What is the criteria for becoming a French citizen?
One of your parents is French
You are married to a French citizen and have been for more than one year
You are married to a French citizen for under a year but have had a child together
You have lived in France for at least five years
As well as one of the above, you also have to:
be over 18 years of age
be able to show that you are of good character and morals
show proof that you do not have a serious criminal record (speeding fines and parking tickets do not count)
Pass the language test: TCF-ANF (French Knowledge Test for Access to French Nationality)The level required is the equivalent to the B1 under the common European language reference framwork (CECRL).
What about children?
If your child has foreign parents, then s/he can become a citizen in one of two ways:
at the age of 16, if the child has lived in France for five years or more s/he can make an application to the local tribunal for French nationality
parents can make an application on behalf of their child when they are 13, again as long as the child has lived in France for at least five years
How do I apply?
You need to fill out a dossier, which includes the following:
the application form that is available from your local mairie
your birth certificate
proof of identity, such as a passport
evidence of your marital status (and whether you have children)
evidence of your profession
proof of residence in France
an attestation de moralité – a letter from your maire attesting to your character is usually enough
You give these to the mairie who will send them on to the ministre chargée des naturalisations
How long does the process take?
From the time you hand in the dossier, it can be anything between one to two years
Do I have to give up my current nationality?
This depends on the country of which you are currently a citizen. Those of Britain, Australia and America, for example, allow dual nationality.
For more information, see the French Civil Code regarding French nationality (in English and Spanish).