French Citizenship By Birth

There are many advantages to French citizenship; however, it is not easy to acquire French citizenship, even for individuals who were born in France. Those born to foreign parents in France have to meet certain criteria to be considered eligible for citizenship.

Therefore, while the process is one of the easiest to obtain French citizenship, it is best to seek out the help of a Total Law lawyer to help you with your application for French citizenship. Call us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or leave a message online today, to get started on your application.

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    France Citizenship By Birth: An Overview

    Children born in France to foreign parents will automatically be given French nationality in certain circumstances, such as the following:

    • One of the parents was born in France, even if that parent is not a citizen.
    • One of the parents of the child was born in Algeria before July 3, 1962.
    • The child is born stateless, and the parents of the child have no legal nationality, are unknown, or come from a country where nationality is only granted to those who are born there.

    In other situations, a child who is born to foreign parents in France is only able to become French at the age of 13 if they meet a set of conditions.

    Those who are born in France and who have at least one parent who was also born in France are considered to be French by birth, no matter the nationality of the individual.

    Overview Continued

    This means that children born in France, even those in its overseas territories, to at least one parent who is French, will automatically be considered French citizens at the time of their birth. Therefore, these children should be registered as such at their local town hall within three days of their birth date.

    Similarly, if a child has parents who are French at the time of birth, but the child was born in a part of the world where France does not have jurisdiction, the child will still be considered French.

    There is also a group of children who are born to non-French individuals who are eligible to become citizens of France; however, they will likely have to reside in the country for a specific period in their infant years to be considered eligible.

    The Benefits Of French Citizenship

    French citizenship has a range of benefits, ranging from practical rights and freedoms to a deep connection with the historical legacy and cultural history of France. Having French nationality has some benefits, such as:

    • Access to French social services, such as education and healthcare.
    • The right to vote and participate in the political life of France.
    • Freedom of movement throughout the European Union.
    • The ability to hold public office and even run for political office.
    • Diplomatic protection should you be travelling overseas.
    • Historical and cultural identity in France.
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      French Citizenship By Birth Eligibility Criteria


      French citizenship is primarily determined by jus sanguinis (blood), which means that for a child to be eligible for French nationality, they must have at least one parent who is a French citizen.

      French citizenship may also be available to some who are born in France to parents of non-French nationality due to being born on French soil (also known as jus soli), although this is much rarer.

      A child can qualify for French nationality in the following ways:

      • The child was born in France, and one or both of the parents have French nationality.
      • The child was born outside of France to a French citizen parent.
      • A child is born in France after January 1, 1962, to a parent who was born in Algeria before July 3, 1962.
      • The child was born in France before January 1, 1994, to a parent who was born in a former French overseas territory before independence.
      • The child is adopted by a French-national parent via the full adoption procedure known as adoption pleniere.

      There are some other instances where a child may be able to qualify for French citizenship; however, these instances are not as certain. These qualifying criteria include:

      • The child is born to a parent who was also born in France, but the parent is not a French citizen.
      • The child is born to a foreign-born parent who resides in France and has not passed on their French nationality for some reason.
      • The child is born in France to parents who are not French-born, but the parents have unknown citizenship, or the parent is stateless at the time of the child’s birth.

      Ages 13-15 Eligibility

      Those who were born in France to foreign parents can apply to become French when they are between 13 and 15 years of age if they meet the following criteria:

      • The child has lived in France regularly and has thus spent most of their time there since 8 years of age.
      • The child was living in France at the time they made their application.
      • The child gives their consent to becoming French. (This requirement is voided if the child does not have the mental or physical capacity to do so.)

      One or both of the child’s parents will need to write a declaration de nationalité française on behalf of the child; two copies should be created. On this, the parent or legal guardian will need to provide the forename, surname, date of birth, and place of birth of the minor and their representative.

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      Application Requirements Of French Citizenship By Birth

      In France, it is a legal requirement for the parent or guardian to register the birth of a child within three days of the child being born (though this does not include weekends). This registration needs to be done using a birth registration form, which needs to be filed at the local town hall and is free.

      This registration requires a signed birth certificate and proof of residence (a utility bill or tenancy contract is usually adequate).

      To register a birth, the parents should provide the following documents at their local town hall:

      • A medical certificate that has been signed by a midwife or doctor.
      • A piece of photographic ID, such as a national ID card, to prove the identity of the parent.
      • Proof of residency or domicile is needed to prove the parent’s French citizenship.
      • Family booklet that enables the registration of the child, if the parents already have said booklet.

      Alternatively, if the child is born outside of France, then there will be a requirement to prove the parent’s French nationality at the time of the child’s birth.

      France Citizenship By Birth Application Process

      If the child is born in France and is registered within three days of birth by the French parent of the child, then the process is simple and only requires the registration of the birth.

      However, if the child has chosen to apply for citizenship later, between the ages of 13 and 15, then the application process will be a bit different to acquire a French nationality certificate.

      For this, the child will need to meet the necessary criteria to be considered and will need to provide the following documents in their application:

      • A birth certificate that is no older than three months old (it is possible to apply for a copy of your birth certificate at any age in France).
      • An ID document, such as a national ID card or passport.
      • Recent ID photographs.
      • A titre de dejour of the foreign parent or representative that has an official overseas identification document.
      • Proof that the child lives in France.
      • Proof that the child has been frequently living in France and has lived in the country for a minimum of 5 whole years since age 8.
      • Proof that the legal representative of the child has paternal authority (this can be shown via an adoption certificate or birth certificate).

      It is important that original versions of these documents are provided; photocopies are not allowed.

      Should the child who is applying have children living with them, then birth certificates and other proof will also be required.

      In some situations, the tribunal may ask that the child be medically examined to ensure that they have the physical and mental capacity to request citizenship. Additionally, all documents not in French will need to be translated into French by a registered translator.

      Then, once evidence is submitted, the child will be given a receipt, and an interview will be organised to be certain that the child has given consent to this.

      The judicial authorities of the French government will have six months in which to register or refuse citizenship, and the authorities can revoke citizenship within two years if they learn that the legal conditions are not met or if there has been a lack of truth in the application.

      If the request is confused and rejected, applicants can contest it within six months after the decision. It is best to hire a lawyer if this is the case, contact one of our Total Law lawyers at +44 (0)333 305 9375.

      To streamline your French citizenship application case, reach out to us today. Contact Us

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        What To Do If The Citizenship Application Is Rejected?

        Many applications for citizenship by birth will be accepted; however, authorities do retain the right to refuse an application if the applicant does not meet the conditions necessary.

        Authorities can also postpone applications if they conclude that citizenship is not appropriate at the time; however, if this does occur, they will outline why they reached this conclusion and provide a deadline for a new application to be submitted.

        Should an application be refused, the applicant can appeal to the Ministry of the Interior within two months of the decision to refuse the application. After this, appeals can be taken to the Administrative Court to obtain a final review.

        Should the applicant appeal the refusal decision, the letter of refusal should inform them of when and how they can appeal. But note that there will also be a time limit for appealing.

        It is always best to seek out the aid of a legal representative if you are appealing a decision to refuse your application. Here at Total Law, our lawyers can help with this. Give us a call at +44 (0)333 305 9375 for help with your appeal.

        Other Routes To Obtain French Citizenship

        Individuals do not have to be born in France to obtain French nationality. There are other routes for applying for citizenship, including citizenship by descent (parents who are French), marriage (a French spouse), or through naturalisation (residency).


        Those applying through residency will need to have been residents of the country for a minimum of five years. However, applicants who have completed postgraduate studies at a French university can apply after two years of residency.


        Those applying for French citizenship will need to have been married to their French spouse for at least four years and have lived in France for three years since the marriage, with one of these years being continuous residency.

        How Can Total Law Help?

        A child born in France has a fairly easy path to French nationality; however, children with French parents but born abroad may have a slightly more difficult path. That being said, French nationality is easiest to acquire through birth.

        It can be very useful to have the help of an immigration lawyer when applying for French citizenship by birth. If you are appealing a citizenship application that has been rejected, our legal team can help you have a successful appeal. Give us a call today at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online.

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