Apply for French nationality
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).
Good to know: 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).
Who is it for?
What to do?
Check if you can obtain French nationality
The minimum to have a chance of obtaining French nationality:
1 / Have a certificate that justifies a level of French language B1 orally and in writing OR have a diploma in France (or abroad but in French) equal to or higher than level 3 of the national classification of levels of training (CAP, BEP)
2 / Justify that you are working.
3 / Have a valid residence permit.
You can use this online simulator to check if you can obtain French nationality.
Good to know: You can have a B1 certificate by passing the French tests "Integration, Residence and Nationality" of the TEF (of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris) or that of the TCF (France Education International).
> Find an organization to take the TEF test
> Find an organization to take the TCF test
Gather the necessary documents
You can use this online simulator to find out what is the list of documents to provide, depending on your personal and family situation.
Good to know: For photocopies of documents in your native language, submit translations from a sworn translator.
>> To read also: the Refugees.info sheet "Obtaining the official translation of a document"
In addition to your documents, you will have to provide a tax stamp of 55 euros.
>> Also read the Réfugiés.info sheet "Buying a tax stamp".
Option 1 : Send your file online
You can submit your application for naturalization " by decree " online if:
- you live in one of the following departments: 03 (Allier), 09 (Ariège), 12 (Aveyron), 15 (Cantal), 22 (Côtes-d'Armor), 29 (Finistère), 31 (Haute-Garonne ), 32 (Gers), 35 (Ille-et-Vilaine), 43 (Haute-Loire), 44 (Loire-Atlantique), 49 (Maine-et-Loire), 46 (Lot), 53 (Mayenne), 56 (Morbihan), 63 (Puy-de-Dôme), 65 (Hautes-Pyrénées), 72 (Sarthe), 81 (Tarn), 82 (Tarn-et-Garonne), 85 (Vendée), 92 (Hauts-de- Seine), 94 (Val-de-Marne).
- you are not currently engaged in the French army
If you meet these conditions, you can click here to go to the site and make your request online by clicking on "I start".
Good to know: The dematerialization of applications for naturalization by decree has been tested since July 2021 in 23 departments. It will be generalized to the whole territory thereafter.
You will be informed in real time on your personal space of the progress of your case, any additional information you may need to provide and the decisions taken.
Good to know: If you do not live in one of the departments mentioned above or if you do not wish to use this dematerialized procedure, you can also file or send your application (see step 4).
Option 2: Hand in or send your application
If you chose to apply online, go directly to the next step.
If you did not send it online, you can submit your file by dropping it off or sending it to the naturalization platform which depends on where you live.
>> Find the naturalization platform closest to me (map)
Good to know : Please note that the information on this map may not be up to date. We advise you to check on the website of your prefecture if you have to send or file your file.
Depending on the platforms, you can:
- Submit your file directly at the counter in the Prefecture
- OR send your file by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt
After submitting your file, you will receive a receipt.
1 - Your file is elligible
Congratulations! Your request is accepted.
You will receive a letter informing you of your registration in the naturalization decree (after its publication in the Official Journal).
Within the following 6 months, you will receive an invitation from the prefecture for a reception ceremony for French citizenship. You will receive on site: an extract of the decree and a copy of the French civil status documents.
Good to know: 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.
Good to know: When you first request these documents or if you are applying 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 go to the judicial or local court.
> Find the court closest to you (specify your postal code and "judicial court").
2 - Your file does not meet the conditions
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:
Ministry of Interior
Directorate General for Foreigners in France
Department of reception, support for foreigners and nationality
Sub-Directorate for Access to French Nationality
12 rue Francis-le-Carval
44404 REZE 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.