jeudi 20 août 2009
Last week, as part of my self-torture plan, I went to the Bureau de Proximité of the Mairie here in Marseille to get the file to start the long arduous process of obtaining my French nationality. I figured that as I had just spent weeks photocopying every single electricity bill, bank statement, and tax receipt received since moving here in order to get my 10-year card, that while I had all this organized and scanned that I might as well take the next step.

Little did I know that France has some new and exciting hoops to jump through. Ready for this?
Hoop #1) Are your parents married (to each other, still)? Yes?
Okay. We need a translated official copy (with Apostille) of their marriage certificate.
- Um, my parents got married in Thailand. Super, I can already tell this is going to be a barrel of fun.

Hoop #2) We need a translated apostille official copy of your police record. - Um, I've lived in four different countries and in three different states. Do you really need a note from the German government that I wasn't wreaking too much havoc at the age of 3?

Hoop #3) We need a translated (obviously because Name is way too hard to figure out) apostille official copy of your birth certificate.
- This one I rather figured but I have to get a minor spelling error corrected first. It is already incorrect on our Livret de Famille/Acte de Mariage

Hoop #4) Copies of your diplomas.
- As any American knows, a US diploma is not a regular A4 sheet of paper. Oh no. These babies are frickin' huge, the better to be framed and hung in your office. I am hoping they will accept official transcripts.

Hoop #5) A statement from the Treasury that you have paid all your taxes.
- Ah yes. I see what is important to La Republique Française.

Hoop #6) A copy of your entire acte de vente, buying your property. All 50 pages of it.
- I'm sure they will just look at the first page to check the names and address and the last page to check the signature and that is it.

Once I have all this stuff, plus the all important Electricity Bill (good grief you would think that the EDF bills were issued by God for all the importance the French attribute to them) and tax receipts of course, I have to call the Mairie to have an appointment to hand in my file. Then they will supposedly have it reviewed within 6 months, and call me in to the Prefecture for an interview and then make their decision. I think 6 months is a bit (extremely) optimistic.

Anybody want to guess how much all of this (ordering of certified copies, get the Apostilles, paying for translations, etc) will cost me? I am guessing 1000€.
A few things I have learned from living in France:
a) always get official records corrected as soon as possible after you notice the error, because it is a pain to get it corrected later
b) always order about 50 copies of every thing while you are at it- most of the fee comes from them looking up the file and sending it to you, the copy itself is usually only a few dollars
c) same with translating- the main cost is the time the translator spends, so get about 10 official copies of your birth certificate translated into whatever language you need
d) scan everything and save it on several different hard disks

I am sure this process is as complicated for other countries as well, I am not complaining too much.
At least here there doesn't seem to be as much, or any, visiting of our home to see if we are living together, separate interviews, etc. like there is in the US.

Sigh. So maybe a year from now I will be an official Frenchie. How strange.
If I can even get my file turned in before December I think it will be going well. I guess I can't actually get the nationality until we have been married four years, but hopefully by next May they will be close to deciding. Oh, and another thing I found funny- I was told that once I get my décret de naturalisation they will issue me a new birth certificate, so I will literally be born again as a Frenchwoman. :)

8 commentaires:

Dedene a dit…

I went through this about 4 years ago. It went amazing well. All the documents you mentioned I had to provide too. Except, my parents marriage certificate! I wouldn't even know where to start to look.

Patience, patience. It will help if they meet your French husband. That always cuts through alot of the crap.

It took them exactly 10 months to process my application.

Bon courage!

screamish a dit…

oh yeah. i suspect discouragement had a lot to do w my lack of success when i first arrived...seriously- DO NOT economize on your translations, just do it, the equivalences, just pay

you're almost there! go girl!!!!!

Ksam a dit…

Every préf wants something different, but regarding #1 - mine said I could have either my parents' marriage certificate OR each of their birth certificates.

For #2, it was only the countries I'd lived in the past 10 years.

For #4 - I don't know what kind of diplomas you have, but mine are all on regular 8X10 paper, so smaller than A4!

For #5 - it's more so making sure you don't OWE any money to the treasury rather than seeing how much you've paid. Which I completely understand - I wouldn't want to give citizenship to someone who was a tax evader either. lol

Really though, your list contains only about half of the items I needed to apply - and just an FYI, my préf told me the average wait time in Marseille was 3-4 years (after I grumbled about my small town's wait being 2 years.) The wait time all over France has gone up since they've cracked down on foreigners though, and the minimum now seems to be about 20-22 months (max being 4 years). The upside is that once the ministres have it, they *have* to give an answer w/in 12 months, but the downside is that the préfs can hang on to your dossier for as long as they want when the ministres are backlogged. It's well worth it though in the long run!

And if it makes you feel better, I only paid about 50€ total for all of the translations because I took the time to translate them myself and then just had them verified by a certified translator.

PS. Just so you know, once your application has been accepted, you usually have to go through two interviews - one at the préf to test your language skills and one with the police (sometimes w/your spouse, sometimes w/out). Friends of mine in small towns have also been interviewed by their mayor.

mdgirl a dit…

They don't require house visits in the US. Are you insane, they only do that in movies -- too many applications and not enough staff. The American citizenship paper work is insanely easy. After you have gone through all the hoops to get the "green card" they don't really require much, actually. The interview was like 5 minutes or something. My frenchie got his.

mdgirl a dit…

BTW -- I think I will apply soon too. Might as well.

Astrid a dit…

After receiving this list are you not discouraged??

And I was complaining about the papers I needed to send and resend to the CAF for the "prime de naissance" which clearly is nothing in comparison to this!!

Mwa a dit…

Oh, that's terrible red tape. And I thought it was bad when we got married in Belgium. We had to get a copy of my husband's baptism record.

Starman a dit…

"I'm sure they will just look at the first page to check the names and address and the last page to check the signature and that is it."
You know what would be funny? Just include the front page and the last page and put a bunch of old college papers in the middle. Of course, it could screw you big-time if they really did check.

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