How to Apply for French Citizenship?

France is a spectacular mix of medieval cities, alpine villages, Mediterranean beaches and classical art museums making it easy to fall in love with the country and everything it has to offer. Not only that but it also has the world’s number one healthcare service according to the World Health Organisation so there’s no surprise that there are so many expats residing in the country of croissants.

If you’ve fallen in love with this European country and want to live in France long term or even permanently you may be eligible to apply for French citizenship or permanent residency.

For those that are committed to becoming a French citizen, find out the conditions and what you need to know to apply for French citizenship or French permanent residency.

The difference between permanent residence and French citizenship

If you become a French permanent resident this means you can stay in France for up to 10 years and, because the permit is renewable this theoretically means you could keep living in France indefinitely.

Permanent residents share most of the same rights as French citizens when it comes to education, work and healthcare but they don’t share them all, for example, you won’t be able to vote in elections or hold public office.

Permanent residence

You can apply for carte de resident (permanent residence) in France once you have lived there for five continuous years. Permanent residence is a renewable permit that allows you to live in France for up to 10 years.

Factors such as; the reason for your stay, employment, financial stability, language ability and your integration into French culture will determine whether you are granted permanent residence or not.

If you leave France for more than two consecutive years, then your permanent residency will be revoked.

How to apply

It’s easy to apply for permanent residence. You can head to your local French town hall and they’ll advise you on the documents you need to provide depending on your individual situation. The application can cost up to 269 euros. Top tip: if you have a one-year residence card, make sure you present it at the time of application otherwise you’ll have to pay an extra fee.


To become a French citizen and gain all the concomitant rights like voting in French elections then you can do this either through naturalisation, marriage or birth. You don’t have to give up your original nationality when you become a French citizen but can have dual nationality.

In order to become a French citizen through naturalisation there are certain requirements:

  • you must be 18
  • you must be living in France
  • you must have been living in France for five continuous years
  • you must be able to prove that you have integrated into the French community by learning the language and having knowledge of the French culture

To become a French citizen by marriage it’s required that:

  • you have been married to a French citizen for four years
  • you are still married to them
  • your spouse still holds his/her citizenship
  • you have a good knowledge of the French language

If you were born in France or to a French parent, then once you turn 16 you can claim French citizenship and will then be granted full citizenship once 18 years old provided that France has remained your main country of residence for five consecutive years since the age of 11.

How to apply

If you fulfil the conditions for one of the above methods, then you can proceed to apply to become a French citizen. Again, you can head down to your local town hall and submit your declaration request. You will be required to submit a range of documentation to support your submission.

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