The Cost of French Nationality
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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Cost of French Nationality

Do I become a shareholder in this? 
Today I paid 200 euros for my visa renewal. Granted, I got a new visa, but it’s never easy forking over that kind of money.

At the same time, I bought a fiscal stamp for my nationality application to become…dun dun dun…French. It cost 55 euros. At first I thought, “Weird that it’s cheaper to apply for nationality than for a temporary residency,” but then I remembered that I had spent quite a bit on this precious file that will, hopefully, lead to a French passport.

For those who might want to become French, or who have put in the time (5 years, or 3 with a 2-year French degree), it’s a costly process, but when you think about the potential payoff (an EU passport!) it’s really not that expensive at all. If I get refused, I might sing a different song.

Here’s the rough breakdown of my costs for naturalization:

Documents

Most of the documents were already sitting in my file box. After nearly 6 years, I had saved every tax document, pay slip, electricity bill, and contract to make sure that this process would run smoothly. But a few documents needed to be freshly procured.

I went a little overboard getting new copies of my parents’ birth certificates, but I was unsure whether or not I needed the originals (apparently copies will do). My mom and I cost 58 dollars total, while my dad cost 35 dollars. Add another 35 bucks for their marriage certificate, and the total comes to 128 dollars.

Don’t forget the background check.  I paid the FBI 18 dollars for mine. I did my fingerprints all by myself, which saved a few pennies in the end. – 146 dollars

Apostilles

France asks that all documents related to civil status (the aforementioned) have an apostille, which is a separate piece of paper attached to the document that says, “Yes, this is legit.” You have to send your original documents to your state capital in the US and have them attach the document. I dropped 25 dollars for apostilles on one birth certificate, 45 for the other documents all in the same state. Then the family handed them off to me, ready for the next step. – 216 dollars

Translations

Unsure again of what really needed to be translated, and after a few back and forth’s with my translator, I decided just to get every English certificate and apostille translated, just to make sure.  This one hurt as I handed over my card and spent 380 euros (515 dollars) to get the certified translations – though this was a reasonable price for all of them, and again, generally a one-time expenditure. – 731 dollars

The papers...
Bye bye!

Copies

The maniac I am, I instantly took all of my documents and made 2 copies of each, assuming that I’d have to submit two copies of the entire file. Apparently I only need to send two copies of the application form, with single copies of all of the other elements. Whoops. I dropped about 10 euros (13.50 dollars) or so making copies at the copy shop near my school. Nothing too excessive. –744.50 dollars

Photos

Don’t forget the obligatory regulation-sized photos! I spent the usual 5 euros (6.80 dollars) on a set of 5 photos in the metro. This is old hat by now, and will be for you if you are in this process! – 751.30 dollars

Fiscal Stamp

If you’re familiar with French immigration, you’re used to getting these for your various visas. The one for nationality applicants cost 55 euros (74.50 dollars) – 825.80 dollars

Postage

Will I get a life-time supply of these once French?
Once everything was ready, I popped that bad boy in an envelope and slapped 8.45 euros (11.40 dollars) on it, sending it by tracked mail. I didn’t want to lose it! – 837.20 dollars

Grand Total: 837.20 US dollars

Ugh. Vomit. 

Well, at least I only have to do it once, hopefully. Of course the price will vary depending on where you are coming from,  how you are naturalizing, who your translator is, and how good you are at copying documents, but this at least gives a good idea of the financial investment of becoming French.

The years of mental and emotional investment are a whole other story.

Now I wait, wallet a bit lighter, but excited at the prospect of actually getting a French passport…to be continued…

25 comments:

  1. Good luck Bryan, I hope the process goes smoothly! I know what you mean, I hate anything administrative in France...I really cringe when I have to even fill a form at my sons school.

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    1. Thanks so much! Alas, we do it al for the bread and wine...

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  2. I went through this process last year, and while it was painstaking and costly, it ended up paying off! I recieved a positive response less than 6 months after I sent in my papers! Hopefully everything works out just as well for you!

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  3. hey Bry--I'd love to talk to you about this--I was recently told I couldn't apply for another three years because my years as a student don't count towards the 5 year rule... but weren't you on a student visa for awhile ??

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    1. I had 2 years of a student status, and the rest was on other professional-esque statuses. With a French 2-year degree program, my wait time is reduced to three years, so I *think* I am OK, but not sure yet! We'll know in a little while hopefully!

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    2. Student years don't count towards the 10 year carte de sejour but they do count towards nationality requirements (backwards, I know!) I could apply for nationality years before I could apply for the 10 year carte de sejour due to that. I got my nationality 4 years ago, a few things were different from your experience (it was parents BC or marriage certificate but not both) and my translations were much cheaper out here but sounds like a similar procedure. I heard that you now have to take a French language test, is that only for non-student cases?

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    3. Thanks for the reassurance! And I'm not sure about the language test, but I'm pretty sure that's the case, and I know that with my diploma I am exempt.

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  4. WHOOOOPIE! The waiting will surely cause you to lose your nails, but the fact that it's submitted is magnificent. Congrats!

    What with my annoying 10 yr visa being denied me I think I'm going to follow suit.

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  5. Hello Bryan, Whew, you have gone to a lot of work and spent countless hours and treasure on your dream! I wish you the best. I applied for dual citizenship through a program called "Irish citizenship by Descent". I only bring this up on the off chance all your hard work is denied, which I'm assuming it won't be, that this would be another avenue for you to pursue. In other words, you can often - depending upon your ancestry - apply for citizenship through the birth of your parents and/or grandparents. If it's an EU country, you would receive an EU passport. This would give you all the same rights in France, which is an EU country, as any other EU citizen (work capabilities, access to education, health system, etc.) I, too, wanted EU citizenship as at the time we had an apt in Paris and I wanted the convenience of, and all the rights associated with, EU citizenship. It hardly cost anything and it only took about 4 months total. I assume you are trying to do the same thing, except through French ancestry, but I'm not really sure. Again, I'm very hopeful you will be successful. But as a back up, you can always apply to another country of ancestry and receive an EU passport that way. It won't be French nationality but at least you would be able to get an EU citizenship passport. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks for this response! I have totally thought about the Italian passport, but since I've been here so long, the French one is a possibility...we'll see what happens!!!!

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  6. Good luck! It's a long, tedious (and costly) process, but SO worth it when you get that letter congratulating you on your nationalité.

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  7. I am so so happy to have mine (French Nationality) and have all the other paper work behind me. Even considering giving up my original nationality, since I am not going back...but that would be more paper work.

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  8. Thanks for your blog entry. I am assuming you didn't need apostilles for your parents birth certificates.? Since they accept photocopies and you can't get an apostille on a photocopy. What do you think? Trying to save the step if possible. Thanks for your help. --heather

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    1. Well since I wasn't sure and wanted to be safe, I got all three of our birth certificates with apostilles and translations. I'm fairly sure it was more than I needed, but it was a small price to pay for peace of mind.

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  9. Hi Bryan, has your nationality application been successful?

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    1. Hi! The application was accepted and I'm going to be updating soon about the interview process. Now we wait...cross your fingers!

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  10. Hey Bryan!

    I wish you the best of luck in dealing with the French administration. I applied back in September and just got my convocation for the interview in July. I'd be very interested in hearing about your interview process and questions.

    Cheers,
    Jenny

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    1. Cool! I am hesitant to put up my interview post -- I feel like I'll jinx it or something. Maybe in a few weeks. That's a really long wait before the interview, though! They only gave me 2 weeks! But the interview isn't anyhting impossible, fear not. Just don't take any one person's story as gospel.

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    2. Hello!!!
      I thought it only fair that I respond after reading your posts. I recently had the exam and it was tough. After reading many posts about how easy it was, I thought it only fair to reach out to those looking to obtain French citizenship. For example, I was asked about the current President along with the previous presidents going back to De Gaulle. I was also asked who the mayor of paris was, the French values and to elaborate on my thoughts towards each one of them, how many countries in the EU, my thoughts on the Eu, the original founding members of the E.U. What the benefits were etc. etc. etc. It was a full one hour interview. Easier questions related to what I did, my friends, my intentions on staying in France, what French movies were my favourite, what tv shows I watched etc etc... I thought it was interesting because my friends that previously took it told me theirs lasted 15 minutes... hope this helps... maybe my interviewer was a bit over zealous or its getting harder to obtain citizenship?

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  11. May I ask why you need to provide copies of your parents birth certificates? This is a very strange request since your parents aren't asking or requesting citizenship. For me, it is very tough to track down these records. Luckily, I do have Hungarian citizenship, which was grandfathered in to me after I supplied them once with notarized copies that proved my connection to my Hungarian grandfather. All I had to do was share three birth certificates and point out that my mom had married my father but there was no actual marriage certificate. And, voila, I had a Hungarian passport. Anyway, I'd love to hear more about your trials at becoming a French citizen or national. It sounds more painful than something I'm willing to go through at this time.

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    1. Hello Marcos,

      maybe this will help your question http://www.prefecturedepolice.interieur.gouv.fr/content/download/3070/14464/file/Notice_explicative_liste_pieces_a_fournir.pdf

      it's simply stated that "These documents are only used to verify your affiliation". But I'm also having questions that since parents' certificates do not hold the same weight, thus need not be original nor legalized, does that mean that it also not need to be a recent (renewed) copy? I have the copies of their birth certificate, however it is obviously not a copy of a recent (renewed) certificates. I would be having a tough time obtaining a renewed one of theirs, even my parents themselves will be having a tough time obtaining it (I'm from Indonesia).

      If anyone who reads this has the answer please reply lol!

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    2. I think it always depends on who reads your file :( You might be OK with your parents' copies but try to get your own certified copy if possible.

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  12. I think it makes sense to provide their birth certificates so they know where are coming from. You can be born in the US and have a US passport but your parents could be from anywhere in the world, so they just want transparency I think. If you have a Hungarian passport, however, you don't need a French one for anything really :P

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  13. Hi Bryan, How was your interview please? I am very nervous. I don't know what is the most important things to learn. Do I have to know everything about French history? Is it mainly the flag, Marianne and the Republic? I am so worried that this interview will mess everything up for me.

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