French Citizenship by Descent

Obtaining French citizenship by descent is possible via confirmation of possession of French citizenship, which can be started if the applicant meets the following criteria:

  • he/she is over 18 year old
  • he/she does not possess any document issued by a French administration such as a passport, a national identity card, a voter’s card, a military certificate
  • he/she has not acquired French nationality by decree or by declaration
  • his/her ancestors were once considered French or were born in France (including overseas territories) or certain other countries.

According to the Paragraph 1 of Article 30 of the Civil Code, in matters of French nationality the burden of proof lies with the one whose nationality is involved. Therefore, the applicant must demonstrate by means of objective elements that he/she has right to obtain French citizenship.

The certificate of French nationality

The substantive proof of French nationality is the Certificate of French nationality provided for in Articles 31 et seq. of the Civil Code.

French citizenship by descent: required documents

The following documents, if so required, must be translated into French by an authorized translator of the Consulate General and legalized by the authorities of the country that issued them.

  • application
  • photocopy of your passport or other ID
  • copy of your birth certificate
  • copy of your marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • copies of birth certificate of your ascendants
  • copies of marriage certificates of your ascendants

Sometimes the applicant can be asked for additional documents, for example related to his/her children. Usually it takes six to twelve month to review the case.

If the applicant does not have documents that can prove French origin of his/her ancestors an archival research or employment of some other legal methods may be required. French nationality of ancestors may be proved on the basis of various documents.

Obtaining French citizenship by descent may be as easy as preparing and submitting documents (if French origin can be easily proved) or it may constitute a challenging task (if the applicant lacks such documents.)

We have extensive experience in assistance with obtaining French nationality by descent, especially with establishing facts and obtaining documents which could prove French origin of the ancestors.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact us anytime.

A lot of useful information about France may be found on the official website of the European Union.