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Should I hire a lawyer for a naturalization application?

Should I hire a lawyer for a naturalization application?

It is not uncommon to see people of foreign nationality residing in France request, after a few years, French nationality by way of naturalization. Indeed, naturalization is one of the ways of acquiring French nationality. It consists in granting nationality to a foreign national who did not possess it by birth. It is either the fruit of a marriage or of a prolonged stay in the country.

In principle, the naturalization application procedure is free. However, it is subject to a number of conditions. This is why it is strongly advised to be assisted by a naturalization lawyer to give themselves every chance of succeeding in their application.

First of all, the applicant must in principle be of legal age, that is to say be 18 years old on the day of the filing of his naturalization application. However, there are exceptions. Indeed, an application for naturalization can be filed by a minor of 17 years. However, if this is accepted, naturalization will only be effective once the majority has been reached. Similarly, the naturalization of a minor child whose parents have already acquired French nationality is possible. However, it is necessary that the minor, like all applicants, resides in France for at least 5 years on the date of the application.

This period may nevertheless be reduced, in particular for foreigners who have successfully completed two years of study in France in a higher education establishment and for other foreigners of exceptional interest for France. It should also be noted that no minimum duration is required for foreigners who have served in the French army or who are of particular interest to France from a cultural or sporting point of view... Similarly, no duration condition is fixed, applications for naturalization of refugees who have been granted asylum. 

Beyond these conditions of capacity or residence in France when applying for naturalization, it must be said that the purpose of this is to belong to French society. To do this, the applicant is also required to be well integrated into French society and to nurture and respect its values. In a word: to be "assimilated" !

The mastery of the French language as well as the knowledge of the republican values ​​oh so dear to the French people, are necessary. This integration is generally facilitated by the professional situation of the applicant. Indeed, when the applicant is already working in France, there is in principle a presumption of integration and assimilation. However, for some time now, this reality has been nuanced, especially since only foreigners holding successive fixed-term contracts have the possibility of applying for naturalization. However, before, permanent contracts also allowed them to do so.

Aspiring to belong to the French community, the applicant must also prove that he does not represent a danger to French society. Generally moreover, before pronouncing on the request, the administration carries out an investigation into the criminal past of the applicant. This is indeed the basis of many decisions to refuse or postpone naturalization. In fact, old criminal convictions or indictments are sometimes enough for the Minister to reject or at least not immediately accept the application for naturalization and, consequently, to postpone it to a later date. We speak then adjournment. However, it is possible to appeal against decisions of refusal.

In any case, it should be specified that the procedure is not automatic. Indeed, the administration is in no way bound by applications for naturalization. She is said to have a freedom of appreciation requests submitted to it. Especially since this falls within the exercise of its discretionary power which it has in the matter. As a result, the competent authority has a freedom of appreciation to review your case, but also opportunity to decide whether or not they will grant you citizenship.

The submission of the naturalization application file, which constitutes the first stage of the procedure, must be made to the prefecture of the applicant's place of residence. For foreigners residing outside France wishing to obtain French nationality, they are required to contact the French consulate in their country of residence. The application file generally includes the form cerfa n ° 12753 * 01 completed in duplicate. This is available on the internet. Otherwise, this application form for the acquisition of French nationality by naturalization will be given to the applicant by the agents of the prefecture or in certain cases of the sub-prefecture.

Once submitted, the file is then examined by the prefect. To do this, the prefect carries out various surveys and several interviews in order to gather the necessary information concerning the applicant.

As from the submission of the file to the prefecture, the prefect has a maximum period of 6 months to speak out. Otherwise, his silence is interpreted as a refusal. The applicant then has a period of 2 months from the notification of the decision to lodge an informal appeal. If the latter is not satisfied, he may lodge another appeal before the administrative court.

As already mentioned, in the context of the naturalization application procedure, the assistance of a lawyer specializing in immigration law will be of great use to you in this regard.

This is indeed more than necessary due to numerous refusals by the administration to grant nationality. Is it necessary to recall that this falls within the discretionary power of the administration. Thus, it has a wide discretion and is under no obligation to grant the request even if the file is relevant.

To do this, it is possible to be assisted by an expert in the field to help you compile a solid file and possibly accompany you to challenge the decision of the prefectural authority in the event of refusal.

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