Five long months later and I finally arrived at the not so pearly gates of the Val de Marne prefecture, ready to face the last step of the nationality process. After weeks of revising and repeating the President’s of the 5th Republic in order, it was time to see if I had done enough to become a fully fledged Frenchie. It was time for my nationality interview!
Arriving at the Prefecture
My interview was scheduled for 14.40 but because the prefecture is not the easiest to locate, I decided to get there extra early (just to be safe)! As I strolled up to the prefecture an hour early, my stomach suddenly dropped…there was an enormous queue outside. I started to panic, already worrying that I was going to miss my appointment. Deep breaths I told myself, maybe there is a logical explanation for this monstrous queue.
I saw a couple of people walking up to the policeman who guard the prefecture gates so I decided to go and ask, there was no way I was going to stand in that queue if I didn’t absolutely have to. To my huge relief, the policier asked to see my lettre de convocation and then directed me to la file jaune (the yellow line) where there were roughly three people waiting. Phew!!
For a while I couldn’t understand why the queue was so big but I suddenly realised. At 2pm, on the dot, the flood gates opened. The prefecture had simply closed for lunch! They let us in first and although it says on your convocation that you have to go via the general reception, you can just go straight upstairs. Take a seat in front of the doors of the interview rooms and wait for them to call your name. You will soon have your nationality interview!
The Waiting Game
So I sat there and waited, and waited and waited some more. Eventually my nationality interview was 50 minutes late. This is something to keep in mind because it could happen to anyone. It really depends on how long the person’s interview before you takes. Everyone’s is slightly different so you need to be prepared. Have snacks and water with you so you don’t start to feel unwell. And maybe something to read to keep your mind off the fact that you’re appointment is late. You don’t want to start panicking before you even go in!
Each interviewer at Val de Marne has a list of people to interview and they do not swap lists. It is therefor very possible that someone who had an appointment scheduled after you, may actually go in before you. This stressed me out a little at first but I eventually accepted that I would just have to wait my turn.
And so the interview begins…
Finally my interviewer came out and called me into a small room that looked like a teacher’s office. I had a lady who looked a little stern from the outset but who was actually really nice! She asked me to confirm my name and to see my ID. Make sure you bring it with because this isn’t specified on the convocation. She then asked me a few general questions about my life in France. Where did I live? Did I own the property I lived in? I said yes and then had to explain how we bought the apartment we were renting. She was confused that my address was the same! She also asked me briefly about my job and then we moved on to my file.
We checked over the documents together and unfortunately she said I needed to get a new police check. I was shocked as it had been validated in December even though it was from August 2017. The lady was really apologetic and said that her colleague should have caught it. She also explained that my file would still be treated and I would just have to send the document as soon as I had it.
She then kindly asked if it was okay to start the questions. During your interview you have to answer a number of questions on the Livret de Citoyen. You can check it out here. It’s a good idea to learn things outside of the livret, just in case. Every prefecture can differ in terms of the questions they ask you and some make the nationality interview more difficult than others.
My interview was about 40 minutes in total. I was asked general questions about my life in France and also a number of questions based on the livret. I’d say roughly 20 in total! Last but not least she asked me the most important question of all – why I wanted to become French. I answered honestly; explaining that I felt very French, that I loved France and the life I’ve built here. I also explained how much it would mean to me to have French nationality,. It’s something I’ve wanted for a very long time.
So will I get to be French?
Once the questions were over I was asked to sign la charte. I was then told that it would be roughly a one-year wait before I would get a response. So now, it’s just a matter of waiting and hoping I’ve done enough to make this dream a reality. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
For anyone who is thinking of applying for nationality this Facebook group was a lifesaver for me.
You can also find parts 1-3 of my Applying for Nationality series here: