Immigrants are very attracted to France. Its cultural and economic achievements make other countries jealous and its citizens proud. Even Americans are constantly applying for a residence permit in this state. Obtaining French citizenship is a matter of taste to those who seek only EU rights, there are plenty of European states that are easier to relocate to. If you have chosen France to immigrate, various ways exist to do that, such as naturalization, repatriation, investment, etc. In this article we will talk about obtaining French citizenship by naturalization who can apply for it and its specific requirements, what EU countries are easier to immigrate to and draw a conclusion.
Obtaining French citizenship by naturalization
In order to obtain French citizenship by naturalization, immigrant must be over 18 years old, work and pay taxes 5 years minimum. This period may be reduced to 2 years if one of the following conditions is met:
- Received a diploma after 2 years of higher educational studies in France;
- Provided valuable services to France through special abilities or talents;
- By virtue of your exceptional activities (scientific, sporting, cultural, etc.) you are considered to be exceptionally integrated into society.
The first step towards passport gaining is getting a residence permit. This status means staying in the country for a particular reason (usually for working or educational purposes). It is obligatory if you wish to stay more than 3 months. Next step is gathering all necessary documents:
- Bank or tax statements to prove your sufficient income (minimal annual wage in France is €20,964;
- Valid residence permit;
- Proof of no criminal record (no acts of terrorism, not sentenced to prison in France for more than 6 months, etc.).
You must also have the center of your material interests (particularly professional) and your family ties in France. Next step of gaining a passport is confirming integration into French society. You must pass a knowledge test of French culture, history and language (B1 level). The last step is proving that you lived in France more than 5 years, using residence permit. After that, you can obtain French citizenship via naturalization.
Alternatives to French citizenship
Despite the fact that European id-card provides the same benefits to anyone holding it, the criteria for obtaining it differ greatly. Top 3 states that are easier to relocate to using naturalization procedure:
Let us describe 3 of them. The easiest country for immigration by naturalization is Portugal. There are no specifics, only 5 years of residence and basic Portuguese language skills. Also, an immigrant only needs to have the permit to live. Staying in the country most of this time is not mandatory. Next one is Sweden. There are no language restrictions, just 5 years of residence are required. This period can be shortened if you reside together with a Swedish citizen (registered partnership, cohabitation, etc.). However, leaving the country for 6 weeks or more can make EU citizenship obtainment harder. The last to discuss is Belgium. Same 5-year rule of residence, but you need to speak one official language (Dutch, German, French) and demonstrate economic participation (taxes, social security contributions).
In conclusion, France is a great country for immigration and naturalization is one way to achieve this goal. It is a part of the European Union, so its citizens have equal rights with other EU residents. Although this state is attractive, the requirements of immigration via naturalization can be unpleasant to meet. There are countries that are easier to relocate to, for example Portugal, Sweden and Belgium, but being French citizen is more prestigious.