From August 11th 2020 anyone who wishes to get French citizenship will have to sit a written language exam, in addition to the current speaking and listening tests required.
Getting French citizenship has never been an easy process, but now French authorities have decided to make it slightly harder by toughen up on the language skills required.
At present candidates for citizenship need to demonstrate that they speak French to B1 level. That level is defined as someone who is is able to handle day to day matters that arise in school, work or leisure.
- If you are a refugee, aged over 70 and have lived in France for 15 years or more
- If you have a diploma obtained in France, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia or another Francophone country
- If your state of health does not permit assessment of your language level
There are two main routes to applying for citizenship, through residency or through marriage.
If you are applying through residency you need to have been resident in France for at least five years. That can be reduced to two years if you have completed postgraduate studies at a French university.
They will need to show they have a clean criminal record (for those who have less than 10 years residence in France) and that their tax payments are up to date, including tax return notices for the three years prior to filing the application for French citizenship.
They will also need to prove they are financially sustainable. In other words they have a job or some other form of income.
If you are applying through marriage you need to have been married for four years, but do not actually need to be living in France.
As well as proving that you can speak French you also need to demonstrate an adequate knowledge of French history, culture and society.
The citizenship process includes an interview (in French of course) with an official who will test your knowledge and also assess your level of commitment to France and the French way of life – if you do not seem to conform to French values you can be turned down for citizenship.
Overall the whole process takes between 18 months and two years and involves a lot of paperwork.