French Citizenship By Descent For Australians

People with a link to France through their parents may be eligible for French citizenship. Citizenship by descent is possible for those who have parents who are French citizens or were French citizens at the time of the child’s birth.

To obtain French nationality, applicants will need to complete a thorough application process. It can be beneficial to have legal aid to help you through the application process. Here at Total Law, we are experts in immigration law and can help with your application. Contact us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 to get started.

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    The French Citizenship By Descent: An Introduction

    The French citizenship by descent pathway to obtaining French nationality requires the applicant to have a living immediate relative with French nationality or a history of French nationality at the time of their birth.

    This means that at the time the applicant was born, at least one of their parents must have had French citizenship.

    French citizenship is very sought-after, as the country is perennially attractive for those overseas. France has excellent free social services, free education and healthcare, a reasonable work-life balance ethic, lifestyle attractions, and a high standard of living.

    However, France is not only attractive for the fantastic lifestyle a person can expect in the country. French citizenship enables the individual to have a French passport, which is one of the strongest passports in the world, allowing access to over 180 countries with no requirement for a visa, which grants substantial travel freedom.

    Those who are Canadian, Australian, and American have a high chance of having ancestors from Europe.

    Many European countries will also run citizenship by descent schemes, through which they extend citizenship to direct descendants of those who previously had nationality.

    France works by the jus sanguinis principle, which is the right of blood, meaning that citizenship by descent is not managed by birthplace but instead through parentage.

    Unfortunately, France only allows applicants to become citizens going back one generation. This means that those who are lucky enough to have a French parent who recognised them at birth will be eligible to apply.

    Yet, those who have a French parent who may be estranged or of whom they have no way of reasonably tracking them down may still be eligible, but it may be more difficult to do so.

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    Eligibility Requirements for French Citizenship By Descent

    Eligibility by descent in France can be acquired through different routes of descent. Several scenarios would make a person eligible for French citizenship.

    These scenarios include the following:

    • An applicant can apply for French citizenship by descent if they have at least one parent who was a French citizen at the time they were born. This individual will need to prove their identity as well as the identity of the French parent.
    • Those who are over the age of 18 and were born in a foreign country to a French mother who was born in France may be eligible to obtain French nationality if, at the time of their birth, their mother was still a French national. Additionally, the parent-child relationship between the child and the French parent also needed to have been established during the time the child was a minor.
    • French citizens can pass on their nationality to their children through descent, provided that on the day the child was born, the parent had their French nationality and the relationship between parent and child was established with the child being a minor.

    Those who fall into one of the above categories may be eligible for French citizenship by descent. However, France does require that every generation be registered as a citizen before an applicant can apply.

    This means that if a parent has French roots through their parents, they need to apply for citizenship before their children can obtain their citizenship.

    Another restriction to eligibility is that if parents have lost all their links with France, have had nothing to do with the country for fifty years, and have lived outside of the country for this period, they will not be eligible for citizenship. France will not consider cases where an individual and their parents have lost all links with the country.

    Yet, those who can prove that they have professional, cultural, family, economic, or military ties to the country that are relatively recent still have a chance to be considered eligible for French citizenship by descent.

    Document Requirements

    Those who are looking to apply for French citizenship will need to apply for a certificate of French nationality. This needs to be submitted with documents that will add more information to your application and validate who you are and that your application is valid.

    Applicants will need to provide the following documents for their application:

    • A document to prove your identity, such as your passport.
    • A document that will prove your residence—this could be a household bill, a rental contract, and so forth.
    • A copy of the applicant’s birth certificate that indicates the parent-child relationship with the French parent.
    • A copy of the parent’s birth certificates includes both parents, even in the case of a French parent and a non-French parent.
    • Additional documents that can aid in establishing the parent as a French national. Examples of documents that could aid in this include the following: national identity cards, consular registration cards, passports, military booklets, voter cards, and so on.
    • The marriage certificate of the applicant’s parents is valid. However, if the parents are not married, then a copy of the certificate recognises and proves parentage.

    These documents, along with the application, all need to be lodged in person, unless the individual is unable to or is incapable of travelling. If this is the case, then the courts may accept the paperwork to be delivered by mail.

    On top of the aforementioned documents, the applicant should also be prepared to meet two other requirements that can make the application harder than others. These include:

    • The French integration test. This is a test that is conducted via an interview to prove integration into French society.
    • A French language test. Applicants need to prove that they can speak and write in French. Additionally, a recognised diploma from a course that was studied in French at a French institute could be used to substitute this test in some cases.

    We can assist you in applying for a French citizenship that's tailored to your situation. Contact Us

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      France Citizenship By Descent Application Process: Step-by-Step

      French citizenship by descent is only available to those who have at least one parent who is a French citizen or who was a French citizen at the time of birth. Applicants need to ensure that they meet all eligibility criteria to be able to apply to obtain a French nationality certificate.

      Applicants should begin by ensuring they are eligible.

      • One of their parents was or is a French citizen at the time of the child’s birth.
      • The child was born in wedlock or was recognised by the French parent.

      Once the applicant has confirmed that they are eligible to acquire French citizenship, they will then need to collect the required documents for the application to submit to French authorities.

      These documents include:

      • The applicant’s birth certificate.
      • The French parent’s birth certificate.
      • The marriage certificate of the parents of the applicant.
      • Documented proof of the French parent’s citizenship.
      • Evidence that shows the French parent’s residency if they are living abroad.
      • Other relevant documents, such as adoption papers or divorce decrees.

      Any documents that are not in French will need to be translated into French by a valid professional translator.

      Once all documents are collected, the applicant will need to contact the Department of Nationality for French People Born and Established Outside of France.

      To apply, the applicant will need to present the above documents in person. The applicant will then also need to prove that they meet the additional integration into French society criteria and the language test as well.

      After applying, the applicant can only wait to hear whether or not they have been granted French citizenship by descent or if their application has been rejected.

      If the application does get rejected, it may be possible to launch an appeal against this decision. However, if you should decide to launch an appeal, this can involve directly contacting the Ministry of Justice, and it is best to have legal representation for this process.

      Other Routes To Obtain French Citizenship

      There are other ways to obtain French citizenship, as there are those who may obtain citizenship via a French spouse and those who can become naturalised French citizens.

      Citizenship By Marriage

      Citizenship by marriage is a way for non-French spouses of citizens of France to get French nationality to be with their partner. To be considered eligible for this, applicants do need to meet particular criteria and provide the relevant documentation.

      The eligibility criteria for citizenship by marriage include the following:

      • The spouse must have been married to a citizen of France for a minimum of four years.
      • The spouse must have been living in France for a minimum of three years since the marriage and have had at least one year of continuous residency.

      Citizenship By Naturalisation

      French citizenship by naturalisation is the process by which an individual can obtain nationality in France due to having lived in the country for a specific period. There are eligibility criteria that must be met for this type of citizenship, such as the period required to have lived in France.

      The eligibility criteria for citizenship by naturalisation include the following:

      • The applicant must be 18 years old.
      • The applicant must have lived in France for at least five years.
      • The applicant needs to have a valid residence permit.
      • The applicant must have sufficient knowledge of French culture and language.
      • The applicant must have no criminal record and be under no investigation.

      Citizenship By Birth Or Adoption

      It is also possible to acquire French citizenship by birth or adoption. This type of citizenship is granted to those born in France or those adopted in France where at least one parent or both parents are French nationals. This is one of the most straightforward routes for citizenship, and the documents are fairly simple. There are also specific timelines for applications based on the child’s age and circumstances.

      However, the basic eligibility criteria for this type of citizenship are as follows:

      • The applicant must be born or adopted in France, or at least one of the parents is a French citizen.
      • At least one of the parents has lived in France continuously for at least five years. This amount can be less in some conditions, however, such as if the parent is a civil servant overseas.

      How Can Total Law Help?

      Those who wish to obtain French citizenship by descent can do so if one of their parents was a citizen at the time of their birth and the family lineage has not broken ties with the country. Every route to citizenship in France does come with certain conditions regarding continued connection to the French country as well as culture and language skills

      Parents born outside of France who then obtain French citizenship will need to ensure they have French citizenship before their children can apply. Additionally, children born abroad but who have one parent who is French may be eligible. The eligibility criteria for French citizenship by descent can be quite complex, due to rules regarding whether parents born in France or those with more than one nationality may be eligible.

      This is why it is ideal to speak to our team at Total Law; we are well-versed in helping foreign nationals with French ancestry obtain French citizenship. We can provide a comprehensive guide to eligibility and help with the application process as well. Our lawyers can help you collect all your necessary supporting documents and can also provide legal representation in the event of an appeal.

      Give us a call today at +44 (0)333 305 9375 to find out how we can help your family reclaim French citizenship.

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