Find out if you’re eligible to apply
First things first, if you want to apply for French nationality you need to find out if you are eligible to apply. This information can be found on the servicepublic.fr website but, it’s only in French, so here’s a short translation:
Nationality by Declaration
- through marriage to a French person
- if you have a French descendant, this is only available if you are over 65 and have been living in France for over 25 years
- when you have a brother or sister who has French nationality
Nationality by Naturalisation
There are many ways that you can acquire your nationality through naturalisation but the most popular ways are:
- If you have lived in France for over 5 years
- If you have completed 2 years of higher education in France
You are also expected to have adapted to French culture, integrated into French life and to have a professional career in France. The type of contract you have (e.g. CDD or a CDI) will not be an obstacle to obtaining nationality as long as you can prove you have stable and sufficient resources. Lastly, you will have to prove that your French level is B1 or above by taking a test. When you have your final interview with the Prefecture they will also test your French.
So now you can apply, what’s next?
The best thing you can do first is find out which prefecture you need to apply to as different prefectures have different processes. For example, the Prefecture de Paris asks you to send your application by post. On the other hand, my prefecture (Creteil – Val de Marne) asks you to make an appointment to drop off your documents. You can find out this information here under depôt de la demande.
After that, you can download the form you need to fill in and the notice d’information that goes with it. This will help you fill in the form and will also tell you which documents you need (depending on your situation).
Download the form here
Download the manual here
The form will need to be filled in twice as you need to submit two copies.
What documents will you need?
This can vary depending on your situation but the general documents needed for any application are the following:
- ORIGINALS of your birth certificate, your parents birth or death certificate, your parents marriage or divorce certificate. If you are from the UK you can apply at https://www.gov.uk/order-copy-birth-death-marriage-certificate they cost around £10 each*
- A police record check from your home country (if you lived there for more than 6 months in the last 10 years), if you are from the UK you can apply for one at https://www.acro.police.uk/police_certificates.aspx, it costs around £50
- These documents will need to be translated by a government approved translator, I used Davron Translations and would highly recommend them, you can get a quote from them on their website, but translations are usually around €50 per page https://davrontranslations.com/
- a photocopy of your passport or titre de sejour
- a fiscal stamp amounting to €55, you can get these from your local tabac
- a French certificate showing that your level of French is B1 or above. If you have a higher education diploma from a French institute you do not need to do this, you will submit your diploma. If you, like me, did not attend a French university then you will have to take the test which costs around €98. You can book it here
- 2 passport photos with your first name, last name and date of birth on the back
*Note – the manual tells you to get your birth certificate légalisés or apostillés but if you’re from the UK this is not necessary*
Other documents you can expect to provide are:
- Your current work contract
- Certificat du travail for the last three years (if possible), you can just ask your HR department to do this for you, it’s very easy
- Your last three payslips
- Your avis d’imposition or non-imposition for the last three years, with your payslips from November and December that correspond to these three years
- A bordereau de situation fiscale modèle P.237 for the last three years, find out how to get this here
- Renters – you’ll need your rental contract, your last three quittances de loyer, your last electricity or telephone bill
- Owners – you’ll need a l’acte de propriété
- If someone is putting you up, you will need them to write an attestation d’hébergement – a letter saying you live with them (you can find models online, it’s very simple to do!) and supporting evidence of the identity of the person whom you live with
Other documents may be required but it really depends on your situation. Everything is very well explained in the manual that you can download but sadly there is no English version, so you may have to get a French person to clarify a few things for you.
In any case, the documents required are not hard to get, it just takes time, A LOT of patience and of course quite a bit of money. All in all the process will cost around 500 euros, but when you consider that’s to have the chance become French for the rest of your life, it’s quite a small price to pay!
This is just part one of a series of blog posts that I will be writing to help people apply for French nationality, come back soon for part two where I will give you advice about the French test!
Check out my article on translation help for more info on Davron translations!