For members


France introduces new simplified process for citizenship

Foreigners living in France who want to apply for French citizenship can now access a simplified process with the opening of a new online portal. Here's how it works and who is eligible.

France introduces new simplified process for citizenship
French President Emmanuel Macron attends a citizenship ceremony in 2017. Photo by Michel Euler / POOL / AFP

If you’re not French but would like to become French, the government has now launched a (slightly) simplified process for Naturalisation française par décret, with the opening of the NATALI online portal.


NATALI is an online service for submitting your citizenship application – and it’s important to stress that it doesn’t change the qualifications required for citizenship, only how you go about applying.

For foreigners living in France there are two main routes to citizenship; living in France for at least five years (or two years if you completed higher education in France) or marriage to a French citizen for at least four years.

You can find a full list of all the routes to citizenship (joining the French Foreign Legion, for example) HERE, plus a breakdown of all the paperwork you will need HERE

You cannot use the portal at present if you live in the French overseas départements of French Polynesia, French Guiana, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint-Martin-Saint-Barthélémy, New Caledonia or Wallis and Futuna.

You can find NATALI (no, we don’t know what it stands for) here.

What changes?

The new system is intended to streamline the application process by creating a single, nationwide portal where you can submit your citizenship application online.

Once the dossier is submitted, you will only need one in-person appointment – at your local préfecture where you go for the interview where you will be tested on your knowledge of France and French culture, to see if you are sufficiently integrated to become a citizen. Successful applicants will then be invited to an in-person naturalisation ceremony, which again is held at the local préfecture.

Philosophy, household chores and cheese – what you might be asked in your French citizenship exam

Just as before, it is your local préfecture that actually makes the decision on your application, the online portal is just a streamlined way to submit the dossier.

The portal also allows you to create an online account where you can track the process of your application, and where any requests for extra documents or more information will be sent.


The portal went live on February 6th and now all new applications must be made in this way, according to the government’s public service site.

Previously some préfectures would accept applications online, while others demanded a paper dossier be submitted.

At the time of writing, most préfecture websites still contain instructions for the old system, but the government’s public service site says that: “All applications for naturalisation by decree must now be made electronically. Any paper application sent after February 6th, 2023 will be returned to the sender.”

What if I already made my application?

If you have already made an application and received a file number you do not need to make a new one.

Will this process be quicker?

On average getting citizenship takes between 18 months and two years from first submission of the dossier to being given the certificate of naturalisation, although it varies quite substantially between different préfectures.

No-one is promising that this system will be any quicker in delivering decisions, but it should be easier for applicants to use. 

Can I do any advanced preparation?

If you don’t yet qualify for citizenship, but intend to apply in the future, you can begin in advance with preparation of your dossier.

You can head to the French government’s naturalisation simulator HERE, which takes you through a list of questions about your personal circumstances, and then provides you with a downloadable list of documents that you will need in order to submit your dossier.

Some of them are basic and obvious like a passport, some you will need to get nearer the time like recent payslips or tax returns and others may require contact with authorities in your home country such as a recent copy of your birth certificate or a declaration that you have a clean criminal record.

You may also need to get some of your documents translated into French, using the services of a certified translator.

It’s also worth noting that unless you completed higher education in France, you will need a recent certificate of a French language exam to at least B1 level – full details HERE

QUIZ Is your French good enough for citizenship?

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For members


Working in France: What to know about getting foreign qualifications recognised

Foreigners, including Brits post-Brexit, looking to work in France may need to get qualifications or certifications from their home country recognised.

Working in France: What to know about getting foreign qualifications recognised

When might I need to get foreign qualifications recognised in France?

There are two main times when you might need your foreign diploma or qualifications recognised in France: when applying to study here and when applying for a job.

You will of course also need the proper visa or residency permit to work or study in France. You can find more information in our French visas guide.

Studying in France – If you are applying to study, then there is a good chance you will need an attestation de comparabilité, which would allow the French institution to understand your qualifications in a French context. Some universities and institutions do not require this, others do.

Campus France is also be a great resource to figure out what documents will need before applying.

If you want to start your studies in France (meaning entering the higher education system the first year of licence, or undergrad) and you are not an EU national, you may need to make a “Demande d’Admission Préalable” (Preliminary Admission Request). You can do this online with the Etudes en France programme.

To figure out if you’ll eventually need to provide an attestation de comparabilité, you should begin bygetting in touch first with your university of choice and asking if they will need a statement of comparability from the ENIC/NARIC centre (the body that issues the attestation de comparabilité).

You can also enquire directly at the ENIC/NARIC Centre by calling +33(0)1 45 07 60 00 or email them on using their contact form.

If you find that you need an attestation de comparabilité, then you can go to our step-by-step guide to how to request one.

READ MORE: How to get your foreign qualifications recognised in France

Keep in mind that the attestation is not a legal document, it is simply meant for the institution to be able to consult. 

Working in France – If you are applying for a job in France, there is also a chance you will need to show an attestation de comparabilité

The question will come down to whether or not your job is ‘regulated’. Non-regulated jobs are those that aren’t monitored by a central body affiliated to the French government, where it’s solely up to the employer whether to hire you on the basis of your experience and qualifications.

Think international sales executive, social media manager, SEO specialist… It is still possible your employer will ask to see proof of comparability, and for unregulated jobs, this can be done via the ENIC/NARIC Centre with the same process outlined in this guide. 

If your job is regulated – and keep in mind that some jobs in France are regulated when they may not be in your home country (eg hairdressers) – see below.

The third, and less common time, that you might need to get your foreign qualifications recognised would be when seeking French citizenship. 

If you completed your studies in French in another Francophone country, then you can justify your French level (above B1) using your diploma and an attestation de comparabilité. This exempts you from the requirement to take a French language exam as part of the citizenship process. 

What if I work in a ‘regulated’ field? 

To find out if you work in what France considers a ‘regulated’ field, go to this link. If you do work in a regulated field, it is still possible that you could be issued an attestation de comparabilité, but you should keep in mind that simply being issued a document proving comparability does not mean that you are clear to pursue the job. It’s simply a form the employer or profession would use to determine your qualifications.

The ENIC/NARIC Centre has a list of the fields they can issue attestations de comparabilité for here

Once you find the profession you are looking for, you can scroll down and read the segment on “professional qualifications”. This will lay out expectations for European nationals, as well as third-country nationals. If you do not see any explanation for third-country nationals, then that may mean you need to get further education or certification in France to do this job.

In most cases though, credential validation and comparability will not be carried out by France’s ENIC/NARIC Centre, but instead by the relevant association for each professional field. 

Find the relevant French association for your field, for example for doctors, or for architects, and get in touch. 

Health workers

Healthcare as a field is more complicated. It may be possible for you to practice medicine in France with a foreign degree, but you will likely need to go through an individual authorisation process that would require you to prove to the French government that your home-country degree matches French standards. You may also be asked to take an aptitude test, complete an ‘adaptation period’ (supervised practice), and demonstrate that you have a strong command of the French language.

You can find the documents you would need to provide under Article 3 of the French law on third-country nationals practising medicine in France.

What’s the situation for Brits since Brexit?

When it comes to Brexit, the gist is that your British qualifications are recognised in France if you registered them prior to December 2020 (the end of the Brexit transition period). 

Most EEA countries, including France, do not automatically recognise UK qualifications now that the UK has left the EU. This includes previous qualifications that would have been automatically recognised amongst EU countries, like for midwives.

This rule also applies if you hold a “European Professional Card” that was issued prior to December 31st, 2020. This would still give you recognised qualifications to work as a “general care nurse, a pharmacist, physiotherapist, mountain guide or real estate agent”.

If you did not go through the process to have your qualifications recognised before December 2020 – even if you were living in France at that time and are covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement – then you will have to go through the same process other third-country nationals, which is outlined above.