Help re Applying for French Nationality

Hi Everyone, I’ve been a member of SF for 6 years, I rarely contribute but often receive lots of useful information and tips, so thanks SF members for that. I am now asking for advice. A while ago Catherine Higginson posted some very useful advice on how to apply for French Nationality which I am following to the letter but now can no longer find. I think I now have all the necessary documents but just want to verify this before sending them off for translation so I would be grateful if anyone out there can let me know if I am ready to get them translated before I pay a huge sum of money and before I take them to the appropriate Prefecture. I have ready the following docs:

My birth certificate, marriage certificate (2nd marriage), divorce papers, birth certificate of my mother and father, marriage certificate of my parents, evidence of no criminal record and the deeds of my house which is already in French.

Is there anything else I need? Am I right in thinking that after translation I have only three months in which to get them to the Prefecture and then………. what happens next. I am 70 years old next year so believe I don’t have to take a French language test but image I should have enough French to hold some conversation and be able to prove that I have integrated into the local community.

Thanks everso.

Patricia Todd

You will need both UK and France criminal disclosures (from disclosure scotland for the UK). The last 3 years avis des impots, 3 recent photos (some information websites say 2 but I was asked for 3).
If your dossier is correct first time (a miracle!) then do not expect to hear anything for several months. If it lacks anything you should get it back quite soon with a note explaining what else is required.
Be sure to send it AR so you have confirmation that it has been received.
Eventually you should be given appointments for interviews then it will be another long wait for a decision.
I must add the caveat that each prefecture seems to do things different to others so what I have written above can only be a rough guide.
Bon courage!

Thank you very much Malcolm. Your message was most useful. I have spent most of the afternoon wading through documents and filling in gaps! Its even more work than I anticipated! It will be worth it though, for peace of mind.

I forgot to mention you will also need a ‘Bordereau de Situation’ from your local Tresor Public. This is to show you are up to date with all your impôts payments etc.

For anyone thinking about applying, this guide just popped up on Service Public:

But be warned that many préfectures still have, and demand, their own list of documents. And also demand things like original full translations of certificates when in law these are not an obligation. Since arguing with the préfecture is not recommended I suggest people also check the list on their préfecture website too.

I fell foul of this…

Toutefois, l’extrait plurilingue d’acte de naissance est accepté sans traduction.

And believed them. But my préfecture refused to accept it and returned the dossier, so I’ve lost a lot of time in an already long process. Plus another 75€!

That is disgusting! They even have them and use / issue them here, I got one for my kids when we moved back to oz - that is someone being an a hole if you ask me. I really think you had terribly bad luck, I’ve never heard that! It is all there in French.

Courage :wink:

Indeed so, as was the case for me, 60+ years old, but you must be able to show sufficient/proficient French to go through the final interview. The history/political/ social test is a breeze. Download, if you have not already, the Livret du Citoyen from

having worked through the “simulation” on the Fr Gov site…

I can confirm… it swiftly passes over the page where you put your age…
You get a glimpse, nano-second… then it’s gone… so no dispensations allowed now.

I reckon one was being asked to tick the box if one was older/younger than 70
as “70” clearly showed at the top of the section to be completed… before it was whisked away…

now if someone (tech guru??) could just press the necessary buttons on the gov site… to allow us to complete that “highjacked” page… it would be wonderful… :wink: :crossed_fingers: :hugs:

Égalité and all that! No dispensation for age any more, although will provide help if have disabilities such as deafness.

(although I think maybe refugees over 75 still get some dispensation)

Hi Geoff,

I believe the rules have changed and that there is now no exemption for anyone over 60+. I got in just in time! My French was “I get by” level and still,is but I did up my game and increased my lessons and all my French friends were so helpful in teaching me also.

I’m not sure if you have applied yet but the whole process for me took just over 2 years. Dossier sent before Christmas 2018, interview 13th November 2019 and I received an email last week informing me that my “civil état” has now been verified and that I need to look for my name that will be appearing in the Journal Officiel in the next few weeks as this is when I will be come French. I would advise you to start studying the language and the Livret as soon as possible. My French improved a little, enough to get me through the interview and I hear that most interviewers are kind and understanding, and give you little hints if you are struggling with an answer. That was certainly my experience in Bordeaux Prefecture. There is a very good Facebook group called “Applying for French Nationality. It is worth joining as it is a mine of information and people share their experiences and answer any questions you may have.

I hope this has helped. Good luck with it all.


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Thank you, but I do not need any luck, my JO appearance occurred in 2018 after 15 months, start to finish.