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Important information

Target audience

AudienceStatutory refugees, Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, Stateless people
Level of FrenchB1, B2, C1, C2


Be in possession of a residence permit or a receipt
Be in possession of the birth certificate issued by OFPRA

Where is it?

Apply for French nationality

Updated on 20 днів тому

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).

Becoming French is not a mandatory step in your career. It happens that some applications for naturalization are refused (even if the conditions seem to be met). It is possible to live in France without having French nationality (with a renewable residence permit).

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:

If you have had a diploma abroad after studies abroad but in French, you can request a certificate of comparability from the Enic-Naric center if you have obtained a diploma in one of these countries: Algeria , Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco , Monaco, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Chad, Togo, Tunisia, Vanuatu.
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 Réfugié 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.
To strengthen your file, proof of your participation in life in France can be added: registration in an association, voluntary actions... Letters of recommendation are also welcome, written by colleagues, teachers, neighbors, representatives from the town hall of your city…

You can use this online simulator to find out what is the list of documents to give, depending on your personal and family situation.

For documents written in your native language, you must also provide a translation into French made by a sworn translator.
> Also read: the Réfugié sheet “Request the official translation of a document”

You must also pay a tax stamp of 55 euros.

> Also read: the Réfugié 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.

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.
If the CCC has not been able to provide you with a solution, you can go to your prefecture to be accompanied by the digital reception point dedicated to foreigners living in France. To contact the digital reception point closest to you, you can search on the Internet by writing: "foreign nationals prefecture digital reception point" and adding your department.

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.

To prepare for this interview, you can download the citizen's booklet.

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.).

If you have unmarried minor children, they become French if they usually reside with you and if their name is mentioned in the decree.

Once you have become French, you can apply for a national identity card and/or a passport.

When you first request these documents or if you apply for the civil service, the administration may ask you for a Certificate of French Nationality (CNF). This document proves your French nationality. To make the request, you must contact the judicial or local court by completing this form.
> 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


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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