were 11 years old. The foreign parents of a child who has been living in France since the age of 8 can claim nationality for that child once she/he reaches the age of 13.

Are you applying to become a French citizen? We’d love to hear from you - email us your story

Like this? You might enjoy:

What effect might a Brexit have on British expats?

Healthcare for expats in France

How to find a job in France

1 comment

  • "The local prefecture is responsible for processing citizenship applications." Not quite true. For example, in the Poitou-Charentes old region, only Niort prefecture in Deux-Sevres can process applications for naturalisation. Other regions may have similar circumstances. Also, you must have a Carte de Sejour first and this applied for through your local département prefecture.

    Report this comment

    Colin Chatfield

    Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

More from Living in France

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Brit Amanda Pattinson and her husband moved to a small village near Eymet in Dordogne in October 2016 from where she runs her online business selling handmade chocolates

Read more
Dordogne
Thursday, November 30, 2017

Uncovering a new side to Paris is at the heart of Lindsey Tramuta’s blog Lost in Cheeseland. She explains why Paris is her dream place to live

Read more
Paris
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Prepare your French home for winter by following this essential checklist and keeping up with property maintenance

Read more
Thursday, November 2, 2017

All you need to know about the different gas suppliers and tariffs in France and how to set up the gas supply in your new French property

Read more
Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Running a campsite in France can be hard work but offers a decent income and a rewarding lifestyle. Make sure you carefully consider the location, regulations and costs before you invest in a campsite

Read more
Camping in France
Monday, June 5, 2017

You might be booked up for the peak seasons, but how can you make money from your gîte or B&B during the quieter out-of-season periods as well? By knowing your audience and effectively tailoring your marketing, you can turn your French property into a thriving holiday let all year round!

Read more
Running a business
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Seperation, divorce, illness or outliving a spouse results in many women struggling financially in retirement. Don’t rely on your partner to support you in retirement, start planning for your own retirement now!

Read more
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Don’t fall into the trap of paying huge charges on your investments – use these tips to help you save money and increase your returns to maximise your pension and savings

Read more
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The French pharmacy is so much more tham a place to pick up your prescriptions. Here are 11 things you might not know about pharmacies in France.

Read more
Healthcare in France
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

It seems unlikely that, after Brexit, British expats living in France will enjoy the same healthcare rights as they currently do, so what will change?

Read more
Brexit
Subscribe today

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now