Apply for French Citizenship with NATALIThere's more and more settled expats who have been living in France for a while wanting to become French and are applying for 'la Nationalité Française', especially post Brexit. This can be a daunting and long process, the good news is there's a new paperless service, all online, it's called NATALI, not to be confused with AMELI, the new online health service.
What is NATALI, How Does it Work?As of February 6, 2023, requests to become a French national must be made exclusively online. To achieve this the French Ministry of the Interior has developed a new platform.
With NATALI no need to drive and queue at the Préfecture anymore or to send your documents by post. The new process thru the NATALI service allows you (or your legal representative) to complete all the formalities electronically:
- acquisition of French nationality on the grounds of marriage, French ascendancy or French sibling by declaration
- acquisition of French nationality by decision of the public authority and reintegration into that nationality
- francisation of the surname and/or forenames
- authorisation after loss of French nationality
A personal area in NATALI lets you monitor the progress of your application in real time, informs you if additional documents are required and will update you on the outcome of the application. NATALI also provides users the possibility to appeal against unfavourable decisions and to send comments in the course of proceedings.
NATALI = No Paper DocumentsAll applications for naturalisation by decree must now be made in a paperless manner. Any paper file submitted after February 6, 2023, will be returned.
If you submitted your application before February 6th and were given a reference number, do not reapply, this could delay the processing of your application. In this case arrangements have been put in place to help you:
- digital reception points in the prefectures: provision of computer equipment and agents on site to help you with tele-procedures
- the Citizen Contact Center (CTC): via an online contact form or by calling 0806 001 620 (free call from a landline or if your mobile package includes calls to a landlines)
By Naturalisation or by Declaration?To apply for French citizenship you generally need to have lived permanently and continuously in France for at least 5 years and fulfil certain conditions. There are two ways to apply for French citizenship - by decree (naturalisation) or by déclaration.
What is Declaration?Applying by déclaration means you are claiming for something which you're legally entitled, as long as you meet certain conditions. For example if you are married or are related to a French person (child, grandchild, great-grandchild, brother or sister, ..) you can apply using the 'déclaration.
Specific rules apply if you were born in France to foreign parents. If you've reached the age of majority (18 years), were born in France to non-French parents and you've lived in France for 5 years since the age of 11, you can acquire French nationality automatically.
What is Naturalisation?Naturalisation is subject to several conditions, in particular the length of time you've resided in France for. To apply for naturalisation, you must have lived in the country for at least 5 years. If you're an EU national all you need is a valid and up to date passport, ideally rent with bio-metrics and finger prints.
If you lost French nationality it's not so difficult to become French again, if you are abroad the best place to start is with 'l'inscription consulaire' to make sure you are on the 'system'.
The process varies depending on whether you were born abroad or in France. For Brits, note that you are applying for French nationality and are able to automatically keep your UK nationality.
For Brits & Non-Eu ResidentsIf you're a UK national or other third country national you must hold a valid residency card. You must demonstrate to provide 'sufficient and stable resources' for you and your family, show your integration into the French way of life (and you will be tested), and prove that you understand, speak and write the French language to B1 level.
If you are a national of a country other than the UK then you'll need to verify whether you can hold more than one nationality. As a dual national, you will always be treated as French while you are living in France.
Simulator to Save TimeTo learn about the documents to provide for naturalisation by decree, use the simulator or go to the Naturalisation or reintegration into French nationality section on the Préfecture de Police website.
It's imperative to visit the French government and the regional Préfecture websites. Please note, only the interview for the examination of the application requires your physical presence, so is the welcome ceremony if the application has been successful.
If you're concerned your new or future nationality may affect your tax affairs, you can directly contact Francois at RWK Goodman for expert tax advice.