French Citizenship By Marriage

Foreign spouses of French nationals may apply for citizenship in France by marriage. There are a number of eligibility conditions and documentation requirements applicants must fulfil to obtain French citizenship via this route.

If you are looking for more information regarding how to apply for French citizenship by marriage, or you want to receive bespoke advice on your application from our team of expert immigration lawyers, call Total Law today on +44 (0)333 305 9375.

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    Overview of French Citizenship by Marriage

    Foreigners may apply to become French citizens either by declaration (claiming citizenship as they are legally entitled to it) or by decree (applying for citizenship), provided they fulfil eligibility and documentation requirements.

    French citizenship by birth, marriage, or ascendancy comes under the declaration route, while French citizenship by naturalisation is obtained by decree.

    If you are a foreign national married to a French citizen, you may apply to become a French citizen yourself by declaration if you meet certain specific conditions, which may vary depending on how long you have been married to your French citizen spouse and how long you have been residing (or have resided in the past) in France with them. The citizenship application process will also vary slightly depending on whether you are currently living in France or abroad.

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      Eligibility Conditions for French Citizenship by Marriage

      A foreign national married to a French citizen may apply to become a French citizen by declaration if:

      • Their spouse was already a French citizen on the date of their marriage and have retained their French citizenship since
      • They have been married for at least:
        • Four years and resided in France for a minimum of three years since their marriage without interruption, or
        • Four years and lived outside France, with the French spouse registered on the consular registers as a French citizen living abroad, or
        • Five years if neither of the above residency conditions is met
      • Their marriage took place in France. If married abroad, the marriage must have been transcribed to the French civil registration system
      • They have a valid residence permit (titre de séjour) if living in France at the time of their application unless they are an EEA or Swiss citizen
      • They do not have had an expulsion or have a current prohibition of French territory (ITF) order
      • They continue the community of life with their French spouse (apart from a case of domestic violence)
      • They have sufficient knowledge of the French language, at least equal to CEFR B1 level
      • They do not have a criminal record in France, having never been:
        • Sentenced to at least six months imprisonment without suspension
        • Convicted of a criminal offence, or an offence constituting an infringement of the country’s fundamental interests, or an act of terrorism

      Any period of irregular residence in the country before the required four or five-year period will not be counted towards fulfilling your residency requirement. The residence period will be counted backwards from the date of your citizenship application.

      Document Requirements for French Citizenship by Marriage

      To apply for French citizenship by marriage, you must submit the following documents:

      • Two copies of completed Cerfa form n°15277, dated and signed by both you and your French citizen spouse
      • Two recent photos
      • An electronic tax stamp of €55
      • Identity proof, e.g. your passport or residence permit (titre de séjour)
      • Proof of residence with your full name and address, e.g. utility bills or rental agreement for the last three months, property deed etc.
      • Original marriage certificate
      • Documents proving your and/or your spouse’s previous marriages were legally dissolved, if applicable
      • Birth or adoption certificates of your children
      • Evidence of your French citizen spouse’s nationality, such as original birth certificate, a court decision recognising them as a French national, certificate of French nationality, or any other documents issued by the French authorities confirming their French nationality
      • Proof that you have been living together since marriage, e.g. joint tax notices, recent utility bills mentioning both your and your spouse’s full names, recent bank statement of an active joint account etc.
      • Proof of your legal and uninterrupted residence in France for at least three years since marriage, e.g. a valid residence permit, employment contracts etc. (not required if you are married for five years or more)
      • Certificate of registration of your French spouse in the register of French nationals living abroad for the period you have been living together outside France (not required if you are married for five years or more)
      • Certificate or diploma proving your knowledge of the French language (or a certificate confirming that you cannot take a language assessment due to a medical condition)
      • No criminal record certificate for France, and for any other country where you resided for more than six months in the previous 10 years (note: applicants with a refugee or stateless person status will not be required to submit the no criminal record certificate for their home country)
      • Your passport or Schengen visa if you are a non-EU national and travelled to any of the EU Member States from outside the Schengen area for less than three months during the preceding five years

      All documents must be submitted in original, and all your supporting evidence must be in French. In case they are not, you will need to provide certified translated copies.

      The above list is not exhaustive by any means. The French authorities may ask for additional documents depending on your situation so you may wish to reach out to an immigration expert for assistance on what exact paperwork is needed for a successful application.

      Application Process for French Citizenship by Marriage

      The application process for obtaining French citizenship by marriage is through the declaration route. Applying for French citizenship via declaration is usually more straightforward than applying by decree.

      Prepare a Dossier

      You will need to put together a dossier with all the required information and documents. It is preferable to arrange the documents in the same order as referred to in the official instructions. While preparing your dossier, you should check whether the official documents from your home country need to be legalised or require an apostille.

      This is one of the most time-consuming and cost-intensive steps in your citizenship application process. You are advised to take legal advice since getting your documents in order is critical to the success of your application. Call +44 (0)333 305 9375 to speak with our team of legal advisers at Total Law.

      Submit Your Application

      You will need to submit your completed and signed application form along with the required supporting documents at a French government centre, known as a platform. You will have to submit your documents either in person or send via post if your platform offers that facility.

      If you are outside France, you will need to get in touch with your local French embassy/consulate to submit your documents.

      Attend an Assimilation Interview

      You will have to attend an assimilation interview along with your French spouse. This interview will be conducted at your regional platform by prior appointment and you must bring your ID documents to the interview.

      An interviewer will thoroughly check your credentials and ask you various questions regarding your life in France and why you want to become a French citizen. The goal is to ascertain the level of your integration into French society and culture. The interview will be conducted in French and you will not be allowed an interpreter.

      You must prepare well for your interview as the assimilation interview can be a rigorous process and may last up to 90 minutes. Your local gendarmes or police may also pay you a visit at this stage, which may or may not be by appointment.

      Speak with our legal experts right away if you're interested in obtaining French citizenship through marriage but need assistance. Contact Us

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        Citizenship by Marriage Application Review

        Post your interview, your platform authorities will review your application and supporting information, and your declaration of French nationality will be registered if you meet all the conditions to become a French citizen. They may also send your file to the Ministry of Interior with comments for further review within six months from your date of interview.

        If you are applying from outside France, the concerned French embassy/consulate will forward your file along with their comments to the ministry within six months.

        If your application is accepted, your local prefecture (or embassy/consulate for applicants abroad) will provide you with a copy of your declaration of French nationality by marriage. Please preserve this document as proof of your nationality and proceed to ask for a national identity card and/or a French passport.

        The authorities may take up to a year to refuse to register your declaration or two years if they want to initiate a procedure opposing your acquisition of French nationality.

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        How Can Total Law Help?

        The marriage pathway to French citizenship can be a time-consuming and complex process, involving collecting several supporting documents to prove the genuineness of your claim. In addition, your French spouse will also have to prove their French nationality to the authorities. While this may sound like a straightforward process, complications may emerge depending on your circumstances.

        It is, therefore, recommended to seek legal help to increase your chances of success if you are planning to obtain French citizenship by marriage. Moreover, in the unfortunate case of an application refusal, hiring a lawyer is obligatory to go through the appeal procedure.

        Total Law can help. Our team of competent and experienced immigration lawyers can assist you, regardless of your immigration circumstances or the complexities involved.

        For legal information and advice regarding your French citizenship by marriage application or to have an immigration advisor complete your application on your behalf, reach out to us today.

        We also offer document and application checking services if you just need a final check to confirm that your documents and application adhere to French citizenship by marriage policies and requirements.

        Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to further discuss the services we provide and how we can help you or use our online chat to book an advice session.

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                  FAQs

                  If your application for French citizenship by marriage is refused or opposed, you will be informed of the refusal decision and the reason(s) thereof in writing. You have a maximum of six months to appeal the refusal decision from the date of receiving the refusal letter.

                  You may lodge an appeal with the Ministry of the Interior within two months if they are opposing your application, or with the administrative courts of appeal for a final review within six months if your registration has been refused.

                  Yes, it is possible that the French authorities adjourn your citizenship application instead of accepting or refusing it. In such a scenario, they will send you a letter informing you of the reasons for such a decision, with a deadline for submitting your revised application.