If you plan to apply for French citizenship once you’ve lived in France for a few years, you’re in luck. The French government has just simplified the, sometimes complicated, process.
There are currently two main routes to gaining French citizenship. The first is by marrying a French citizen, you’ll be eligible after four years. You’ll be eligible for the second route after living in France for five years (or two years if you completed higher education in France).
Please note the application process can take anywhere between 18 months and two years.
The new (speedier) path to French citizenship
The French government has introduced NATALI, a new process for Naturalisation française par décret.
NATALI is an online portal that allows foreigners to apply for citizenship online.
To find out if you qualify for French citizenship via NATALI, please visitto test the naturalisation simulator https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F2213
Please note, application via NATALI is not yet possible if you live in the following departments French Polynesia, French Guiana, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint-Martin-Saint-Barthélémy, New Caledonia or Wallis and Futuna.
Using NATALI streamlines your citizenship application process by creating a single, nationwide portal for you to submit your application.
Once you have submitted your French citizenship application using NATALI, you will only need to attend one in-person appointment at your local prefecture in France.
There you will be interviewed and tested on your knowledge of French culture and the French language. Your results, if sufficient, will qualify you for citizenship.
Plus, there’s a in-person naturalisation ceremony for those granted French citizenship.
When is NATALI available?
The new portal, NATALI, went live on February 6th, so is ready to use for anyone looking to make an application.
One to bear in mind if you’re looking to apply for citizenship in the next few years – all future applications are to be made using the online portal.
If you’re interested in the path to French citizenship, our writer in the Charente, Beth, documented her application process on Property Guides France.
What’s involved in the French citizenship interview?
During this interview, you will be asked various questions about why you are looking to attain French Nationality, what you do, your family situation etc. You will also be questioned on the laws, history and culture of France. A very useful tool when it comes to preparing for this portion comes in the form of the “Livret Citoyen”. But it is worth noting this part of the process still has very much the feel of yet another “exam”.
There are four language tests administered in the interview for French citizenship. They’re made up of the following:
- Oral comprehension test (25 minutes)
- Oral discussion with an examiner (15 minutes)
- Reading test (45 minutes)
- Writing test (30 minutes)
All parts of each exam are administered in French and you need to pass all four sections of the language test to qualify for French citizenship.
Read about Beth’s experience with the B1 language exam below…