© Albachiaraa - Fotolia.comWhat is the criteria for becoming a French citizen?

  • One of your parents is French
  • By marriage to a French Citizen – please see the following article Acquiring French Nationality through Marriage
  • You have lived in France for at least five yearsAs 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 framework (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 enoughYou 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).

Real life story: Becoming a French citizen

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