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Acquiring French nationality by marriage

In the last few weeks, we have had an increasing number of requests relating to the acquisition of the French nationality or other kinds of ways to live legally in France.

Some mixed couples living in Hong Kong, have suddenly decided to call it a day after months of demonstrations followed by the situation imposed by the #covid19 pandemic. We face a similar situation in the UK, following #Brexit, couples either applying for settled status for the French spouse in the UK or starting to look into moving their British family back to France.

In any case, it is always easier when one of the spouses is French, and this is the topic of this article.

You will at some point need a visa to live in France, so why not apply for French Citizenship.

(1) French citizenship

Applying for French Citizenship is possible if you

  • are married to a French national,

  • have been so for more than 4 years if living out of France,

  • can justify that you are still living together,

  • have an understanding of French language and culture. You have to prove your level of French either by taking an official test or by presenting your diplomas or certificates.

It is a quite straight forward process but does require some forward thinking since the whole process will take up to 12 months.

You do not have to apply in France and can do so at the French Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence.

(2) The other option, the long-term visa

In the meantime, if you need to go to France and reside there, you will have to obtain a long-term visa, to be able to enter the French territory and reside there. The visa will be valid from 4 to 12 months. Once again this is quite a straight forward process if you are married to a French National.

(3) A resident card

If you plan to stay in France longer than a year, and you do not for one reason or another want to apply for French citizenship, then you can alternatively apply for what is called a resident card “carte de resident, which is valid for 10 years, and is renewable. You can only apply at the Prefecture of your place of residence in France.



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