French Citizenship by Marriage

Acquiring French citizenship by marriage is possible for foreign spouses of a French national, provided that the foreign individual complies with certain requirements related to the duration of the marriage, his or her status in the country as well as proof of language knowledge and integration.

Those who are interested in obtaining more than citizenship through marriage with a French national can also apply for citizenship by marriage, also by complying with the current rules of this process which are mainly focused on the validity of the marriage and its length at the time of the application.

French citizenship by marriage can be a suitable option for foreign nationals who are in a relationship with a French citizen and are willing to take this step. However, for those who are not looking for marriage as a means to acquire citizenship, our French immigration lawyers can present alternative routes for lawfully living in the country for long-term purposes.

How does one acquire French citizenship by marriage?

A foreign national or a stateless individual may acquire citizenship by marriage when he or she has been legally married to a French national for a minimum period. It is common for such an individual to apply for French nationality directly, as it is possible under a valid marriage:

Some of the conditions are listed below by our immigration lawyers:


  • Marriage duration: in order to acquire French citizenship by marriage, or nationality, the foreign national who applies mush have been married to a French national for 4 years;
  • Citizenship status: when the French citizen is also a foreign national who has already obtained this status, the foreign spouse may apply only if the spouse has retained his or her citizenship for the aforementioned minimum period;
  • Consortium: this is also referred to as cohabitation – the spouses must have maintained both a physical and an emotional matrimonial relationship that had not ceased during the required period;
  • Proof of language knowledge: the foreign spouse who applies for citizenship or nationality by marriage must be able to prove that he or she has adequate knowledge of the French language;
  • Provide documents: the marriage certificate is required, among others and the couple must sign the needed papers together.

As far as proof of French language knowledge is concerned, this can be made either through a French language test or through a diploma attesting a certain language level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. French language tests such as the DELF are accepted. You can reach out to our lawyers for more information.

What are the main conditions for those applying for French citizenship by marriage?

In some instances, it is essential to note that the minimum required period for cohabitation is longer. For example, when either of the parties cannot prove that they have lived in France continuously for at least 3 years from the date of the marriage, then the required time of consortium is 5 years instead of 4.

The same 5 years period applies when the couple cannot provide support for the fact that the French spouse was registered on the list of French nationals living outside of France throughout the duration of the consortium.

It is also useful to note that a marriage registered abroad needs to be recorded in the French civil status register.

How can we help you?

Our team can help you prepare the needed documents when applying for French citizenship by marriage. Receiving specialized aid is helpful as the authorities, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (Ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères), require a specific set of documents and those that are in foreign languages need to be prepared before submission (i.e. to be translated into French by a sworn translator and/or notarized or apostilled in some cases).

Our team can help simplify the process by assisting you throughout the application procedure. We are able to provide advice according to your particular situation and the nationality of the spouse applying for French citizenship.

According to data from the French Institute of Statistics, the number of marriages in 2019 was 221,000. Other figures indicate the following:

  • there were 228,349 marriages between heterosexual couples in 2018 and 6,386 marriages between same-sex couples;
  • in 2019 the number of marriages between same-sex couples was 6,000;
  • the mean age for marriage between heterosexual couples in 2019 was 38.6 years for men and 36.1 for women.

Contact us for more information as well as tailored services when applying for French citizenship by marriage.