France Citizenship By Adoption

Those who wish to adopt a child into their family in France can do so, and depending on how the adoption is done, the adopted child may be able to acquire French nationality as well.

However, the adoption process is complex enough without adding the impact of immigration law into the equation. For this reason, many find comfort in obtaining legal assistance from an expert immigration lawyer. Here at Total Law, we are experts in dealing with immigration law cases in France. Call us today at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, to find out how we can help your case.

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    Introduction To French Citizenship By Adoption

    France allows adopted children of French citizens to acquire French citizenship. However, the process is more complex than it may seem. This is because France recognises two adoption types: plenary adoption (plénière adoption) and simple adoption (adoption simple).

    Plenary adoption sees the child become the legal child of the adoptive family, and ties with the biological parents are severed. This means that all responsibility and rights, including inheritance rights, are transferred to the adoptive family.

    Alternatively, simple adoption allows the adoptive parents to assume certain responsibilities and rights, but the child still maintains relations with their biological family. In this case, the child will typically retain their original birth name and keep inheritance rights for both families. In this instance, the relationship with the adoptive parents can be revoked.

    The path taken to French citizenship for an adopted child will depend on the adoption type.

    Plenary Adoption

    If taking the path of plenary adoption, then the validity of the foreign adoption decision in France will need to be verified via a transcription process in the French civil status register. A request will be sent to the Public Prosecutors Office via the Judicial Tribunal Court of Nantes.

    After the decision is confirmed as being valid under French international public policy, the prosecutor will instruct the Service Central de L’etat civil (Central Civil Status Service) to register this in the records.

    This transcription will serve as a birth certificate and will allow the adoptive parents to apply for a French passport for their child.

    Simple Adoption

    If the adoption is considered to be a simple adoption, then the adoptive parents of the child will need to go through the declaration of the adopted child to acquire their French nationality. It is important to note that the child must be under 18 years of age on the day the declaration is made, and at the time of adoption, at least one of the adoptive parents must be a French citizen.

    Those who live in France will need to request from the Director of the Registry Service of the Judicial Court their residence. Those who live abroad will need to do this at their local French Consulate. If the adoptive child has already reached the age of 18, they can become a citizen of France if they respect some specific conditions to do so.

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    General Requirements For Successfully Obtaining Citizenship By Adoption

    Those who are applying to obtain French citizenship by adoption (or by birth) are eligible if they have at least one French parent. This process is considered to be one of the easiest ways to obtain French nationality in comparison to other routes.

    The documents required for an application are fairly simple; however, there are some specific timelines for applications that are based on the circumstances of the application and the age of the child.

    A child is considered eligible if they fit the following criteria:

    • The child was born or is being adopted in France and has at least one parent who is a French citizen.
    • At least one of the parents has lived in France for a minimum of five years. However, there are some exceptions to this ruling; the time spent in France can be less if the parent is a civil servant abroad or is in similar circumstances..

    When applying, the application will require some documents to verify the identities of the individuals and the validity of the adoption. The documents that will likely be required include the following:

    • The declaration of French nationality in two copies This should be dated and signed by a legal representative of the adopted person (Total Law provides legal representatives that can act on behalf of the adopted person in this process; call us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 to get legal representation in this part of the adoption process today), if the adopted person is under 16 years of age, or guardianship should a disability prevent them from expressing their will).
    • A full copy of the birth certificate of the adopted individual.
    • Proof of identity for the adopted child. This could be shown in the form of a foreign passport, a school card, and so on.
    • Proof of the residence of the adopted individual.
    • A recent photographic ID of the adopted child.
    • A certified copy of the adoption judgement.
    • A full copy of the adoption birth certificate.
    • Certificate of French nationality for the adoptive parent.
    • Proof of ID of the adoptive parent. This could be shown via a French passport, a driving licence, or a national ID card.

    Depending on the specific circumstances of the individual case, other documentation may be required. With any application, it is best to provide as much supporting documentation as possible to add to the validity of the application.

    It is also important to note that children adopted in France will need to have the adoption finalised before their 16th birthday for it to be viewed as valid.

    If you're wanting to claim citizenship by adoption in France but need help, speak with our legal experts today. Contact Us

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      How To Obtain Citizenship By Adoption In France: The Process

      When making an application, a legal representative available should date and sign the declaration of French nationality, should the adopted individual be under 16 years of age, if possible.

      The applicant will need to prepare the relevant documents for this application as listed above. All documents must be translated if they are not in French. This translation needs to be original and done by a professional translator who is approved by the courts of appeal.

      Additionally, it is also possible to have one multilingual form instead of having to translate documents that have been issued by the European Union (if this is the case).

      Additionally, some documents that may be included in an application may require legalisation or apostille to be accepted in France.

      Alternatively, be aware that if the child is adopted via plenary adoption, there is no process required as the child will be considered French from birth instead.

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      What If The Request For Citizenship By Adoption Is Denied?

      It is unlikely that a citizenship by adoption request will be denied unless the adopted child does not meet some of the essential requirements or if the application is missing critical information.

      Authorities have the right to refuse an application if the applicant does not meet the necessary conditions.

      Similarly, the authorities may postpone an application if they feel that citizenship is not appropriate at this time. If this is the case, however, they will outline their reasons for this decision and provide a deadline to submit a new and improved application.

      However, if an application does get refused, it is possible to appeal to the Ministry of the Interior within two months of receiving the refusal decision. After this, it is then possible to take the appeal to the Administrative Court to obtain a final review of this decision.

      If you can appeal the decision made to refuse citizenship by adoption, then the formal refusal letter should inform you of where and how you can appeal. There will also be a time limit for making such an appeal.

      Appeals will also consider the legality of the decision as well as the facts regarding the circumstances in which this decision was based.

      Those who receive a formal refusal letter should contact one of our team members at Total Law to receive the help of a skilled immigration lawyer. Call us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 to find out how we can help.

      Those who have been refused due to not meeting the required conditions will find that no restrictive measures can occur until a final decision is made on their status.

      France has three appeals that deal with application refusals.

      1. A recours gracieus: An appeal to the prefer.
      2. A recours hierarchique: An appeal to the Minister of the Interior.
      3. A recours contentieux: An appeal to the Tribunal Administratif.

      It is strongly recommended to appeal to the Minister of the Interior, as this will be examined by the head department for overseas residency cards.

      Those who appeal this way are claiming that the prefecture’s refusal is incorrect and that the applicant should be considered to meet the conditions for their citizenship.

      If appealing this, always ensure you have good reasons for making this claim and explain why.

      Make sure that you can show how you meet the conditions. While it is not considered necessary to seek legal representation for this, at Total Law, we advise our clients to seek legal assistance for a successful case. Contact us for help with this.

      Our team has helped with numerous successful immigration applications. Let's help with yours too. Contact Us

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        Other French Citizenship Routes


        French citizenship can be obtained in many different ways; however, the most common is via descent, birth, naturalisation, marriage, or adoption.

        Those who apply via descent or birth can note that France used to work on the premise of jus soli, which is the right by soil; however, the country now works on jus sanguinis, which is the right by blood, enabling immediate descendants to claim French nationality by birth and descent.

        Citizenship By Descent

        French citizenship acquired by descent is available to those with at least one parent who is a French citizen. This is a fairly simple process, but it does require that the applicant meet eligibility criteria such as:

        • At least one of the child’s parents was a French citizen at the time of their birth.
        • The child needs to be born in wedlock or be recognised by the French parent.

        Citizenship By Marriage

        Those who wish to apply for French citizenship by marriage must have a French spouse to obtain French nationality. However, applicants do need to meet certain criteria to be considered eligible.

        • The spouse needs to have been married to a French citizen for a minimum of four years.
        • The spouse of the French citizen must have lived in France for at least three years since the couple married. One of these years must have been continuous residency.

        Citizenship By Naturalisation

        French citizenship can be acquired via naturalisation. This is the process of obtaining nationality for residents in France who are not French but have lived in France for at least the minimum required time of five years. They must also meet eligibility criteria, including:

        • The applicant needs to be at least 18 years of age.
        • The applicant must have lived in France for at least five years.
        • The applicant must have a valid residency permit.
        • The applicant must have sufficient knowledge of French culture and language.
        • The applicant must not have a criminal record or be under investigation in any way.

        How Can Total Law Help?

        Children being adopted overseas by foreign parents will often acquire the nationality of their adoptive parents. In France, the ease of application depends on the type of adoption that is conducted. French nationality is easy to acquire for those being adopted by French parents.

        However, it is always best to seek out the assistance of a lawyer from Total Law to help with your application for the French nationality of the adopted child. We can help you through the adoption process and the process of obtaining nationality if the adoption is categorised as a simple adoption.

        Call us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, today to get started with a member of our legal team.

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