Effective January 1, 2012 prospective French citizens must fulfill more stringent requirements to obtain French citizenship, making the immigration process more difficult. Among the new requirements is a new challenging French language exam. Candidates for citizenship must prove that they have the French language skills of an average 15-year old native French speaker.
In addition to language proficiency, candidates also must pass an exam covering French history and culture. They must pledge allegiance to France over all other nations, even if the candidate intends to be a dual-citizen. Additionally, applicants are expected to adopt French morals and demonstrate an understanding of what it means to be a secular state.
Many critics of the new requirements say that they are a far-right wing attempt to win votes in this presidential election year.