How can I get French citizenship as a current US citizen?
February 5, 2005 2:34 PM   Subscribe

French Citizenship or Residence

I am a United States citizen who is looking to move to France. I am currently living in the Republic of Ireland but I am finding it harder and harder to maintain legal residence (even though, my mother is remarried to an Irishman and my ancestry is Irish) It seems you either have to be offered a contract for employment or be a student to stay here. I HEARD that requirements for French citizenship or permanent residence were more lenient. Does anyone have any information on this. I am NOT "highly skilled" in the slightest, unless you consider fixing PCs and Macs a skill.
posted by Livewire Confusion to Law & Government (12 answers total)
Hey, I know next to nothing about these things, but doesn't the fact of your Irish ancestry give you an automatic in for Irish (and hence EU) citizenship?

I think all you need is paperwork documenting the ancestry, and you're good. Check it out!
posted by Aquaman at 3:36 PM on February 5, 2005

Response by poster: Nope. Basically my parents or grandparents have to have come from Ireland in that case. My Grandparents did not come from Ireland, their parents did. Thanks all the same though!
posted by Livewire Confusion at 3:58 PM on February 5, 2005

According to this Embassy of Ireland site, you can become an Irish citizenship if your mother is an Irish citizen. And she is eligible to become an Irish citizen after 3 years of marriage to an Irish citizen (but she must have married by 30 November 2002 in order to make the November 2005 deadline). Don't know if that helps (or if there is any fine print ... )
posted by WestCoaster at 5:04 PM on February 5, 2005

It is my understanding that France is very strict. EU citizen, student or worker and that's it (I know their tests for citizenship are very hard, as well). Here is the AskMe thread on the subject.
posted by scazza at 5:05 PM on February 5, 2005

A person whose great-grandparent was born in Ireland may register for Irish citizenship, provided that the applicant's parent had registered in the Foreign Births Register before the person's birth.
Sounds like a long shot, but your great-grandparents might get you in after all! (source: some web page)
posted by Aquaman at 5:40 PM on February 5, 2005

Check out Expatica. I'd be surprised if it's easier than in Ireland though.
posted by elgilito at 3:01 AM on February 6, 2005

IIRC, I also think you are eligible for french citizenship if serve in the Foreign Legion for four or five years (different websites vary), although if you get shot, you become immediately eligible.
posted by Jongo at 4:35 AM on February 6, 2005

I'd thoroughly look into getting Irish citizenship. My father was born there and I was able to get in with surprisingly few hassles.

I suggest seeing if you can find a way to meet with someone from the government and ask. The Irish government is very nice in my experience and seem to have some of the most liberal ancestry laws in the EU.

A possible issue might be dual citizenship. I'm Canadian so it's no sweat, but the deal my be different for Americans.

There is also probably some type of permanent residency without the right to work deal you can get. For people who want to retire to Ireland.

Perhaps calling an Irish immigration lawyer might be a plan.
posted by Leonard at 7:16 AM on February 6, 2005

A possible issue might be dual citizenship. I'm Canadian so it's no sweat, but the deal my be different for Americans.

Only if you actively renounce your US citizenship (which is difficult, and you have to do it in front of US officials), or do one of a very small number of things that can be renunciatory-in-effect but that are vanishingly unlikely for you going to the EU.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:47 AM on February 6, 2005

I have dual American and New Zealand citizenship. It is impossible to renounce US citizenship. The deal is that they don't acknowledge each other. To the US I am ALWAYS a US citizen, and they get peeved at Customs if I use another passport. There are tons of dual US/EU citizens.
posted by scazza at 12:47 PM on February 6, 2005

Marry a french gal, and wait two years.
Or, apparently, live in France for 5 years, and you COULD get "naturalized".

About dual citizenship, it seems you'd have to drop your original citizenship in order to be French (if the change of citizenship is voluntary).

More official information on the great website (parts of which I can translate for you if needed)
posted by XiBe at 2:32 AM on February 7, 2005

[In France] a very select few are allowed to “assimilate” each year. Assimilation is reserved for persons of non-French descent who are able to prove that they are more French than American, having mastered the language as well as the philosophy of the French way of life.
I'd say try to get EU citizenship through Ireland.
posted by scazza at 2:33 PM on February 7, 2005

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