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How much does it cost to get French citizenship? 

Officially, there’s a €55 administration fee for all French citizenship applications - but there are a few hidden expenses you need to know about.

How much does it cost to get French citizenship? 
Official naturalisation documents for France (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)

There’s a lot of paperwork involved in becoming a French citizen – and a lot of waiting. And some tests. But there’s also some expense. Here, we explain what you’re likely to have to pay for, and how much it will be.


Exactly what documents you will need depends on several things; how you are applying for citizenship (through residency, marriage or ancestry), where you come from originally and how long you have lived in France.

You can use the French government simulator HERE to get a personalised list of documents.

But here is a look at some of the most commonly required documents, and the average cost.

Birth certificate

Not just any birth certificate. You need one that’s been issued within three months at the time your application is received.

You are also likely to need copies of your parents’ birth and death certificates (if applicable), marriage certificates or divorce decree IF these show the full details of the date and place of birth. You can order them at the same time as your birth certificate.

READ ALSO Birth certificate: Why you need it in France and how to request one

Ordering a birth certificate from the UK currently costs between £35 and £42 per document, plus DHL overseas delivery costs. Order it here.

Ordering a birth certificate from Ireland currently costs €20 for an uncertified copy and €30 for a certified one, plus €3 for overseas delivery. Order it here.

READ ALSO Explained: The difference between French residency and citizenship

The process and cost of ordering a US birth certificate varies by state. Taking Maryland as an example, it costs $25 to request an official birth certificate, and another $2 to get it apostilled. Getting it delivered to France may prove tricky as well, as often agencies will only deliver within the US, which would mean a friend or relative will have to send it over to France.

If you wish to obtain a copy of an Australian birth certificate, you can apply through the official website of the State or Territory Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in which you were born.

Ordering a birth certificate from New Zealand currently costs NZ$33 per document, plus postage – an additional NZ$25. Order it here.

READ ALSO When are children born in France eligible for French citizenship?

Criminal record check

You have to be able to demonstrate a clean criminal record dating back 10 years. 

For the period of your life in France, you’ll need an extrait de casier judiciaire, but you may also require one from other countries you have lived in to cover the 10-year requirement. 

As with the birth certificate, the cost varies depending on the country you need the certificate from, but between €50 and €100 is average.

We explain all about what a clean criminal record is – how to get one, and how much it’s likely to cost you – here.

Proof of competence in French

If applying through residency, you will need to provide proof of your level of French, unless you have studied in a French school or university, or have a diploma from a French speaking country.

The standard required is B1 on the international DELF scale – defined as being “able to handle day-to-day matters that arise in school, work or leisure”. You are not required to be able to speak perfect, error-free French, only to be able to make yourself understood and understand any replies you are given.  

READ ALSO TEST: Is your level of French good enough for citizenship and residency?

There isn’t a special citizenship language exam, you can use any DELF-approved course certificate, but it must have been issued in the last two years, so some people will need to take a new exam to include in their citizenship application.

Sitting the exam is likely to cost you upwards of €100, depending on where you go, and if you’re not confident in your French, especially written French, you might want to pay for some classes in preparation.

One tip for salaried employees in France is to use your annual training budget (Mon Compte Formation) to pay for a French class with an exam at the end, and then the certificate won’t cost you a centime – full details on how to do that here

Translating foreign documents

On top of these costs, there are also translation costs. Documents, such as your birth certificate, that are not in French will need to be translated and for this you must use a certified translator. You can find one local to you by searching online for traducteur agréé.

Expect to pay in the region of €40 per page. Plus postage.

READ ALSO Certified translations: What are the rules for translating documents into French?

Administration costs

Then there’s the fee for actually applying for citizenship. It’s €55. Payable in tax stamps. 

In good news, citizenship applications are now made online, so you won’t need to pay printing costs for printing out all your documents. 

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What should I do if I want to dissolve my French property SCI?

Owning a French property through an SCI brings with it some extra complications, including with the new property tax declaration. We asked the experts whether dissolving the SCI is a good idea, and how you go about doing that.

What should I do if I want to dissolve my French property SCI?

An SCI – société civile immobilière – is a non-trading real estate company made up of at least two people. Essentially, it allows people to own property such as a second home through shares of a company, rather than under their own name.  

There are more than one million properties in France that are registered as SCIs, but most of them were created some years ago. In previous decades, they were quite popular, but SCIs have become less common as time has gone on and several tax loopholes have been closed.

For foreigners who own second-homes in France, the 2015 EU ruling on inheritance means that for many people their rationale for having an SCI – bypassing French inheritance laws – no longer applies.

Additionally SCIs, particularly for foreigners, represent a large administrative burden, and as such can also become a drain on finances when it is necessary to seek legal and financial counsel. 

Some SCI owners have also run into problems with the new French property tax declaration

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: The new French property declaration form for SCI owners

“An SCI is a large commitment. It means you will agree to run a company, and that involves paperwork and meetings”, explained Paris-based notaire, Laure Gaschignard.

Gaschignard told The Local that there are two primary situations where people might want to set up an SCI. The first would be for couples who are not married or pacsé (civil partnership), but want to buy property together and set up an inheritance system where the one is able to maintain either a portion of or the entire property in the event of the other’s death.

The other situation Gaschignard noted was for those who have unique family situations and are in need of a more flexible way to structure their property ownership and inheritance. 

For others, there might be some tax-based interests in setting up an SCI depending on their financial portfolio, but many have found that owning property in this manner may not have been as financially lucrative or simple administratively as previously intended.

As a result, some are wondering whether the best solution would be to simply dissolve their SCI and reclaim the property under their own name.

How can you go about switching it back?

While it is possible to dissolve an SCI and get the property back under your own name, it might be more costly to dissolve the SCI rather than to maintain it. 

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: The advantages and pitfalls of buying French property with an SCI

First, there are some scenarios where an SCI should be dissolved – if it has has reached its expiration date (typically, this is set to 99 years) or if there terms were put into contracts that set up a specific lifespan for the SCI, if there is an intent to sell the property, or if partners to the SCI opt to sell their shares to a single partner. An SCI can also be dissolved by court decision, if necessary.

Otherwise, if the partners wish to dissolve the SCI, then they must hold a special meeting to vote on the plan and to appoint a ‘liquidator’. 

Several administrative steps will follow, including publishing a posting in a legal newspaper and filing for dissolution.

It is strongly recommended that people seek professional advice on this.

Is it advisable to do so?

You should be aware that if the SCI has appreciated in value significantly, then you will likely be taxed on liquidation. While it would be possible to recover your assets, depending on the situation, you could lose out on funds in the process. 

You may owe capital gains taxes, depending on which regime you were taxed and whether the SCI is your primary residence.

According to Maître Edouard Pruvost, the best option for those looking to dissolve would be to meet with legal counsel and find out approximately how much you stand to gain or lose in the dissolution process. 

This article is a general overview on the issue of SCIs and does not constitute legal advice. Anyone with an SCI is strongly advised to seek professional advice from a lawyer with expertise in the French legal and tax systems.