Has anyone applied for French citizenship recently?

My partner and I have (or will have shortly) the requisite period of residence in France to apply for citizenship. I know the rules changed relatively recently to require evidence of French language ability beyond the interview, which was all that was essential on that front for over 60s previously.
I’d really appreciate any information about people’s experience of the process and resulting advice.

I’ve been searching in case this has aready been covered but, as usual for me, without much success so am happy to look at existing posts if some kind soul could point me towards them!

Many thanks


There is now no exemption for the over 60’s. You have to have evidence of your level of French to B1 level. You can go for the DELF diploma which has no time limit, or do either a TEF or TCF test which have to be issued I think within the previous 12 months of making the application (could be a bit longer, but they are time limited)…

Here’s the info )even tho’ they say not accessible)

My experience of the process so far is that they dot every i and cross every t, so until you have the exact bits of paper they want in the right format your dossier will gather dust. And depending on where you are in France it can take 3 years.

And préfectures have subtle difference, so download list of requirements from your préfecture and follow them to the letter!

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Eldest daughter has already waited two years and doesn’t expect to hear anything anytime soon, she has had to apply for a CdS in case her citizenship application goes beyond July next year.

Thank you both. That’s very interesting, if a little depressing!
I realised about the formal French language requirements but am not sure at the moment where I could do a test locally. According to my French teachers, my language level is reasonable and shouldn’t present too much of a problem, but how to go about it is another matter of course.

I shall study your link, Jane, thank you

Can’t help on the language side as it wasn’t an issue for me (French masters from a French Uni) but as has already said; everything has to be 100% correct otherwise the dossier just gets thrown back, after all you’re asking to become a French national, it’s not at all like a carte de séjour. As for timescale, it took me 3 years from start to finish.

Courage !

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I did the TCF test in June and just scraped through. The lowest mark I got was in the written section (quelle surprise) and the lowest of the four sections formed the base for the final result. So despite getting a B2 and two C2’s, I got B1 overall.

If you are going to do it (and especially as it cost 150e plus the loss of a days earnings if you are self employed), I would strongly suggest doing a fair bit of preparation.

I administer Toeic tests in English so was used to the listening / written comprehension format but some of the other people doing it with me really struggled. I am also an examiner for the CCI and would have given myself a higher grade in the spoken part, so yeah, its tough and significantly tougher than the old version of the test.


I find it very depressing that the French authorities changed their language requirements for citizenship just when many Brits were considering applying.
Together with the appalling delay in telling all CPAM’s that the withdrawal Agreement meant that we were entitled to stay in the French health system, I feel that Brit senior citizens are not really wanted in general by the French Government.
I have to say that the absolute opposite applies in Trivy.

I don’t think the exam was changed to get at the Brits per se, I think that the benchmark was just raised to prevent so many people applying for French nationality, of which the British contingent happens to be a fairly small percentage.


Brits make up a very small percentage of those applying for French nationality. I think it is only normal that if you ask to be granted (and it is that, there is no right, you are asking for a very profound and symbolic “gift” imo) nationality you must be able to speak the language to a set level, just the same as you need to demonstrate you integration and knowledge of all things French at the interview. I see it as part of the “bundle”. After all there is no need to be French to live in France, you just need a carte de séjour :wink:


Bravo !

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Not my proudest moment but thank you. And I was very ill. And…didn’t follow the instructions so lucky to get 9 out of 20 probably!!

Still, all my ‘students’ love it as they can now take the piss out of me!


Some interesting stats, (2018 but pretty representative), % of Brits very small as we’ve already said, % of over 60s very small too… % of over 60s Brits absolutely tiny!

Au total, 62 % des nouveaux Français sont d’origine africaine, 20 % viennent d’Europe. 9 % sont originaires d’Asie, 7 % d’Amérique et 2 % d’Océanie.

Ils sont relativement jeunes : un tiers ont moins de 15 ans, 17 % ont entre 15 et 29 ans, 29 % entre 30 et 44 ans, 16 % entre 45 et 59 ans. Finalement, les plus âgés sont les moins représentés avec moins 4 % ayant 60 ans et plus.


That is all most interesting - thank you! I do regard the idea of citizenship as a privilege and am happy to work at getting it if at all possible but accept that I might not. I think I’m quite good with pernickety papaerwork having spent a lot of my working life doing something equivalent, but the language exam thing is the biggest worry. Well done @cat for surmounting that hurdle - most impressive :smiley:


TV Monde do some very useful training so you can test yourself and practice, here.

Depending on how easily you retain info and how much you know about France you also need to study for the interview. I am useless at history whether english or french so have been working on my history of France for a while now.

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Andrew, when I was wrongly accused by the gendarmerie of leaving the scene of an accident, they, unbeknown to me, conducted an enquiry to see if I was integrated into our community.
They found I was integrated and very highly thought of. Unfortunately they did not do not do the same for the complainant and I was subsequently told that I was one of the village because I had been one of her victims. Her husband was a road traffic gendarme andI was informed by our Mayor that it was because he complained that I was accused. This couple is not included in the social circle of our immediate neighbourhood because they are so disliked.
As I have previously said, I do not want to be different from Jim, who is a physicist and not a linguist!
After all of this, we have decided that we do not really want to be either French or British, just to be judged on who we are, which is exactly what happens in our commune.

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I think you must have been very ill…so well done for struggling through.

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Jane, not saying for a moment that you’re not integrated and I know how much being european means to you and your family. My point was that, although unfortunate for some, the language test is part and parcel of naturalisation for pretty obvious reasons.
There have been many changes in the process over the years and for good reasons, some time ago “mariages blancs” were rife because the foreign partner became French by right and very quickly. Now you have to be married for at least 4 years before applying for naturalisation, go through the process (although quicker and easier for marriage) have the gendarmes round to make sure you do actually live together etc. The process evolves as the situation does :wink:


One can hardly not think, due to the timing, that the change seems to have been caused by Brexit and this is yet another hurdle for people who have already been kicked in the teeth to have to jump over.
The gendarmerie around here already know that we live together!
I wasn’t making any assertion that you didn’t know that I wasn’t integrated, just that the gendarmerie had asked those questions when they wrongly accused me. They also failed to investigate the standing of the other party, even though our then Mayor told them that she was a well know troublemaker.
That’s what you get because she was married to an ex gendarme!

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I don’t think this is connected to Brexit, the EU as a whole are considering making an understanding of the individual countries language a prerequisite of obtaining citizenship, Macron in particular has been pushing for this.


I often wonder what do we actually mean by ‘ integrated’ is it Jane in her close knit community,Andrew with a business,it seems to be something a lot of people moving to live abroad strive for,but can we ever achieve it totally?

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