French Dual Citizenship

French citizenship is historically based upon the principles of jus soli ("right of soil"). However, children born to foreign parents in France do not become citizens until they reach adulthood (or earlier upon request - see below).

France is a member of the European Union and thus, French citizens may travel and reside freely in any country that is a part of the EU.

France has permitted dual citizenship since 1973.

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French Dual Citizenship

How can you acquire French citizenship?

Citizenship By City-of-birth

CITIZENSHIP BY BIRTH

Those that are born in France to at least one French parent automatically acquire French citizenship at birth.

Those born in France to foreign parents may acquire French citizenship at birth, if stateless. Otherwise, they may acquire citizenship at the following ages:

  • at 18, if resident in France with at least 5 years' residence since age 11;
  • at 16 upon request by the child and if resident in France;
  • at 13 upon request by the child's parents and if resident in France;
  • if born in France of parents born before independence in a colony/territory in the past under French sovereignty;
  • at birth, if born in France before January 1, 1994;
  • at age 18, if born in France on or after January 1, 1994.
 
Citizenship By Descent

CITIZENSHIP BY DESCENT

With respect to citizenship by descent, a person is French if she is born to at least one parent who is French. When citizenship is claimed through a French parent, the link to that particular parent must be established while the person is still a minor.

 
Citizenship By Naturalization

CITIZENSHIP BY NATURALIZATION

Those that have lived in France with the primary source of income in France for 5 years can apply for naturalization. A residence permit is required for those who are not European Union, European Economic Area or Swiss nationals.

The 5 year residence period may be waived for:

  • citizens of countries where French is one of the official languages (if French is their mother tongue or if they have spent at least five years in a school/in education under the medium of French);
  • those who used to be French, are no longer French and desire to have their French nationality restored;
  • refugees;
  • those who have served in the French military.

For those who have completed 2 years of higher education in France, only 2 years of residence is required.

During an interview, applicants must demonstrate language skills and an understanding of rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

After submitting an application, it takes 18 months before the results are received.

 
Citizenship By Marriage

CITIZENSHIP BY MARRIAGE

France also allows spouses of French people to apply for French nationality for those that have been married for 5 years or 4 years of marriage if the French spouse is registered for at least 4 years at the Consulate General of France in New York. The spouse must have knowledge of the French language, both spoken and written. The couple is required to appear in person together to sign documentation.

 
Citizenship By Adoption

CITIZENSHIP BY ADOPTION

For those that have gone through a plenary adoption (which terminates the relationship between birth parent and child) as a minor to French parents, citizenship is conferred on the adoptee. Citizenship is not available for those that have gone through a simple adoption, where some legal bonds between the adoptee and the birth family exist.

Adoption of a child older than the age of majority has no effect on the child's nationality.