Can I get a French citizenship if I'm on a student visa?

I'm going back to France (I'm currently in France) because my visa expires but I haven't studied in France for over 8 months can I get my citizenship and bring along my husband?

(Btw if this helps I got my masters last year, got married and now I plan on to go back to France)

(Also, I came to France on my student visa before it expires and I'm currently here with my brother, and I graduated last year from a French university.)

I don't think that time here on a student visa counts towards immigration. You need several years here on an immigration path before you can apply, then it takes at least a couple of years to process (it has built-in wait times).
If you graduated from a French school, then I think that reduces the years you have to reside here before applying (From 5 years to 2?).
Meanwhile, you need to be here on the right visa. I'm no expert.

Your husband would have to have his own visa, until you get citizenship (then he would switch to spouse visa, and/or apply himself)

Julie, you've been very helpful in identifying necessary steps in iverwhelming bureaucracy of France. I wonder, if you could give a tip. I am an American citizen who married a Belgian woman 4 years. We have been living in Arlon, BE near Luxembourg where my wife works. We bought an apartment in Metz, FR and will be relocating there in June. I was told in the French embassy to apply for a visa to France that will give me 6 months to apply for permanent residence at the prefecture in Metz. Apparently, France only gives maximum 1-year residence until one lives tgere 5 years to gwt the citizenship. It sounds like a lot if hassle,  especially while I go twice a year back to US. Do you any advice?
On another subject: can I get English speaking channels in France like CNN, BCC etc through a cable/phone service provider?

GregorySegal :

On another subject: can I get English speaking channels in France like CNN, BCC etc through a cable/phone service provider?

BBC World News and CNN Intl are available across Europe. I use First One TV to receive English speaking TV, it's also free.


Indeed, very thorough reply, Julie, regarding the visa, etc., questions!
I see you are in the same region as I am (LR).
Do you ever participate in the Expat activities?
Judith Gleba Kressmann

No, haven't gotten around to. I lived in Arlon, BE for 4 years. The kid was too small to take to Luxembourg - the closest expat community. Now we are moving to Metz, the kid goes to school (he is 4) and I am ready to meet the people who speak the same language. Where do you live in LR?

Hi Gregory,
Your situation is a little bit different from mine. Your wife is an EU citizen, so when you move to France, (1) she needs to go to the préfecture of Metz and "exercise her treaty rights" (please look up what that means, as I only have an inkling, but it includes proving a certain level of income), (2) you need to piggyback off her right to be here - you don't need a visa from anywhere else to move; you apply at the préfecture as a spouse of an EU citizen. Beware, it can be difficult to get an appointment, and they are often several months in the future. And you're supposed to (both) apply within 3 months of moving.
Re 5 years of residency, yes, that's true. And it takes a couple of years after you apply to get it (there are buit-in wait times). As long as you are in France more than 183 days per year, that year counts. They have to be consecutive. Don't worry about your trips to the USA as long as the time in France is satisfied.
However, I *think* that after one or two 1-year cartes, you can get a 2-year, so that's something :-)
Good luck!

Hi Judith,
I'm in Sète, and currently car-less (which will hopefully change soon) - it has taken a while to find local groups, but I now participate in several hiking clubs (one is French, the others are Anglophone), and a lunch language exchange group; I occasionally go to Anglophone coffee, and might (haven't yet) join a resto club. Sète has a large population of French retirees, and the welcome group arranges several outings and events per year - all in French :-)
Montpellier has a much more public and available expat scene, but it's just too difficult to get there and back for me - even tho it's not really far!
How about you? Any groups for activities and support?

Hello Julie,

I'm a US citizen, from California. I have been coming to Paris every year and stay for 90 days for the past 3 years as the tourist visa permit. I would like to stay longer and legally, therefore, I'm going to apply for one year visa, as I have the mean to show that I can support my self and I don't need to work. Also, I will be retiring soon. My question is how can I stay there beyond one year and is it possible to immigrate to France as retiree. There will be any possibility to become French citizen too. In a month or two, I'm going to the French consulate in San Francisco and I want to have clear idea how to proceed with my request. BTW, I studied French A1 and now taking French B1, I think I can have some foundation to start the French language. Also, can I get on French Health System ( I know I have to pay), would it be cheaper than getting one from the States? Thanks.


Hi Alma,

Everything you want to do has been successfully done by others!

Your situation is a little different than mine, but not by much. Keeping that in mind, here are my thoughts.

1) you will not be working, so the long-term visa you are asking for is a visitor visa. As part of your application, you need to sign a letter stating that you will not work in France, and you need to provide proof that you have enough savings and/or income to live on. This should exceed 1500€ per month. You also need to show proof of the right kind of health insurance (minimum of emergency coverage and repatriation to the states if needed - eg world nomads has this, for up to one year). You tell them you want to live in France, not just stay for the one year (so that your visa is renewable). You only need to show all these proofs for one year. When your first year is up (actually, several months before), if you want to stay, you renew in France, and provide all the same type of documents that you provided for the first year. You will want to investigate this visa further, but those are the usual points of confusion.

2) after 5 years of continuous living in France, you can apply for citizenship. This process can take a couple of years. During all this time, you can still vacation outside of France and still be considered as "living continuously" in France - you need to be here >= 183 days each year, and file French taxes (and don't forget your USA taxes as well)

3) after 3 months of living in France, and after you have your OFII sticker/vignette (completing your first year visa status in France), you can apply via CPAM to get on the French health coverage system (via PUMA). It can take an unknown number of months to get processed. The cost is roughly 8% of your net income. But this is still getting worked out, so it's largely unknow for now. It covers roughly 70% of the "normal" costs, and 100% of chronic and emergency costs. You can buy a mutuelle (private insurance) to cover the rest - I don't have details on this. Costs here are much much less than in the states, so for us, our part is doable without the mutuelle.

4) Excellent that you are learning French ahead of time! You will not need it at the SF consulate, but after that, whoooee! Keep at it as much as possible!
Most people need to pass a test at A1 level when they arrive, then A2 level to renew, and B1 for citizenship. But if you're over 60, I think all of it is informal - no language level is required, but they do want you to know some French. And of course, if you don't know enough, you have to hire help, which makes everything more expensive.

5) If you do go for help, I have heard good things about and - but investigate thoroughly. And consider contracting before applying for your visa, as that's a big part of what these companies do.

6) you don't mention this, but look into what you need to do about a driver's license. It is complicated!

Good luck!

Hello Julie,

So many thanks for your valuable respond, I do appreciated.


I wish people would make their own threads instead of derailing the Original poster's.

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