How to Become a French Citizen: a Comprehensive Guide for Foreigners

France is an economically developed country with a high standard of living. Foreigners love it for its mild climate, rich culture and delicious cuisine. It's a great place for running a business, getting an education and enjoying a comfortable life.

If you live in the UK or USA, you can't relocate to France to live there permanently as easily as EU citizens. You'll need to fit the requirements, collect the documents and apply according to a set procedure. In this article, we'll explain what exactly you should do to become a French resident and then a citizen.

How to Get Citizenship in France

There are several ways of becoming a French citizen. Below, we'll list the requirements for each of them.

By Birth

A boy or girl born in France doesn't automatically become a local citizen. Instead, they inherit the nationality of their parents. They will qualify as French citizens only if their mother, or father, or both, tick any of these boxes:

  • Were born in Algeria before it gained independence
  • Were born in France

If the kid fails to meet any of these criteria, they will get the local citizenship if the following conditions are relevant for them:

Age of the applicant

What they should do to qualify for citizenship

Additional remarks


Have lived in France since the age of 8



Have lived in this country since the age of 11

When the kid turns 18, the state will apply for them


Have lived in this country since the age of 11, have a brother or sister with French citizenship and have attended a local school


By saying "France", we also mean its overseas territories in this case.

By Descent

A kid qualifies as a French citizen if any of their parents are French and have ties with this country. For instance, if the mother was born in France but has spent most of her life abroad, her child might fail to obtain French citizenship automatically. If the mother has spent most of her life abroad working in a French consulate, then, the kid will be French.

Citizenship by ascent is also possible. This offer is valid for grandparents and parents of French people. These parents and grandparents need to be aged at least 65 and have stayed in this country as legal residents for at least 25 years.

By Adoption

In this country, parents can adopt a kid either in a "simple" or "plenary" way. In the former case, the child retains the connection with their biological mother and father and won't automatically become a French citizen. In the latter case, they lose any relation to their biological family and become a French citizen — provided that their new parents were French on the day of the adoption. This option is relevant only for boys and girls aged younger than 18.

By Naturalization

You can use this option if you're aged 18 or older and have legally spent the necessary minimum number of years in France. Below, we'll list the categories of foreigners who qualify for naturalization and the minimum required uninterrupted duration of their residence:

0 years:

  • Have rendered exceptional services to France
  • Have served in this country's army
  • Joined this country's army or an allied army in a time of war
  • Are refugees

2 years:

  • Studied for at least 2 years in a local higher education institution and got a degree
  • Have become an integral part of the French culture or sports
  • Boost the scientific, economic or social progress in this country thanks to their talents and skills

5 years:

  • In all the other situations

It's mandatory to have a clear criminal record and enough funds to sustain yourself. The exact required level of income might differ depending on your personal circumstances. Typically, you should have at least €1,800 per month to feel comfortable in this country.

Plus, you should pass the exams to prove that you can speak and understand French and know the basic facts about this country.

By Marriage

If you walk down the aisle with a French citizen, you'll be allowed to apply for citizenship in 4 years. If you and your partner spend less than 3 years in France and move abroad, you can apply for citizenship in 5 years after receiving the marriage certificate. Be ready to pass a B1-level language test.

France Citizenship by Investment

Unlike Spain or Greece, France doesn't grant an investment visa to expats who purchase costly real estate on its territory. Instead, it offers a long-term tech visa to foreign talents who can contribute to the development of the French economy and technological innovation.

The required investment threshold is rather affordable:

  • €20,000 — for an innovative startup
  • €30,000 — for a new business that isn't focused on innovation
  • €300,000 — for an investment in an already operating business

It's impossible to get a residency by investing in shares or bonds.

An expat can make an investment either personally or through an organization in which they own at least 30% of shares. Plus, they need to own at least 10% of the company that they invest in and provide at least 50 jobs for French citizen.

The French Tech Mission will review your profile and investment history. If the experts decide that you qualify for the program, they will send you an official acceptance letter.

After you receive the letter, go to the closest French consulate or embassy in your country of residence and apply for a French visa. Make sure to do so 3 months before the day when you're planning to relocate to France. If you are already in France, visit the local prefecture and ask for a residence permit.

You'll be allowed to stay in this country for 4 years. Then, you'll be able to renew the permit. Each year, you'll need to spend in France at least 183 days — so you'll become a local tax resident and will be paying your taxes here.

After having spent 5 years in France, you can apply for citizenship:

  1. Prepare the papers (you'll find the exact list in the dedicated section of this article)
  2. Submit the application either in France or in a French embassy abroad
  3. Have an interview to confirm that you can speak French and know the basic facts about this country
  4. Wait for the approval
  5. Attend a citizenship ceremony and take an oath of allegiance to France

Each case is individual and the details might vary. Make sure to consult an experienced advisor before you apply.

Who Has the Right to Apply

The target audience of the French tech visa is individuals aged 18 or older who:

  • Work for startups
  • Are scale-up employees
  • Create businesses and invest in them

They can apply together with their partners (regardless of whether they're officially married or not) and underage kids. Professionals with a tech visa will get access to incubators, co-working spaces and networking events.


Here is the approximate timeline for becoming a French citizen:

  • After you apply for the tech visa, wait for 3 months for its approval
  • Get a residence card for 4 years
  • Renew it in 4 years
  • After having stayed in France for 5 years, apply for citizenship (if you tied the knot with a local resident or completed higher education in this country, 2 years are enough)
  • Wait for up to 2 years for your application approval

The fee for receiving a local passport will be around €155.


To apply for citizenship as an investor, be ready to collect these papers:

  • Filled-in application
  • Passport
  • Two photos
  • Birth certificate
  • Documents on your marriages and divorces
  • Proof that you have always been law-obedient
  • Proof that you have somewhere to live in France (property lease or purchase contract)
  • Copies of your last three real estate receipts and the last invoice for household bills
  • French language certificate (B1 level)
  • Stamp duty (around €55)
  • University degree in your business field (Master's level or higher)
  • License for carrying out business activities in France
  • Business plan

Make sure to translate all the papers in French, certify them with a notary and apostille them.

If France doesn't recognize the educational institution where you got your degree, you'll need to obtain a local recognition certificate for your education in France.

Reasons for Losing French Citizenship

You'll have a right to renounce French citizenship at any moment. This might happen, for instance, if you decide to relocate to a state that fails to accept dual citizenship.

Otherwise, you may lose your French citizenship for the crimes that you commit against this country — such as terrorism. If you behave responsibly, there will be no reason for you to lose citizenship.

Dual Citizenship of France

France doesn't mind dual or even triple citizenship. You won't need to renounce your homeland's passport — unless the laws of your homeland oblige you to do so. With two or more passports, you'll enjoy the same legal protection and privileges in France as its citizens who have only one passport.

Benefits of French Citizenship

After you become a resident of this country, you'll be able to:

  • Live, work and study here
  • Get access to high-quality healthcare services and social security
  • Open a bank account and get loans on favorable conditions
  • Apply for a driver's license
  • Become eligible for tax benefits and assistance programs
  • Benefit from community centers, libraries and other public services
  • Travel visa-free within the Schengen Area
  • Fly to any part of the world with reasonable expenses
  • Help your family members relocate to France
  • Appreciate the level of human rights protection and respect for democratic values

As a citizen, you'll be able to vote, participate in political life and run for political office. When traveling abroad, you can rely on French diplomatic assistance.

As a resident, you'll need to stay at least 183 days per year in this country. As a citizen, you can travel abroad for as long as you wish. If you want your kids to live in France, you'd better opt for citizenship.

Property Prices in France

Here are the approximate property prices in different municipalities:


Average price per square meter in an apartment

Average price per square meter in a house




Le Mans



Le Havre





































































In 2021 and 2022, people were looking for new accommodation especially actively. During the COVID-19 lockdown, they began to value privacy, large spaces and homes where it's easy to set up a cozy office for remote work. They began to move from urban to suburban areas. The construction quality in this country is very decent even away from large cities. Curiously enough, the builders didn't begin to offer more individual houses. In 2022, the construction of such houses grew only by 2% while the construction of blocks of flats grew by nearly 12%.

From 2017 to 2022, French property prices kept growing. In 2022, they went up by 6.4%. The demand exceeded the supply.

In 2023, we're witnessing the beginning of a reverse trend in terms of prices. By the end of the year, the cost of purchasing accommodation might fall by 5-10%. Experts predict that the decline will be the most pronounced in large cities, such as Paris, Lyon, Nantes and Bordeaux. The main reason for that is the global economic crisis caused by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. People's paying capacity goes down because of inflation.

To cope with inflation, the European Central Bank has increased its rates. As a result, the mortgage rates in France have already risen from 1% to 2.5% and might soon reach 3.5%. The 1% rate, by the way, was the 50-year low. In 2022, selected banks stopped giving mortgages because they reached their limits.

Foreigners can take a mortgage in France — but the current conditions are not too favorable. If you're from the UK, you may expect to get up to €150,000 as a loan or a maximum of 80% of the property's price. If you're from the US or other locations outside the EU, your limits can be €250,000 and 50%, respectively.

If you put some effort into searching for opportunities, you might be able to buy a house or apartment in France at a very good price now. Use this chance to make a smart investment!

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