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:


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


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


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!


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


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


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…