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


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

More from Living in France

Tue, 13:44

French cheese doesn’t just have to be saved for the cheeseboard, why not experiment with canapés too?

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

How does a jewellery designer, filmmaker and restaurateur who was born in Israel and grew up in New York come to turn a French château into an artists’ retreat? Ziggy Attias shares his life in Champagne-Ardenne

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

France has helped launch a satellite to study the effects of global warming; but how do French attitudes towards climate change compare to those of other Europeans?

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

France has historically been on the leading edge of eco-friendly projects and regulations. While many argue that much more needs to be done to meet environmental goals in France and globally, here are 11 ways that French government, companies and people are striving to be green.

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Seen a French property that would make fabulous food business but unsure of the paperwork and process? Read Tracy Leonetti’s at-a-glance guide to opening a restaurant or cafe in France

Read more
Running a business
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Thinking of setting up a campsite in France? Here’s what you’ll need to consider when it comes to planning permission.

Read more
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

With its unbeatable wine and cheese and laissez-faire attitude, there’s nowhere better to retire than France. But which cities are best for growing old in? Here’s the top 10

Read more
Pays de la Loire
Thursday, January 25, 2018

If you are buying in or moving to France you will need a French bank account but before you open one make sure you read these 11 things you need to know to avoid making a costly mistake

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

France might be experiencing a shortage of general practitioners but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find a GP willing to take on new patients. Here’s what you need to know about finding and registering with a doctor when you move to France

Read more
Expats in France
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

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
Subscribe for

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

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