On average the French embassy in Qatar grants French citizenship to around 25 people in a year, Ambassador Jean-Christophe Peaucelle said yesterday.
He was speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of a ceremony at his residence which celebrated the granting of French citizenship to four people, who originally hailed from Lebanon, Algeria, Russia and Romania.
Peaucelle said that the new French citizens, Salima Tami, Alina Mezzi, Valentina Chenviere, M. Fady Bakhos, were a good example of the diversity and the richness of a common history.
In three of the cases, citizenship was granted because they were married to French citizens.
The fourth person lived in France for a long time and got citizenship mainly because of that reason.
The ambassador explained that there was a way of becoming a French citizen. One way was by marrying a French citizen, whereby after some years, you could become a French citizen. Nonetheless, one of the most important criteria was the ability to speak French.
“You need to speak French. We do not grant French citizenship to people who are unable to speak French. At least, they should be able to manage communicating in the language. We are not asking for a perfect speaking, but this is important,” Peaucelle said.
In other cases, it was possible for people who lived or served in France for a long time to apply for citizenship. In such cases, the office of citizenship in Paris studies the case and decides.
“We at the embassy receive the application when someone applies for citizenship. We have an interview with the applicant and assess the candidate’s motivations. We check whether they can speak French, then we send the application to Paris [to the Ministry of Justice,] which studies the case. In some cases, they ask for further investigations,” the ambassador said.
In his message to the French community in Qatar, he said: “Be proud of what you are, be proud of from where you come from, and be proud of where you want to go.”
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