An individual who has been lawfully living in France for at least five years can obtain French citizenship, provided that he or she is over 18 years and also complies with other requirements.
Acquiring this status is important for many foreign nationals who relocate to France for employment purposes or for opening a business. This means that the primary condition for citizenship is to first acquire residency in France for long-term purposes. This can be granted for employment or business purposes, as well as for reuniting with a family member who is already a permanent resident or citizen. In some cases, one can continue to remain in the country for study purposes. The correct renewal of the permit is required.
Individuals who plan to move alone or with their families need to continuously comply with the residence permit renewal conditions in order to be able to apply for French citizenship in 2023.
Those interested can rely on the specialized assistance provided for this purpose by our team of lawyers who specialize in French immigration.
We can also help you if you want to immigrate to France from USA.
|Minimum time in the country before applying for citizenship||5 years, less in some cases|
Citizenship for investors
Subject to the minimum lawful stay
Citizenship for children
– for a child who is born in France and is living in the country at least since the age of 8, the parents can claim French nationality on his/her behalf between 13 and 16 years of age;
– after 16 years of age, chilren can apply for French nationality if the habitual residence was in the country for at least 5 years since the age of 11
|Citizenship by descent||
When at least one parent is French
|Citizenship by adoption||
Subject to fulfilling the conditions of full adoption by a French parent
|Residence requirements for citizenship applications||
– minimum lawful and continous stay of 5 years prior to application;
– valid residence permit at the time of the application
|Minimum age for citizenship applications||
|Citizenship for dependents who join the permit holder to France||
The dependents are subject to citizenship by naturalization
|Citizenship for foreign nationals married to a French citizen||They can apply for citizenship after 4 years, as opposed to the regular 5 years|
Reintegration is possible by decree or declaration
|Language knowledge for naturalization||
|History/law knowledge for naturalization||
|Loss of citizenship||
– through voluntary action;
– through a public official’s decision
|Dual citizenship allowed||
Submitting the application for citizenship is subject to certain conditions and the success of the request may be partly determined by the manner in which the applicant prepares the required documents (whether or not he or she submits all of the documents required by the French authorities).
Table of Contents
How to get citizenship in France
There are four main ways under which an individual may apply for citizenship. Two of them are reserved based on birth particularities while the others are available to applicants who are in no manner previously tied to French descendance.
We present the following ways to acquire French citizenship:
- by descent: the applicant has at least one parent who is a French citizen; alternatively, he may also apply in case of full adoption;
- by birth: when the applicant was born in the country and one or both parents were also French;
- by marriage: when a foreign national marries a French national he or she may apply for French citizenship by declaration after four years;
- by naturalization: a common manner to obtain citizenship that is available to all other applicants (who are not married to a national or are not born to parents of French descent); one can apply for French citizenship by naturalization after having lived in the country lawfully and continuously for five years; lawfully living in the country implies having a valid residence permit in France at all times.
The application process is simplified for those who are able to apply for citizenship based on the right of soil (jus soli) – the situation in which they were born in France by at least one French parent and later relocated to another country by the will of their parents, for example, the United States. In this case, the birth certificate is the most important document to be provided.
For those who acquire nationality by descent, the process may be more complex, based on the fact that they need to be able to prove the fact that one or both parents were French at the time of the applicant’s birth. A key step in this process can be obtaining the French nationality certificate (certificat de nationalité française).
Conditions for applicants in 2023
A number of conditions apply for each of the four scenarios presented above.
It is important to take note of these, this is why we suggest reaching out to one of our agents in order to obtain personalized information on how to get citizenship in France depending on your particular situation.
For example, in the case of citizenship by marriage, the following are important:
- Minimum consortium: the two individuals need to have been in a matrimonial relationship and cohabiting for five years and the foreign spouse needs to have lived in France continuously for three years at the time of the marriage;
- Joint presence: the married couple is to appear in person, together, to sign the documents with the French authorities;
- French language skills: the foreign spouse must have a good command of the French language, both written and spoken;
- Others: a fee is payable upon submitting the request and additional documents, such as the police record will be required.
A minimum of B1 written and oral skills are required by those who wish to apply for French citizenship. This is assessed according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
The evaluation period for the citizenship application can vary and individuals are advised to allow for a number of months before receiving an answer from the authorities.
When working with our team, we will provide information on the period to be expected and assist you should the authorities demand additional documents or reject the application altogether.
We invite you to watch a video about obtaining French citizenship:
French citizenship FAQ
Applying for citizenship in France can be straightforward in many cases, however, there are other situations (such as those having had previous French citizenship or having been born in France to foreign parents) that deserve clearer explanations.
Below, our team of French immigration specialists answers a set of questions that target more specific scenarios.
When is a child French?
As previously stated, there are multiple scenarios in which a child can acquire French citizenship. We list these below:
- When one of the parents is French at the time of birth, irrespective of where the child was born; it does not matter if the parents are married, as long as parentage is clear for the parent who is a French national;
- When one of the parents becomes French after the child is born, if the child has his or her habitual residence with the parent who is a citizen (or alternatively with that parent if they are divorced or separated);
- When adopted by a French citizen; in this case, the initial nationality of the child is changed;
- When the child was born in France to foreign parents; please read the next question for more information on the scenarios in this case.
What are the particularities of the case in which the child was born in France to French parents?
In this case, one of the three situations applies:
- at least one of the parents was also born in France, or
- at least one of the parents was born in Algeria before July 3, 1962, or
- born stateless in France.
When none of these situations are applicable in a particular case, the child can become French after the age of 13 years, under specific conditions.
Can you have more nationalities when living in France?
Yes, citizens are allowed to have more nationality, for example, to have dual nationality.
Two or more nationalities can be obtained at birth or by naturalization.
However, an individual with dual citizenship cannot have the other nationality prevail while he or she is living in France.
French nationality can be withdrawn in case the holder commits certain crimes.
How much does the application for citizenship cost?
The general fee is €55, which is payable through a tax stamp (acquired online, printed, and attached to the application to obtain French citizenship.
This electronic stamp is only valid for 12 months after purchase, meaning that the holder needs to complete this application in due time or acquire the stamp only when all of the documents are gathered and in order.
Remember that you can always get in touch with our team if you have different other questions, or if your situation is a particular one and you are unsure how to proceed.
Foreigners in France
Foreign nationals who have been living in France for the prescribed minimum of 5 years before they decide to obtain French citizenship will have already entered into employment or business agreements, as well as property rental or purchase contracts.
After five years, one is suitable for naturalization particularly because he or she has become sufficiently adjusted to French life and culture in order to become eligible for citizenship.
One aspect of life in France remains important and, as previously mentioned, this is the mandatory language knowledge for citizenship.
Foreign nationals who obtain a temporary residence permit for employment or study will either already have French language knowledge or will participate in language courses, in order to make sure they meet this requirement.
The composition of the immigrant population in France is changing and the Institute for Demographic Studies has said that 6.5 million immigrants were living in France in 2018.
It was estimated that approximately half of France’s immigrant population was from seven main countries: Algeria, Morocco, Portugal, Tunisia, Italy, Turkey, and Spain.
It was estimated that, in 2018, a little over half of the immigrants in France were women (52%).
This means that, in 2018, 9.7% of the total French population (67 million) was composed of immigrants, out of which 37% had acquired French citizenship.
Also according to the French Institute for Demographic Studies, the immigration flows were the following in 2017:
- 10.3% of the immigrants were aged between 0-17 years;
- 64.4% were aged 18-34;
- Only 1.6% were aged 65 and over;
- a total of 237,742 individuals applied for a first residence permit in France issued for one year or more in 2017.
Most international immigrants choose to relocate to developed countries and France is an optimal choice for a number of reasons, among which are the quality of life, the employment opportunities, and the country’s position in Europe. It was estimated (according to UN data, that in 2017 there were some 258 million people who did not live in the country in which they were born.
For most foreign nationals who choose to relocate, remaining in the new country is an important goal and it is considered final when the individual applies for and obtains citizenship.
Obtaining citizenship can be the purpose of those who choose to relocate to France. However, this is a process that includes several steps and spans over 5 years minimum lawful stay (or less in some cases). Relocating to another country is a journey for which we are prepared to assist. You can reach out to our team if you are ready to move to a French city.
If you need more information on how to get citizenship in France, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can help you during the application process, as well as with details according to your particular situation, if you are ready to apply for this status in 2023.
Our team can provide complete assistance irrespective of nationality or one’s particular personal situation.
We offer immigration services also for persons who want to immigrate to France from UK.