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French Nationality

(54 Posts)
henstooth Wed 18-Oct-17 09:36:44

Hi everyone - I wondered if anyone here has applied for French nationality and if so, how long it took? I have heard it can take many months (18 months+).

My husband and kids are French (I'm British) and we live in an EU country, which I would like to stay in post-Brexit.

I'm due to take the TCF French language exam next week and plan to submit my dossier to the French consulate, as soon as I receive the certificate (assuming I pass the test) but it would be good to get an idea about what happens next and how long the various steps take...

Many thanks

LaChatte Wed 18-Oct-17 09:51:21

Hi, I applied for it for the first time in June 2016, the first few attempts were sent back for various reasons to do with incomplete/incorrect/outdated paperwork, I eventually managed to get it right in October 2016. I didn't hear back from them until May 2017, when I was summoned for an interview 2 hours away.

The interview was going really well until I was asked about if, in case of war, I'd fight for France against the UK. I said I wouldn't fight for either. I also said it was a stupid question, especially seeing as I wasn't giving up my British citizenship, but asking for dual nationality.

I haven't heard back from them since (the paper I left the interview with said I'd get an answer within a year).

I've been living in France for 20 years, married to a Frenchman with a French DD. I'm a fonctionnaire d'état (civil servant), my French is as good as my English (French people can't tell I'm English from speaking).

So uhh yeah, you need a lot of time, patience and money (the official translations for your documents are expensive), and it really isn't a sure thing.

clearsommespace Wed 18-Oct-17 17:14:17

Goodness Lachatte, that question is a bit off.
I have just started the collating the zillions of docs required to submit my application. DH is French too.
Can I ask did your DH get a 'certificat de nationalité' or did you just submit a copy if his passport to prove he is French?
The dossier for the certificat de nationalité is thick enough!
Also did your DH get summoned for an interview? And how much notice did you get? I'm worried it will be too short notice fir him to get time off work. I have to take time off to go and get my TSF results ( just in) as I have to go in person and the office is only open during my working hours.

SagelyNodding Wed 18-Oct-17 17:21:04

I keep meaning to get started with the French nationality papers, but there is so much! I also had no idea that it would take so long shock

It took 14 months for me to convince the préfecture to switch my UK driver's license for a French one, so really I shouldn't be so surprised!

AtlanticWaves Wed 18-Oct-17 17:24:45

Oh wow, that wasn't my experience at all!

I can't remember how long it took from start to finish, but it wasn't long at all (I'm in Paris).

I think I'd given birth to DS1 (so September) before I applied and I went for my interview the following February.

My interview was so easy - the woman just said "so your DH is French, your DS is French and now you want to be French, I understand" and ticked the box!!! I didn't even get to give my prepared speech grin

I wasn't tested on my French. I'd been in France for 7 years but 2 of those were getting my masters (Bac+5) so I think that helped. Plus the fact I had all my years of paying tax etc. I wouldn't have got nationality based on my mariage (wasn't long enough at that point).

The worst bit was getting the documents translated - time consuming and expensive.

Dh wasn't interviewed. He just stayed out in the waiting room with baby DS1 (so I could BF when necessary).

AtlanticWaves Wed 18-Oct-17 17:25:37

Your experience with a driving license interests me sagely - where are you? I'm trying to get an appointment to change it but there aren't any available at all!

clearsommespace Wed 18-Oct-17 17:37:36

Atlantic, what year did you apply?

AtlanticWaves Wed 18-Oct-17 19:21:38


SagelyNodding Wed 18-Oct-17 20:43:03

Hi Atlantic-admittedly it was even more of a nightmare as I had managed to lose the actual UK licence card... They gave so much conflicting advice about what paperwork was needed it was unbelievable! This was in Draguignan BTW, maybe in Paris things are more efficient lol...

SagelyNodding Wed 18-Oct-17 20:44:01

I did everything by post as no appointments available, just made one to collect the licence when it was eventually ready.

LaChatte Wed 18-Oct-17 21:39:57

DH just gave a copy of his carte d'identité to prove his Frenchness. He was also summoned to the interview, I think we got a month's notice.

The interview lasted about an hour - half with DH and the other half on my own. I had to name the president, prime minister, local mayor & give the French devise. It was just after Macron was elected and they had announced the new PM, I said I couldn't remember his name, but that was ok because she couldn't either (ended up googling it on her phone).

The rest of the questions were to check I held republican values. She asked "Quand vous recevez" (with a descending intonation), and just stopped, I asked "quand je reçois quoi?" Obviously she meant people, but it wasn't clear to begin with. Anyway, she asked if men and women were in the same rooms together, DH said no, not the toilet anyway.

littlechou Wed 18-Oct-17 21:44:37

This is an interesting thread. I was chatting to DH about this just yesterday. We live together in the UK now but we were thinking of the future. It sounds pretty long winded and I don’t think my French is anywhere good enough yet confused (I am having lessons though!)

DeltaG Wed 18-Oct-17 22:00:47

Ooh interesting thread. My DH is also French and DS has dual nationality. We live in Romandie in Switzerland and are interested in becoming naturalised Swiss when we've been here long enough. I did also wonder whether it was worth getting French nationality in light of Brexit, but we've not been married long enough yet and the bureaucracy of the French administration puts me off too!

The Swiss interview is notoriously difficult to pass so we are already learning the names of all the lakes and mountains! My French is fluent but I speak virtually no German and nor does DH so I hope that won't go against us.

clearsommespace Wed 18-Oct-17 22:23:16

Thanks Lachatte.
One month's notice is reassuring.

amyboo Thu 19-Oct-17 06:42:12

They're really slow - and in my opinion are dragging their heels since Brexit. My Mum submitted her application nearly 18 months ago. And apart from getting a number to say that her file is complete and accepted, she's had nothing. She's been in France for 15 years, has a French partner and speaks decent French... I work for a service that advises people on their EU rights, and I can safely say that there are many, many Brits being treated the same by the French authorities right now...

henstooth Thu 19-Oct-17 08:23:01

Very useful thanks everyone!

clearsommespace: I have included my DH's Certificat de Nationalité, which my MIL had fortunately kept from when he was a teenager. I've been told here that both DH and I will be summoned to the interview, as we both have to sign a declaration sur l'honneur that we have lived together in marriage for the past 5 years.

My dossier has about 50-60 pieces of paper so far and have been told I need to also bring a copy of the whole thing too. I'm hoping I have everything they need....

Interesting, my DH recently applied for British citizenship and has had a response within 5 months but even that was quite a nightmare, as he had to apply for permanent residency first and provide his own hefty set of documents.

I won't have been here long enough to qualify for permanent residency by the time Brexit happens, so hoping that there will be some sort of transition arrangement, assuming the nationality application hasn't been processed by then.

clearsommespace Thu 19-Oct-17 19:09:24

We also have DH'S certificat de nationalité From the 80s but I understood we needed a more recent one. Apart from ID photos all the other documents are free so we may as well request one.

jenpetronus Fri 20-Oct-17 21:53:29

Following with interest. We are both British living in France with two DS's. We started putting our dossier together earlier this year, I did the TCF test and passed to B2 level - happy to help with what it entails OP - but we've ground to a bit of a halt with all the documents - a lot of them have to be apostillated too. Need to get going again!

Madamfrog Sat 21-Oct-17 13:11:43

I hear the naturalisation process is particularly slow now because there has been a sharp rise in demand. This is anecdotal though, word of mouth from a friend at the préfecture.

henstooth Thu 26-Oct-17 15:46:47

Well - just did my TCF ANF exam today and it was a lot harder than I expected. There was about 40 of us in the room (in NE France).

The listening test was OK - first half was fine but I found the last few questions (I guess the C1/ C2 level questions) to be very nuanced and difficult to choose between.

The CD with the test also kept skipping, so we had a few minutes disruption while the invigilators changed it to another copy - this didn't help everyone's nerves.

The first part of the speaking test was fine (present yourself, then ask the interviewer some questions about a job interview) but the last question threw me completely - more just the topic and having to think on the spot. My french is pretty good in day-to-day situations but I'm not used to having to make speeches, or argue in french.

Anyway, we'll get the results back in 4-6 weeks - hopefully not too long, or I'll have to re-request all the docs that need to be less than 3 months' old again....

WifeofDarth Thu 26-Oct-17 15:52:02

Those certificates that have to be less than 3 months old are a nuisance aren't they! I've requested some 3 times in order to have them all in hand.
I did my TCF back in February, and handed in my full application a couple of weeks ago. I got an email saying it will be 6 months before I hear anything. Keeping my fingers crossed for everyone.

jenpetronus Fri 27-Oct-17 11:31:27

henstooth Don't panic - I thought the same and passed to B2. Also, the results came through quicker than expected - about 3 weeks (this was in Lorient, South Brittany)

clearsommespace Tue 28-Nov-17 18:29:11

@henstooth have you received your results yet?
My dossier is ready (I think). I plan to triple check tonight and, all being well, post tomorrow. Eek!

henstooth Wed 29-Nov-17 13:25:39

Hi all - just called to check on my TCF ANF results today - got level C1 which I'm really, really so pleased about. I thought I'd made a bit of a meal of the speaking part but guess it wasn't as bad I thought! So just need to wait for the certificate to come and then I will book my appointment to submit my dossier - really pleased :-)

henstooth Wed 29-Nov-17 13:29:03

@clearsommespace good luck to you! Fingers crossed it doesn't take too long for you to get the next step....some areas seem to take a lot longer than others.

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