Where is it?
What is it?
You are a foreigner and you want to apply for French nationality? "Naturalization by decree" is one of the procedures to become a French citizen.
You must file an online file to apply for French nationality. It is the French State which then decides to grant it to you, if your file meets all the conditions requested.
French nationality allows you to:
- travel more easily abroad,
- to be able to vote in the various elections,
- be able to stand for election to be elected,
- to work in the civil service (for the State and to be a civil servant).
Refugees can apply for naturalization by decree upon obtaining their status . Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and stateless persons must wait 5 years of residence in France (except in certain special cases).
How to do it?
You can use this online simulator to check if you can apply for French nationality by decree.
The conditions to access French nationality are numerous:
1 / Have at least a B1-level of French language orally and in writing, see the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL).
Here are the supporting documents accepted as proof of B1-level for oral and written skills:
- a diploma of knowledge of the French language at least equivalent to B1-level ( DELF B1, DALF C1 or C2 …),
- have a certificate of the TCF (French Knowledge Test) or the TEF (French Evaluation Test) "Integration, Residence and Nationality" issued for less than 2 years with B1-level B1 in oral and written skills.
> To read: the Réfugiés.info sheet “Obtain an official certification of the level of French”.
- a diploma or professional title passed in France equal to or higher than level 3 the national nomenclature of training levels (CAP, BEP, BTS, etc.).
Please note that not all professional titles and certificates of professional qualification can be used to justify the level of French in the naturalization file. To check if your diploma or professional title is recognized AND is at least equivalent to level 3, you can use France Compétences search engine.
The certificate must specify that the studies were followed in French and that the diploma corresponds to at least level 3 of the national classification of training levels.
> To read the Réfugiés.info file: "Have a foreign diploma recognized in France".
2 / Justify that you are working.
You must have stable and sufficient income to live properly (with the members of your family if they are also in France). Put your employment contract and your payslips in the file as well as a certificate from your employer if possible (with your seniority in the company, your job, etc.).
3 / Have a valid residence permit.
4 / Prove your integration into French society:
- adhere to the principles and essential values of the Republic,
- have knowledge of French history, culture and society.
You can use this online simulator to find out what is the list of documents to give, depending on your personal and family situation.
> Also read: the Réfugiés.info sheet “Request the official translation of a document”
You must also pay a tax stamp of 55 euros.
> Also read: the Réfugiés.info sheet “Buy a tax stamp”
Since February 6, 2023, you can no longer send your file in paper format. The application for French nationality by decree is only done online on the NATALI platform.
- Click on "I start" and log in to your Foreigners in France account.
- Or if you've never done it, create your account. See the Réfugiés.info file "Create a personal account on Etrangers en France".
Please note that the online process is not accessible if:
- you live in one of the following departments: French Polynesia, Guyana, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Saint-Martin-Saint-Barthélémy, New Caledonia and Wallis-et-Futuna.
- you are currently engaged in the French army.
If you have a technical problem on the site (blocked page, error message, etc.), you can contact the citizen contact center (CCC) :
- by phone on 0 806 001 620 (free number),
- or via the contact form ("Contact" button at the bottom left of the screen). You must clearly explain your problem and send screenshots (site, date and time visible) with the error message if you have any.
Your file will be studied and you will be called to an individual interview with an agent of the Prefecture.
They will assess whether you meet all the conditions for applying for naturalization.
The authorities have a maximum of 18 months from the date they receive your application to respond.
This period is reduced to 12 months if you can prove that you have been resident in France for at least 10 years before the date on which you submitted your application.
What happens next?
You receive a letter informing you of your registration in the naturalization decree (after its publication in the Official Journal).
Within 6 months, you will receive an invitation from the prefecture for a ceremony welcoming you to French citizenship. You will be given on site: an extract from the decree (the decision of the French State) and a copy of the French civil status documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc.).
> Find the court closest to you (specify your postal code and “judicial court”).
Two possible cases if the decision is unfavorable:
- Your request is "inadmissible" = the necessary legal conditions are not met.
- If the reasons for this refusal disappear with the evolution of your personal situation, you can file a new application.
- Your request is "inappropriate" = obtaining French nationality is not or not yet possible, even if the legal conditions are met.
- If your file is "adjourned" (= put on hold), a deadline is imposed, for example to allow you to improve your professional integration. Once this period has passed, you can submit a new request.
In both cases, you have 2 months after the decision to lodge an administrative appeal with the Minister responsible for naturalization. This appeal is a mandatory step before making a contentious appeal.
You must send by mail to the following address:
Ministère de l'intérieur
Direction générale des étrangers en France
Direction de l'accueil, de l'accompagnement des étrangers et de la nationalité
Sous-direction de l'accès à la nationalité française
12 rue Francis-le-Carval
44404 REZÉ CEDEX
If you do not receive a response from the Minister responsible for naturalization within 4 months, this means that your appeal has been rejected.
You can then make a contentious appeal before the administrative court of Nantes. You have a period of 2 months from the date of rejection to appeal.
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