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Daily LifeFrench Citizenship

Can I get French citizenship/nationality?

The process to acquire French citizenship normally takes over a year.

The process for me started at Tribunal d'Instance in the office that handles Nationalités. The woman that I talked to at the Tribunal d'Instance in Strasbourg was very nice. I just explained to her that I wanted to become French and what my situation was (married to a French woman), and she told me what documents I need to provide. Here is the list:

  1. Official copy our marriage certificate - This was no problem as we were married in France.
  2. Casier Judiciare - This is a document that states I do not have a criminal record. As this is something French construct that really does not exist in the US, I supplied a Attestation Tenant lieu d'extrait de Casier Judiciaire, a sworn statement I made before the US Consul General of Strasbourg, stating I did not have a criminal record. If for some reason this does not work, then you will need to make a personal request for your FBI criminal history.
  3. Official copy my wife's birth certificate - Again no problem as my wife was born in France.
  4. Official copies my mothers, father and my birth certificates - This was a bit of a problem, as we had to have them translated, signed and stamped by a Traductor Jurée (official translator). I have heard stories of people paying up to 50 euro a page for the translating of official documents. That is way too expensive as I paid 20 euro each for the translation of my documents. Shop around before having any documents translated!
  5. My Carte de Sejour and my wife's French identity card - These just needed to be presented when we submitted my application.
  6. Proof of residents/living together - We supplied copies of our gas and electricity bills along with a quittance de loyer (rent stubs), and our tax declaration.
  7. Official copy of our son's birth certificate - This was not that hard to get as my wife had smarts enough to register our son's birth with the French consulate in Boston when he was born. If she had not done that, we would have needed to get his American birth certificate translated into French.

Two months after dropping off my application, I was summoned to the Tribunal d'Instance. I had to bring my wife along; we had to sign my request before a judge to make it official.

A few months after that, we were summoned to our local police station. This interview was to make sure that we were really living together, and that I could speak French. The interview itself was very short; the police officer just asked a few questions about where we lived and what we did. With regards to being able to speak French, I needed to be able to hold a simple conversation. Nothing fancy, just able to prove I understood what was being said.

Nine or so months after the interview, I received notice that my French citizenship had been approved, and that I had to go to the Tribunal d'Instance to pickup the official paperwork. This consisted of a letter signed by the Labor Minister stating that I had acquired French nationality.

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