How to Obtain French Citizenship for US Citizens or Non-Europeans

French Citizenship by Descent, French Residency by Investment

France’s Appealing Residency and Citizenship Programs

France has a strong economy, an excellent standard of living, and superlative education and healthcare systems. Taxes are relatively high, but so are social benefits and the infrastructure is very good. Consequently, France is hugely attractive as a destination for many to relocate to and reside in, be it by French citizenship or French residency by investment.

The French residency by investment and French citizenship programs have numerous advantages. Other than the above-mentioned benefits, both residency by investment and citizenship programs give you visa-free access to the Schengen countries for travel for up to 80 in every 180 days. With French citizenship, you can obtain one of the most powerful passports in the world and the right to live anywhere in Europe.

How to Obtain French Citizenship French Citizenship by Descent, French Residency by Investment for US Citizens or Non-Europeans French Naturalization

How to obtain French Citizenship? There are 4 main ways:

  1. Birth or adoption – a child born or adopted in France with at least one French citizen; subject to other requirements.
  2. Marriage – Married to a French citizen for at least 4 years and must reside in France for at least 3 years since the marriage (with 1 year of continuous residency)  
  3. French Citizenship by Ancestry– If at least one parent was a French citizen at the time of the child’s birth and with proper documentation to establish this fact, or the child was under the care and custody of a French parent and applied before turning 18 years old. 
  4. Naturalization (Including French residency by investment) – Those who have resided in France for at least 5 years can apply for permanent residence or French citizenship; subject to other conditions – this includes those under a French residency by investment program. 

The first two options are relatively straightforward, so we will look at the third and fourth options in detail.

French Naturalization

If you are aged 18 or above, you may be able to apply for French citizenship by naturalization after legally residing in France for at least 5 years, and if your primary source of income is in France.  

Successful applicants must also demonstrate adequate integration into French society, including French language skills (B1 level in the ‘Test de Français’) and passing a French culture test.

How to get a French Residency?

A major challenge to reside in France is to first get a French residency status. Anyone staying in France for more than 3 months must have a residence permit to work, live, or study in the country.

There are 2 main French residency by investment programs, which cover the applicant, a spouse (both married or a long-term partner), and dependent children under the age of 18.


The French Talent Passport for Investors 

This requires a minimum total investment of EUR 300,000 for over 4 years into  the applicant’s intended project, which must create and maintain permanent full-time jobs for French workers. The applicant must also provide an acceptable business plan, with a financial assessment and relevant market analysis.  

The applicant can either incorporate a legal entity in France or take over an existing entity, provided they retain at least a 10% stake in the company, and they show that the source of their funds is legitimate.

View the program


The French “Talent Passport – Business Creation” 

This is also a French residency by investment program offered to non-Europeans, including Americans, who wish to start a new business in France. Applicants of this program invest at least EUR 30,000 into their business and have enough annual income to support themselves and any dependents in France.  Successful applicants will obtain a renewable residence card which is valid for up to 4 years.   

Again, it requires an acceptable business plan and a French legal corporate entity A corporate bank account is also required for the capital investment in the planned business.

View the program


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    French Citizenship by Ancestry

    Eligible applicants of the French citizenship by ancestry program will find it to be a very attractive alternative option. In essence, if at least one of your parents had French citizenship at the time of your birth, then you are eligible to apply for French citizenship yourself.  If one of your grandparents had French citizenship, you can likely also apply. However, your relevant parent must apply and gain approval first before you are able to apply for yourself. 

    Advice on French Citizenry and French Residency By Investment

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