Don’t be put off by tales of difficult bureaucracy and years waiting! Mark Sampson shares his tips on applying for French citizenship having just completed the process himself
1. The process demands much advance planning to allow for the time it takes to obtain and translate official documents, book a TCF (language test) and make an appointment at the prefecture to present your dossier.
2. Start by considering all the conditions to make sure you are eligible via the French administration’s website
3. If you are eligible, download the application form and the accompanying notes. However, double-check with your departmental and/or regional préfecture, because we were told that the conditions weren’t necessarily theirs.
4. Unless the conditions state that you are exempt from the TCF, learn about the exam and your nearest test centre via the Centre International d’Études Pédagogiques (CIEP)
5. Wait (about a month) to receive the results before proceeding in case you have to re-sit the exam. This costs money, as does the process of obtaining certified copies of your certificates via HM Passport Office’s online ordering service
6. While waiting 2-3 weeks for the certificates to arrive, find an official translator by consulting your nearest appeal court’s list of experts
7. During the process of translation, start assembling your dossier and book online an appointment at your departmental or regional préfecture. Take two copies of the email confirmation when you present your dossier.
8. Among the many different documents to provide you will need: tax demands for the last three years; EDF bills for the last three years; passport and passport photos; proof of ownership of your house(s); TCF certificate; self-employment inscription or proof of pension; proof that you have paid your taxes for the last three years; evidence of your financial resources.
9. Buy a €55 timbre fiscal (from your local trésor public) to cover the administrative costs of assessing your dossier.
10. Be patient! The process of applying to become a French citizen can be lengthy, the official estimate is around 2 years.
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