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How to Obtain French Citizenship

Melanie has been interested in cultures, languages, and travel since her youth. She also runs the YouTube channel, The Curious Coder.


Why Consider French Citizenship?

Becoming a French citizen is something you may be considering if you're wanting to permanently move to the country. With proper citizenship, you would be permitted to live, work, and vote in France. You would be able to use government offered public benefits.

French citizenship opens doors to benefits in other countries in the European Union. This would, for example, allowing you to work anywhere in the EU without having to apply for a work permit.

The Bolozon viaduct over the Ain river.

The Bolozon viaduct over the Ain river.

Obtaining French citizenship can take quite a bit of time and can often be a confusing process. Unfortunately, there are not a large number of resources available in English on the Internet for those looking into obtaining French citizenship.

This guide was created to fill the gap in information available online and despite the sometimes long process, there are several different ways to obtain citizenship in France.

There are several regulations involved in the citizenship process in France which are outlined below. Some rules vary based on individual situations. If you're marrying a French citizen and wish to seek French citizenship, you'll go through a slightly different process than an American couple wishing to retire in France.

Several requirements must be met to obtain citizenship in France. Luckily, some of these requirements are fairly easy to meet. On the downside, some requirements may prove difficult. If you don't meet all the requirements, I still encourage you to seek additional information from the French government regarding your status.

This is just a general list of the guidelines and is not the final rule and law regarding the process.

At least one of the following must pertain to you:

One of your parents has French citizenship

You can apply for French citizenship through a parent, even if you were not born in France. In order to do this, the parent must file evidence of your birth with the French Royal Register.

If your parent no longer resides in France, you will be required to submit proof that your parent is/was a French citizen.

Your spouse has French citizenship

You will be allowed to file for permission to attain French citizenship if you have lived in France for a year while married to your spouse.

You must still fulfill the requirement of having been married for four years. In order to do this, you will file a petition with the local prefecture where you live.

You've lived in France at least five years

This method of citizenship is called naturalization. You can submit the proper paperwork for this to your local consulate.

You may also apply for your five years to be shortened to two if you have completed at least two years of higher education in France.

Military Service

If you meet all the requirements, you will be able to enlist in the French Foreign Legion, a military group that accepts recruits from all over the world.

You will be required to meet all the physical requirements, have your application approved, sign up for a five-year service contract, complete all your training, and serve for at least three years.

After completing three years of service, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship.

The people of France are very proud of their heritage. Those who become citizens of France share in this pride.

The people of France are very proud of their heritage. Those who become citizens of France share in this pride.

French Citizenship Requirements

You must also meet ALL of the following requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age – The only exception to this rule is if you are born to a French parent. They may petition for your citizenship before you turn 18.
  • You must be able to show that you are of good moral fiber – this will require specific paperwork and interviews with a number of officials.
  • You must show proof of having no criminal history. (Parking & speeding tickets don't constitute a criminal history – Obviously, no country is going to want to fill itself with criminals.
  • You must be able to show that you have integrated yourself into French life, including being able to speak French well enough to function in daily life – It seems fairly straightforward. You must show that you have a working knowledge of the French language and customs in order to continue living in France.

How to Apply for French Citizenship

You will need to fill out a ‘dossier’ which will include:

  • Your birth certificate
  • Identification
  • Proof of marital status (and whether you have children)
  • Evidence of employment
  • Evidence of residency in France
  • An ‘attestation de moralité’ which attests you have good character

If you are obtaining your citizenship through naturalization or marriage, you will be required to sign the Reception and Integration Contract (CAI). This form is valid for a year, after which the French government will evaluate whether or not you have reached all the requirements for CAI. These include taking a written and oral test to determine if you have reached an acceptable level of language proficiency, taking a civics class, and sitting in on an information session.

From the moment you furnish the above information and sign all the forms, it can take anywhere from one to two years before you are approved for French citizenship. There are many different things that the government will do during this time to prove that the information you’ve given is valid. It will also take some time for processing since different pieces of information will have to pass through various governmental departments.

Those who apply for citizenship will be required to, at some point, attend a Tribunal d'Instance. This is just a small hearing where the applicant signs a request for citizenship in front of a judge. The applicant may also be required to go to their local police department for a short interview to prove that the applicant qualifies for citizenship. At this time, the applicant must prove that they can sufficiently speak French.

There are some cases where the citizenship qualification period may be shortened. These instances include refugees, foreigners from countries where French is an official language and they have attended a Francophone language school for at least five years, those people who have demonstrated ‘exceptional service’ to the country, and any foreigners who have served in the French army.

It is important to note that if you are applying for French citizenship you should look into whether or not you will be able to keep your current country citizenship and be a dual citizen or if your French citizenship will negate the other. France does allow dual citizenship with the United States and a few other countries.

Do know that once you have become a French citizen, any unmarried dependents also become French citizens if they are living with you and are mentioned on your naturalization papers.

Obtaining French citizenship can be a long and stressful process. If for whatever reason, you find yourself not able to obtain full French citizenship, you should try to apply for permanent residence status. The requirements for permanent residence are more lenient than citizenship and the permanent residence card is valid for ten years but is also renewable. The only major difference between that and citizenship is that you will not be able to vote or hold public office as a permanent resident.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2009 Melanie Shebel

Leave a Comment!

Charles-London on July 28, 2019:

The information of this article is not entirely correct.

It infers that if you are born to at least one French parent abroad, then you can apply to gain French citizenship.

Actually, a child born anywhere in the world (outside France) to at least one French national/citizen IS French by birth right, you do not need to apply to gain French nationality (right of blood).

However proving the links will be necessary (if your parent did not register your birth with the French Consulate for example) if you want to take up your French Nationality (such as applying for a passport, or I.D. Card). The French consulate MAY require you to make an application to obtain a Certificate of French Nationality. A long winded process (owing to the serious understaffing of this department). This can take up to 3 years, and if at any stage your paperwork is deemed inadequate you have to re-start the process from scratch!!!

ALSO, in the article it states that you MUST also have the second part of the requirements, such as integration and speaking French - This is NOT a requirement if following the descent route. Only that you can prove that you are born to at least one parent who is French (was French at the time of your birth).

See also the French Civil code 23-6 and 30-3 which is where a French national can lose their French nationality in the case of them being French by descent IF they have habitually resided outside France, and had never taken up possession of the state (E.g. applied for a French passport/I.D. Card, etc..)


their French parent has also habitually resided outside of France for at least half a century (50 years)


the French parent has not been a possession of the French State in that period (for example, not renewed their passport or ID card, or registered with the French Consulate etc...). In which case the Clerk of the Certficate Of Nationality process will determine if the applicant has lost their French Nationality or indeed never had it in the first place.

The 50 year period is considered from the date of the lodging of the application to determine French Nationality. I.e. if you lodge an application on 2/1/2019, then they will try to establish if there was a French state possession or permanent habitation (not just a holiday!) for your French parent going back for the period 2/1/2019 to 2/1/1969.

Best advice is if you are born to a French parent outside of France, try to obtain your French passport and ID card early on in life and don’t leave it.... otherwise you will have to jump through hoops and over hurdles to prove that you are French, and that it is not lost (your nationality).

Christine Lightbody on April 06, 2019:

My mother was French and my father was English. I was born in England in 1949. My mother is now deceased. I don't have her birth certificate. She married my father in France and I have the marriage certificate. Can I still get French citizenship or a French Passport and if so how do I go about it?

Lynn on October 23, 2017:

My 3 children are French citizens by birth, because their Father is French, who I've been divorced from years ago. I'm an Asian national. Can I acquire Permanent Residency in France.

Carol Zhou on September 24, 2017:

Everything I have read regarding attaining French citizenship by ancestry says that the French parent must register the child's foreign birth certificate with the French authorities. What if the French parent is deceased. Is it no longer possible for the adult child to attain French citizenship? or can the adult child self-register his/her birth certificate?

Sylvie on August 02, 2017:

I am currently married to a french citizen since February22.2003 I lived in France for 2 years. We have separated, but never divorced. I still have all my French rights as we reactivated my health card in 2009. Now I am separated since 2011 & would like to apply for my french citizenship. I can prove that in the 1600 my family on my mothers side came fron the Normandy region. However I have been approved for french citizenship back in 2007. Now my husband & I have separated in 2011 but never divorced. I still have a "livre de famille". Wew are still friends & I just want my french citizenship. We were together for over 7 years. What should I do?????

Pearl on July 31, 2017:

To reply to the question below, if both parents are French then the reply is yes, even if the child had not lived in France prior.

If only one parent is French and the child has not lived in France, then it is not automatic and a lawyer would be better able to reply to what is necessary in such a case. I imagine that there would be some priority or privilege accorded.

Wendy on July 01, 2017:

Does anyone know if an adult child of a French citizen not living in France obtain French citizenship? Thanks

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on April 06, 2017:

France is such a beautiful country, and I love the French language. Although I don't qualify for citizenship, I'm grateful that I had the chance to see this beautiful country, including going up the Eiffel Tower.

Cathy on March 27, 2017:

My parents were in France for 2 years while my father was stationed with the military. Both my brother and I were born in France. Just wondering if it is too late to obtain my dual citizenship. I am now 61. Thankyou

Jean claude on March 06, 2017:

I got married 4 years ago ,born in France, I live in California for 34 years , and we're retired and we want to live 6months here and 6 months in France , do my husband needs a residency visa or can I apply for citizenship ?

Thank you

Alan du Manoir de Juaye on February 26, 2017:

I am in a bizarre situation. My maternal grandfather was born in France. My mother, his daughter, was born in Canada (where my grandfather moved). The French embassy here told me that my mother was eligible for French citizenship, and that I, as the son of a French citizen, would also be eligible for French citizenship. However, my mother DIED at a very young age (34). I made enquiries and was told that the link had thus been broken. It seems that I am being left out because of my mother's death! I can't believe this. I have all of the birth records, etc. Is it actually possible that this can happen - that I am deemed inadmissible because my mother DIED??? I cannot believe this!!!

Anna on February 14, 2017:

I am 64 years old and have lived and worked in France since 1982.

What documents do I need concerning my parents? They are both deceased. I do not have their birth certificates, marriage certificate or death certificate.

abdel on December 04, 2016:


By residing in France for 5 years, you mean residing as a permanent resident or do study years count?

Thank you

Diana on December 02, 2016:

I am in the process of collecting my documents to apply for French nationality. I am 73 years old and have lived in France permanently for 5 years. Please could someone verify if I really need my parent's birth certificates? I have their marriage certificate. Both parents are dead and my siblings don't have these documents. Its complicated because my father was Dutch and I have no contacts for his remaining family.

Anna on October 23, 2016:

we are English and have lived in France for almost 10 years can are children get french citizenship

Brian Dove on October 10, 2016:

I am a UK national, my wife is French, we have been married for 21 years. We got married in Ireland, where we lived for a number of years. We moved to France in 2002 and lived there until 2010, since when we have been living in the UK. Would I qualify forFrench citizenship even though we no longer live there?

Tammy on August 13, 2016:

My fiance is french born and after living and starting a family has gone back to France to work while getting our daughters dual nationality under the impression once she has dual citizenship we will all be able to live there any info on this would be greatly appreciated would a mother have right just because her child has dual.citizenship? Any idea on how long that process can take? We've been together for about eight years and have had many vacations in France but now moving acrods the world to be together is a little scary.

Steven on August 10, 2016:

My wife is Germany but I live in France I have the France residents for 5years can I ask France passport two

David Brockenshaw on July 19, 2016:

I have been living as a retired person in France for 10 years and have integrated well into the society.If i apply for dual Nationality will I still receive my full English pension with the normal annual increases?

kellye on August 20, 2015:

Great Article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank French Republic Long Stay Visa?

geovanny.jacobo@gmail.com on April 13, 2015:

i been married to a french women for about 6 years.....since we got married we been comin to france every year for 1-2 weeks vacations...now we finally moved to france bout 4 months ago...can i apply for citizenship???

Paul on May 17, 2014:

Its actually above age 60 that the language requirement is waived, not 65. But I have a question. Can one meet the residency requirements for citizenship by residing in French Polynesia, or must it be in a Department of France?

paul on May 16, 2014:

The requirement fro the French language test is now being waived for applicants over 65

Jay on April 22, 2014:

Hi, I heard that the period of residence is reduced to 2 year if you have obtained a 2-year post graduate certificate from a recognized french establishment. I'm going next year to study Msc in finance but it's only a 1 year program will I be able to get a reduction in the residence period required? do the years you have spent as a student count towards the 5 years you need to reside in France to qualify for citizenship?

PK on December 27, 2013:

Thanks for your information

Rob on August 29, 2013:

Irene, how long have you had the impression that obtaining naturalization through studies is chancy, and often followed by rejection? Apparently the Interior Minister, Manuel Valls, is loosening the rules now. How up to date is this? Thanks.

Paul Perry from Los Angeles on April 29, 2013:

God bless france, such an amazing country and such amazing people. This is a wonderful guide to getting french citizenship thank you! Will be passing this along to a friend who needs it.

qqu on February 14, 2013:

There are some places where military service for another country makes it impossible or harder to get citizenship. Is this true of France? If I serve a few years and end my service and later want to become a French citizen, can I?

Irene on February 12, 2013:

Sorry, my mistake in the previous comment: the monthly wage necessary to successfully apply for French citizenship through naturalization is 1.5 SMIC, not ,5 SMIC :)))

Irene on February 12, 2013:

Great article, thanks! However, there's another important point i don't think you've mentioned because it's nowhere in the official "nationality rules". Please be advised that in order to apply for French citizenship through "naturalization", one is expected to have an income of around ,5 minimal wage (SMIC) and show healthy tax returns to prove that he's within the comfortable living level. Trust me that in the country where a large majority of local population works for minimal wages, finding a job that pays 1,5 SMIC is not at all easy! Until this year 2013, another unwritten rule stipulated that one must have a permanent work contract (CDI) in order to successfully apply for French citizenship through naturalization (having a CDI counted as a proof of integration), but luckily, the new government has changed it to ANY kind of work contract, even Interim (temporary work contracts of sometimes as little as 1-2 days). You still, however, need to earn in the region of 1,5 SMIC and show healthy tax declarations for the last 3 years.

In this situation, learning the language is the least of one's problems! If you have a job that pays SMIC in this country, you have nothing to complain about! :) So the procedure is not as easy and purely bureaucratic as it may seem. And as for obtaining a French nationality through studies, it's a highly chancy procedure which more often than not is followed by rejection.

mamun on February 04, 2013:

hi. i have been living france for two years. i m refugie politic; have ten year residence card( carte de sejour) . is there any rules for the refugie politic. can i apply for nationality before 5 yars ;

pintoo on November 10, 2012:


I am from India and i am working in France on "Carte de sejour Temporarie" since last 4 years continuously.

Will i be eligible to apply for French citizenship after 5 years completion?

paddy147 on November 09, 2012:

@peter does your mum or any of your relative lives in France, If yes then u can immigrate to france

Peter on August 30, 2012:

Hello, My Mother is a French citizen, and I am over the age of 18 years, is it possible for me to emigrate to France, I am a Sri Lankan national.

adil on July 24, 2012:

what are the requirements for a refuge in France?

mimi on June 14, 2012:

hello. I have a doctorate degree from Grenoble Ecole France but I took it as part time program while living in Lebanon for 3 years. I am also Lebanese. Am I eligible in my case to apply for the french citizenship? please reply and thanks!

Ana on May 07, 2012:

Hello, does anyone know if the person who is more than 18 old can get french citizenship if one of the parents has the citizenship(not born in France)?

I would really apreciate if anyone can give some of the answers! Thank you!

Jenny on April 21, 2012:

Hi, I was born in Asia but living in United States through my life from grammar schools to graduate schools and am a proud U.S. citizen; however, I also really want to be a French citizen & willing to learn French or buy a some property in french if it's necessary to obtain a French citizenship. My grandmother on my mom-side is half-French and half-vietnamese. Do you think I have the rights to claim my French citizenship and how can I do that? What's the best way for me to get a French Citizenship? Please show me the best way to obtain the French Citizen. Thank you so much for your time

Peter on March 13, 2012:

My grandfather is french born although he is now a US citizen and his french citizenship lapsed. I am 19 years old and I would like to become a french citizen. It seems this might be possible according to rubyray05's comments.

If I need to stay 5 years (or 4 I believe if I study at a university) I was not able to find out the rules for how long I may remain outside of France during that period without losing my resident status.

Merci beaucoup!

rubyray05 on March 11, 2012:

Hello, everyone!! Regarding most people questions. Applying for french citizenship it is possible if you been married, to a french spouse and been living in france for four consecutive yrs. If you started and finished a PH degree in any national french institution, if any of your parents or grandparents are french born or naturalized or if you are in france with a french permanent residence for five consecutive yrs, working or studying or just taking care of your french children and finally but not sure, enlisted in any french force. But don't forget that in order to get a french permanent residence you must arrive to France holding a long stay visa and that apply to students, workers or no french spouse.You get you long stay visa at the french consulate or embassy close to you. Hummm hope this inf. will help any of you. Good luck everyone

sorry for my spelling but I am falling asleep jeje

foxy lady on March 10, 2012:

My husband and I are British but have been living in France for 12 years now. We have two children both born in France but who are British passport holders. We were informed that when they reached 11 years old they could apply for french or dual nationality. Can anyone clarify this and if so should I approach my local prefecture?

Claire on March 09, 2012:

hey! i live in Australia and I'm planning to move to France in a couple of years. but when i finish school i want to stay with my grandmother in France for a couple of months. my dad was born in France but he has passed away, has that made any difference for my citizenship. as it is important that i see my french family?

malou on March 08, 2012:

hi! can you help me i have a nephew who was born in france and has a birth cert but sent back here in manila while he was only six month old.now does he need to file a tourist visa in going back to france?his mother is french resident visa holder.how do we go about it?what are the requirements needed?please help us hope to hear from you


francis5k on February 19, 2012:

Law required children born in France of foreign parents to request French nationality at adulthood, rather than being automatically accorded citizenship.

jane on February 09, 2012:

hi can any one help me i have i child holding a french pasport but she born in philippines can she go with me to travel? i want to know if she go back in philippines what will be happen because she don't have philippines pasport? pls help me.. and i cant apply paposrt for my baby now i don't have any time but i ask dfa about this they told me no problem i can take my baby in france i just want to make sure

rocky747 on February 08, 2012:

Dear melbel, I am from Iran, right now I am doing my 2 years Masters course in Toulouse, France!!! Can I apply for naturalisation???

Wikipedia says it is now relaxed to two years rather than 5 years!!!

Please comment on this

Thanks in Advance for the help!!! :)

Teri on February 06, 2012:

I was born in France, my mother an Italian immigrant lived in France for over 8 years. I lived in France till I was 3 and then moved to Canada where I have lived ever since. I would like to apply for French citizenship, am I eligible?

Daniela1m on February 01, 2012:

I have a question regarding the wait periods on the citizenship process. I fullfill al of the requirements as a spouse of a French citizen, and am able to apply now. The only catch is that my husband and I foresee a job opportunity/arrangements that involve moving back and forth between France and the states, spending a few months at a time in each. We will be able to maintain duo-residence (i.e bank accounts, taxes, etc.) without a problem. I am concerned that I will be called in for an interview and will not be readily available.....or that there might be a follow-up on the process and my moving back in forth might put into question my citizenship status. Can anyone tell me how far in advance one is forewarned of interviews? Also, is there any follow-up on the process during the first year and after? I have the option of changing my permanent address to my mother-in-laws address so that I receive mail more readily but I fear that this might cast negatively on my application because I would not be providing a rental contract along with other proof of residence.

I would really appreciate someones real life experience story.


Massachusetts USA on January 22, 2012:

Great website you are offering. Thank you!

I'd like to state my general question,

Is one able to obtain Dual Citizenship with France being 2nd? (USA is place of birth to two French born parents)


Mel on January 18, 2012:

I have an EU (Irish) passport and citizenship (since 1987). I have owned a house in France for almost 19 years and spent enormous amounts of time there (within the 90-day Schengen requirements of a U.S. tourist visa). I want to sell my house in the Périgord, move to La Rochelle, and rent an apartment there, leaving the USA pretty much permanently. My Significant Other is a US citizen. Of course, we want to migrate to France together. Is there a way for him to get EU (French, or Irish) citizenship so he doesn't have to leave the Schengen Zone every 90 days? We would be happy to get married to make this more feasible. If we did that, does it matter where we get married?

I should add that I also run a small business here in the USA that does a lot of international business. I know about the French bureaucracy, but if I were able to set up a branch of that business in France and employ by SO (or husband, if we married), would there be any benefit to that?

gina on January 02, 2012:

I am married to a french man for 7 years.He lives in Switzerland.

Married in California

I had kids from another man.

icould only live with my husband in Switzerland 3 to 5 months at a time...than had to come back to my kids in Calif...then my husband would come to me for a month and leave his business for his employees to run...and this went on for 3 years...

Then my husband abandoned me for almost a year,,then he came back...

It was a trauma for me.

Strangely, before we were married, i lent him a large sum of money on my credit card to help him with his debts...

When my husband came back, he agreed to sign a post nuptial and a note notorized to pay me back the loan...

he went back to Switzerland and we left on ok terms and he did not make any further plans to live with me in California nor could I move my kids and etc..

The marriage started to fall apart, however, he sent me payments by Western Union each month to pay me back.

he stopped all communication except through email..

He bacame hostile and rude and mean.

Now we have 7 years and he said he would not help me with my French citizenship and that he would pay me back half the money if i get a divorce...and the other half after the divorce...

This loan has nothing to do with my french citizenship.

I would like to have my money paid back and my right to obtain my French citizenship.

Marianne on January 01, 2012:

My mother was born in France, and married my father there. He was a WWII soldier, and they moved back to the US. She became a naturalized US citizen in 1961, so no longer is a French citizen. You listed one of the requirements to becoming a French citizen is one parent has to be a French citizen. I have also read that the parent needs to have been born in France, so I don't know if that works as well, even if she is no longer a French citizen. Any thoughts?

Greg on December 08, 2011:

My wife and I live in Canada. My wife has Canadian and French citizenship. What are the requirements for myself if we were to move and work in France?

Maddie on November 28, 2011:

Hi All,

So my dad is French, but my mother is American - I was born in the US and have US Citizenship. I've been getting more in touch with my French roots, now that my father has passed away. I'm hoping to move to France for a bit; and I've always wanted to obtain citizenship there.

I'm nervous that I'm already 27 - is that too old to apply? Also, where does the process start? Who should I show all the documents to? I have marriage certificates, birth certificates, death certificates, etc but I'm not sure where to go first to even begin. Thanks!

Matt on November 08, 2011:

I was born in France, but became an Australian citizen within the first three months, as both my parents are Australian. I would like to be able to get my french passport sometime in the future, but I am not sure whether I still have to live in France for five years to make this happen? Anyone know any details?

MJ on October 26, 2011:

Is anyone familiar with the The “Skills and Talent” Card visa (Carte Compétences & Talents) of France

Victor on October 23, 2011:

My grandfather is a french so is it possible to attain french citizenship for me and to my whole family

Leif (Norway) on October 21, 2011:

Can someone educate me what it means that Israeli captured soldier Gilad Shalit has "dual French citizenship via his grandmother"? Which laws exist that makes this possible. Both Gilad and his parents are both born and raised in Israel, while his grandmother on his father's side was French and immigrated to Israel.

jcontreras3791 on October 14, 2011:

I also have a question about French citizenship. Can someone acquire citizenship as a "xxxxx" citizen if they have a criminal record in another country other than the country there are to emigrate from? ie; As a Guatemalan citizen although they may have a criminal record in the U.S.?

Does anyone know about this?

Pat on October 14, 2011:

Hi there,

My fiancé is South African. We are getting married in England at the end of this year. We would like to move to France next year. Does any of you know what we need to do? Will he be able to work without restrictions? Will he be able to apply for his french citizenship? Will he get a spouse visa?

Thank you

eser on September 20, 2011:

I worked three years in France from 2007 to 2010 and then moved to UK. I intend to go back to France next year and I am thinking of applying for citizenship later on. Does my previous working experience count or do they start the clock from the beginning and disregard my previous experience?

tiffany on September 19, 2011:

both my parents are french but i was born in the uk and have a british passport, is it possible to get a french one but still keep my british one?

LeClerc on September 04, 2011:

melbel has written a useful hub here.

But it's just a guide.

She's can't process your application or answer all your questions.

If you want to become a French citizen, you NOW need to sort out the relevant information for YOURSELVES!

Jim on August 31, 2011:

This is a great trove of info, thank you.

My wife is French but we live in Asia, hence are both not resident in France. Under such a scenario would I be eligible to apply for French citizenship?

Melanie Shebel (author) from Midwest, USA on August 28, 2011:

Mash, contact the French government for further information. They can help you find a solution for your individual situation.

mash on August 28, 2011:

I'm British citizen living in France for six months,how long does it take to get French citizenship? living in France now, I'm single British,

Please reply,,,,,

Tommy on August 11, 2011:

Thank you so much for the useful information.

I wonder what if:

What if my grandfather used to have French nationality, my father never claimed it and now I wish to have it?

They (my father and grandfather)are both passed away already...

Lydia on July 08, 2011:

in response to erix simply say ' I will not be applying for french citizenship.' I think that could work.

Thank you so much for the very informative article! really cleared up some things for me, but I have one question. I plan to move to france once i graduate college, and am wondering that in order to complete the 5 year residency requirement, would I need to apply for a visa in order to live there in the first place? (I was born and currently live in the US and have no french relatives.) thank you!

Melanie Shebel (author) from Midwest, USA on June 09, 2011:

I would like to say there are so many great reasons to seek French citizenship. I am glad so many people have found this hub to be helpful! I am sorry to say that I cannot offer personalize advice to each user to who reads this article. There are so many different situations that my readers have when it comes to becoming a French citizen that I could not possibly address all of them. The best course of action would be to go through the French government to learn more about your specific situation. Best of luck on becoming a citizen of France!

TrishSA on June 08, 2011:

Hi. i'm south african (18 years old) and i've been studying and living in france for 2 years now. my dutch stepmother and father have been living in france for close to 5 years, and this year i'm supposed to be applying for a carte de sejour until i get my french citizenship. I know one has to live in france for 5 years in order to get the french citizenship but as i am going to be starting universitiy soon; it concerns me that i'll be forced to stay in france for the full 5 years. my question is; if i decide to go to university in Canada, for example, but my 'home' address is still in france, are those years counted in the 5 year requirement. anyone with any insite please let me know cause i don't particularly want to go to university in france. thanks very much.

Manju on June 08, 2011:

I'm planning to go to Paris this year as an undergraduate student. I need to take my husband with me to stay there till I complete the degree. we are from Sri Lanka and I need to know what kind of a visa my husband will get under my Visa and the duration.and Under his visa category , can he work while in France and if not legal to work Is there any possibility to change in to any kind of working visa category..Then what is the procedure for that?

caesarburgos on May 02, 2011:

I own property in France and my wife is a French national. I do not want to give up my US citizenship, but I would like to become a French citizen. Is this possible?

Laurine on April 27, 2011:

I'm a kenyan girl who lived with a french citizens and had a baby boy in kenya. the father and I are now separated I have his birthcerificate and a copy of his dads passport is there any way I can get his papers for him to use when he is older?

syedbhasan from Ankara, Turkey on April 23, 2011:

If a person obtains French nationality on the basis of his/her marriage to a French citizen and later on divorce takes place. Does this divorce affect the French nationality of the person who got it on the basis of marriage??

Please reply....

Cathy on April 16, 2011:


I recently obtained my french citizenship because my mother was born in France and is a French Citizen. It took some time, proof of ancestry, birth and marriage certificates, etc. I have 2 adult children who are also interested in becoming French Citizens. I do not yet have (or know if I need) a Livret de famille. I would like to get this - if I need it, and will also be applying for my passport. My daughter lives in England and is particularly anxious to get EU citizenship. What do they need to do to get the process started? Thank you.

Xaneb on April 11, 2011:

If one wants to study in a graduate program in france and wants to apply for naturalization, does one apply before arriving in france or after they have completed the degree? Can one apply to the institute on an immigration visa or does it have to be a student visa? What exactly are the measures necessary for a student to apply for citizenship of they're studying in France?

Thank you.

Miss Lil' Atlanta from Atlanta, GA on April 09, 2011:

Just another really well written blog Melbel! I'm definitely voting up on this one.

My daughter is thinking about moving to France or Spain. I'll have to show her this blog.

ema93 on March 16, 2011:

is it easier to get french citizenship if you have french children? I have three, but am divorced from their dad for over ten years. I've lived in Boston for that time but want to return to France because they all now live there full timeand I want to be close to them.

frenchlove on March 02, 2011:

Mani, you are pretty on the right track. It takes 5 years to get french nationality if ou live outside france. I our registered at the french embassy as living abroad like ou did, it takes four years mate

downtheganges on February 03, 2011:


I was born in France to foreign parents in 1968. Would like to know if I can apply for French citizenship now. Any suggestions on this would be greatly appreciated!

Mani on February 03, 2011:

I'm married with French citizen. We are married about two and half years now. We are living in Ireland. When we got married, we registered our marriage in French Embassy and they gave us French livret de famille. My question is, after how long I'm entitle to apply French Citizenship while living out of France. I know if you living in France it will be quick but how long after i can apply. I would really appreciate if someone can give some info.

Melanie Shebel (author) from Midwest, USA on January 24, 2011:

That's a really good reason to seek citizenship, Tony. Hopefully you stop back here and tell us how to process is going for you from time to time!

tony on January 21, 2011:

I am a Brit and have lived in France with my French wife for 15 years. Until recently I have had voting rights in the UK but these have now ended. I would like to have the right to vote in the French Presidential elections, so I want to apply for French citizenship.

Vusi on January 15, 2011:

I have been married for nearly 4 years, we have been living in France for nearly 2 years before then we lived in the UK. Mu question is where do i apply for citizenship. According to your article i meet all the requirements.

Ohh my wife is French

Please help.

Eisley on December 26, 2010:


You are quite knowledgeable on the subject, I can see that your ambition rivals mine. Best of luck, and if you ever wish to compare stories, I can be contacted.

Eisley Constantine

Poozer's pa on December 16, 2010:

Alana, joining the Foreign Legion will indeed gain you French citizenship, but it's like joining the U.S. Marines -- it won't be the easiest path.

alana on December 02, 2010:

Hi All!

I am aspiring to make a move out to the great France myself. I have been researching this for quite some time. 1. Reading through wikipedia.org, it does run down the requirements for obtaining dual citizenship (mainly speaking from a US citizen)

1. It does take 5 years residence &working there to apply

2. It can be reduced to 2 if you apply for a post graduate degree at a French Institution. (**Not undergrad

3. If your parents were born, then you are a step above the rest and can better claim dual citizenship.. but you better be able to prove every bit of it

4. Not sure about the marriage thing. that wasn't a concern of mine.

5. Just because you might want to take a trip to Limoges or Paris and have a child there, it will not make them automatically a citizen..unlike the US, where they'll make damn near anyone- even if you don't speak the common lang used to function in everyday life in the US

6.. Yes please do learn the lang.. Its logical people.. and honestly its fun.. Many children in different nations from African countries to European countries learn more then 1 lang coming up..

7. You can reside there for 2 years and join the foreign league (** their army) and that will also permit you to citizenship afterwards. **Same thing like the university thing

8.. Lastly one thing i am doing now is opening up a HSBC or Citibank (global banks) bank account in the country.. Mainly in the region that i want to relocate to. It might cost you about 300$ usd to open the account, but once you do. any monies you put in the account in preparedness for your move, it will be converted to euros..and we all know that EUros is kick the USD ass for a while now.. I say with a grand, do this and then just add to account only when the currency rate is in USD favor.. so that might mean moving larger lump sums at a time.. But when you get there.. lets say a year or two or even 3 years later after opening the account, you'll already have "presence" in France. and your taxes on that account will partly be used within France.. What i am trying to find out now.. is that will that help towards your "residence presence" for obtaining dual citizenship.. There are always loop holes lol.. But you have to research like hell to find them out.. Nothing ..especially moving to another country is cut and dry ..that is if you do the legal and right way. Good luck all!!

Anonymous on November 22, 2010:

Which the official website where it can be checked?

Ash on September 17, 2010:

Hi am getting married with a French woman, She is in uk now but have her french passport, I am a student and was born in Mauritius. She is 20 and i am 22. I wanted to know after i get married with her, can i apply for my french passport if we are leaving in the uk and how long will it take. thanks

Susette on September 03, 2010:

Hi, is a child born in a British country to a naturalized French citizen eligible for French citizenship?

andy on August 30, 2010:

i am marrying a french woman, we've been together for 2 years. in my case, will i be granted french citizenship straightaway. or i have to wait at least a year?

francois on August 04, 2010:

say you were born in France and i was removed from the country when you were a baby? you're are now old enough to get your citzenship but they wont give it to you, how does that work?

sola on July 01, 2010:

evril, you are eligible for french citezenship since you are a foreign student at a french university who has lived there for 2 years

evril on October 21, 2009:

im wondering if 2 years residence is including student visa period or not.. to master degree holder in france

anybody who can answer this??

Pat Bell on September 29, 2009:

What are the costs? My long term plan is to move to France, in the meantime for my Australian wife to first become British, it cost £350 for permission to marry, Indefinite Leave to Remain comes next at about £850 - she could stop there since we'll both be becoming French but British Citizenship then costs a further £850 odd.

Perhaps I should have looked for a French girl to marry :-)

Tonn on August 31, 2009:

It would be nice to have people sharing with us here how long their process to citizenship took.


milkjam on August 28, 2009:

there are several things missing and/or outdated. you have to be married for at least FOUR years now before asking for citizenship and the other possiblity about having lived in France for at least 5 years is reduced to 2 if you've got a masters/phd degree from a French University.

Fat boy on August 23, 2009:

i luv french boys they are hot

fat man 257 on August 23, 2009:

i like eating french food they are really delicious and the eiffel tower gives great view

Melanie Shebel (author) from Midwest, USA on July 17, 2009:

I am tickled to hear that you'll be referencing my hub when people ask you about French citizenship. Thank you for the kind words!

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