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Certificate of French nationality (CNF)

Verified 01 September 2022 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

What is the use of a French certificate of nationality? How do I apply? How long is it to get it? Is an appeal possible in case of refusal? We tell you what you need to know about the certificate of French nationality.

Step-by-step approach

The certificate of French nationality (CNF) is a document proving your French nationality.

Example :

You may need a CNF for a 1mother application for an identity or passport card, to enter a competition, to apply for a public service job.

The NFC shall indicate the applicable, facts (for example, birth, residence) or legal acts (e.g. marriage, naturalisation) which determine your French nationality.

FYI  

if you never had French nationality and you want to get it, you have to make a request acquisition of French nationality by declaration or naturalisation.

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You are 18 or older

You have to do it yourself the application for a French nationality certificate.

You are 16 or 17

You can do it yourself the application for a French nationality certificate.

However, legal representatives can also apply for you (one of your parents can do the procedure in case of a joint exercise of parental authority).

You're under 16

Your legal representatives shall request of French nationality for (one of your parents can do the gait in case of a joint exercise of parental authority).

You're guardianship

Your guardian may apply of French nationality for you.

You're under curatorship

You have to ask yourself a certificate of French nationality.

The free.

You complete, date and sign the cerfa form no. 16237 application for a French certificate.

Read carefully notice no 52373 before you apply.

Application for a French nationality certificate

Original of each document

All documents must be produced original, including translations.

Copies are not accepted.

However, readable copy of accepted for following documents :

  • Official identity document
  • Document issued in a single copy not kept by the issuing authority. For example, the family booklet.

You must present the original of the document to the instructing department of your CNF application (depending on your situation, the court or the diplomatic or consular authority)

Civil status

One civil registration must be provided in full copy and original in country of origin language.

Decision of a judicial or administrative authority

A decision or act of a judicial or administrative authority must be provided as a shipment and accompanied, if necessary, by a certificate of non-appeal.

Declaration of French nationality

You must provide:

  • the registered copy of the declaration, kept by its holder,
  • or the French birth certificate mentioning the declaration,
  • or an attestation from the authority which registered the declaration.

French naturalisation decree

You must provide:

  • amplifying of the decree
  • or the French birth certificate mentioning the decree,
  • or a certificate from the minister responsible for naturalisations.

Translation

You must attach translation of each document written in a foreign language.

You must provide original translation.

The translation into French of documents in a foreign language must be done by a translators on the list of experts approved by the courts of appeal.

However, translation is not required for a multilingual birth certificate one of the languages is French.

Also, to avoid having to translate some documents issued by European Union, multilingual form may be attached.

View e-justice site for more information.

Legalisation or apostille

Certain documents made abroad must be legalised or apostilled to be accepted in France.

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country concerned.

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You are requesting a CNF for yourself

  • Your birth certificate
  • Official identity document
  • Recent identity photography and colour
  • Proof of domicile.
    Example: last tax or non-tax notice, electricity or gas bill, fixed telephone or internet access bill of less than 3 months, rent receipt of less than 3 months
    In case of accommodation: certificate of lodging dated and signed, official document of identity of the host, proof of domicile of the host, mail to your attention of a private or public body sent to the address of the host

You are requesting a CNF for a minor child

Documents concerning minors
  • Birth certificate
  • Official identity document if he has one
  • Recent identity photography and colour
  • Proof of domicile if the minor does not reside with you
Documents
  • Official identity document
  • Recent identity photography and colour
  • If necessary, all documents justifying the exercise of parental authority. For example, marriage, recognition, decision on parental authority
  • Proof of domicile.
    Example: last tax or non-tax notice, electricity or gas bill, fixed telephone or internet access bill of less than 3 months, rent receipt of less than 3 months
    In case of accommodation: certificate of lodging dated and signed, official document of identity of the host, proof of domicile of the host, mail to your attention of a private or public body sent to the address of the host

You are requesting a CNF for a protected adult

Documents concerning protected adult
  • Birth certificate
  • Official identity document
  • Recent identity photography and colour
  • Proof of domicile
Documents
  • Official identity document
  • Recent identity photography and colour
  • Depending on the case, protection order or future protection mandate
  • Proof of domicile.
    Example: last tax or non-tax notice, electricity or gas bill, fixed telephone or internet access bill of less than 3 months, rent receipt of less than 3 months
    In case of accommodation: certificate of lodging dated and signed, official document of identity of the host, proof of domicile of the host, mail to your attention of a private or public body sent to the address of the host

You are requesting a LWOP for a deceased person

Documents concerning the deceased
  • Birth certificate of the deceased
  • Death certificate
Documents
  • Letter from the organisation or service that submitted the request
  • Official identity document
  • Recent identity photography and colour
  • All documents proving that you are entitled to the deceased
  • Proof of domicile
    Example: last tax or non-tax notice, electricity or gas bill, fixed telephone or internet access bill of less than 3 months, rent receipt of less than 3 months
    In case of accommodation: certificate of lodging dated and signed, official document of identity of the host, proof of domicile of the host, mail to your attention of a private or public body sent to the address of the host

If you have court ruling telling you french, you attach decision to cerfa form no. 16237 application for a French certificate.

If you don't have a court order saying you're French, you have to provide others documents depending on your situation:

  • Either you are French since birth
  • Either you have acquired French nationality

Documents to provide if you have been French since birth

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You were born in France and at least one of your parents was born in France

You must provide the birth certificate of the parent(s) born in France

Depending on the situation, you must provide one or more documents establishing your affiliation with the French parent(s).

For example: act of marriage of the parents, act of recognition by the parents born in France.

You were born in French by filiation

It is recommended to fill in family tree attached cerfa form no. 16237 to help you understand your family situation.

You can also establish a family tree on the same model.

Documents to be provided in all cases

You must provide the birth certificate of the French parent(s).

Depending on the situation, you must provide one or more documents establishing your affiliation with the French parent(s).

For example: act of marriage of the parents, act of recognition by the parents born in France.

If your parent has benefited from a court decision saying French

You must provide this court order.

If your parent was born in French by double ground

You must provide the birth certificate of his or her parents born in France.

Depending on the situation, you must provide one or more documents establishing the parent's affiliation with his or her own parents born in France.

For example: act of marriage of your parents, act of recognition.

If your parent was born in French by filiation
For the connection string

You must provide birth certificates ascending, up to 1to French ascendant included.

Depending on the situation, you must provide in addition a document or documents establishing the parent's affiliation with his or her own parents born in France of each member of the channel with respect to his or her own direct ascendant.

For example: act of marriage, act of recognition.

For the French 1st ascendant
If this ascendant has benefited from a decision of the court saying French

You must provide this court order.

If this ascendant is born French by double ground

Unless he was born before 1851 (in this case his birth certificate is enough), you must provide the birth certificate of his or her parents born in France.

Depending on the situation, you must also provide the deed(s) establishing the ascendant's parentage with respect to his or her own parents born in France.

For example: act of marriage, act of recognition.

If the ascendant has acquired French nationality

You must provide:

  • Either decree or declaration demonstrating that the ascendant voluntarily acquired French nationality, including through reintegration
  • Either all documents demonstrating that the ascendant has acquired French nationality by right. For example: documents establishing a majority acquisition by birth and residence in France.
If this ascendant retained French nationality at independence

You must provide all documents demonstrating that parent was French nationality before independence of the State concerned.

You must also provide all documents demonstrating, in accordance with the law or treaty governing the consequences on nationality of the independence of the State concerned, that the ascendant a:

  • be retained by right of French nationality,
  • or chose to retain French nationality,
  • have the effect of a declaration allowing the French nationality to be retained.

If necessary, to demonstrate French state possession, you must provide all documents for you and your parent.

French state possession means that a person behaves as French and is considered French by public authorities.

For example (valid or expired documents): national identity card, passport, voter card, consular card, registration in the foreigner's French register.

You can also provide military documents or a certificate of French nationality.

If your parent acquired French citizenship before you were born (or before the request for full adoption)

Depending on the situation, you must provide:

  • the decree or declaration demonstrating that your parent acquired voluntarily the French nationalityincluding reintegration
  • all documents demonstrating that your parent acquired of right the French nationality. For example, documents establishing a majority acquisition by birth and residence in France.
If your parent has retained French nationality on independence prior to birth

You must provide all documents demonstrating that your parent was French nationality before independence of the State concerned.

You must also provide all documents demonstrating, in accordance with the law or treaty governing the consequences on nationality of the independence of the State concerned, that your parent has :

  • be retained by right of French nationality,
  • or chose to retain French nationality,
  • have the effect of a declaration allowing the French nationality to be retained.

You were born in France

If you were born in France to stateless parents

You must provide the following documents:

  • Birth certificate your parents
  • All Documents establishing that your parents are stateless (decision of theOfpra: titleContent)
  • Depending on the situation, acts establishing your parenting. For example, your parents' marriage certificate, your parent(s)' recognition certificate.
If you were born in France to parents of a foreign nationality who cannot be transferred to you in any way
  • Birth certificate your parents
  • All Documents establishing that your parents are foreign nationality which cannot be transmitted to you. For example, a custom certificate issued by the consulate or foreign law(s) of nationality.
  • Depending on the situation, acts establishing your parenting. For example, your parents' marriage certificate, your parent(s)' recognition certificate.
If you were born in France to unknown parents

You do not need to produce documents other than those to be provided for any certificate request.

You were born in France before independence and you retained French nationality at the time of independence of the State concerned

It is recommended to fill in family tree attached cerfa form no. 16237 to help you understand your family situation.

You can also establish a family tree on the same model.

You must provide all documents demonstrating that you were born french before independence of the State concerned.

You must also provide all documents demonstrating, in accordance with the law or treaty governing the consequences on nationality of the independence of the State concerned, that you :

  • be retained by right of French nationality,
  • or chose to retain French nationality,
  • have the effect of a declaration allowing the French nationality to be retained.

Documents to be provided if you have acquired French nationality

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You have acquired French nationality by law

You were born in France to foreigners parents and you became a French citizen by birth and residence in France

You must provide the following documents:

  • Birth certificate parents
  • All Documents concerning foreign nationality on the day you were born
  • All Documents establishing that you have usually resided in France during the required period and that you reside there at the time you became an adult. For example: certificates of education, report cards, proof of internship, apprenticeship or work contract.

If you were born in Mayotte and become of age from 1to March 2019, you must also provide the following documents:

  • Either all documents demonstrating that at least one of your parents lived in France on a regular basis with a residence permit, and uninterrupted since more than 3 months, at the time of your birth
  • Either all documents demonstrating at least one of your parents has been a regular resident of Franceduring continuous or discontinuous period 5 years required for your usual residence in France since the age of 11
Your parent acquired French nationality when you were a minor and unmarried and you became French through this acquisition (collective effect)
Your parent became French (including by reintegration) from July 25, 1993

You must provide the following documents:

  • Birth certificate of the parent who has acquired French nationality
  • Declaration of nationality or decree of your parent reference to your name under the collective agreement
Your parent became French (including by reintegration) before July 25, 1993

You must provide the following documents:

  • Birth certificate of the parent who has acquired French nationality
  • Declaration of nationality or decree of your parent
  • Depending on the situation, the act(s) establishing your affiliation with this parent. For example: act of marriage, act of recognition.
You married a Frenchman before January 12, 1973

You must provide the following documents:

  • Birth certificate your French husband
  • Your marriage act with this French husband
  • All Documents establishing French nationality of your spouse on the day of your marriage

You acquired French nationality voluntarily

Depending on the situation, you must provide:

  • The declaration of nationality to your name (acquisition or reintegration)
  • Your manifestation of will (declaration of acquisition by birth and residence in France subscribed between 1 January 1994 and 31 August 1998)
  • Your decree (acquisition, naturalisation or reintegration)

You acquired French nationality before independence and you retained it at independence of the State concerned

It is recommended to fill in family tree attached cerfa form no. 16237 to help you understand your family situation.

You can also establish a family tree on the same model.

You must provide all documents demonstrating that you have acquired French nationality before independence of the State concerned.

You must also provide all documents demonstrating, in accordance with the law or treaty governing the consequences on nationality of the independence of the State concerned, qyou have :

  • be retained by right of French nationality,
  • or chose to retain French nationality,
  • have the effect of a declaration allowing the French nationality to be retained.

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You live in France

You email or file your application (completed, dated, signed and supporting documents) to court or close to your home.

Who shall I contact

You live abroad

You were born in France

You email or file your application (completed, dated, signed and supporting documents) court or court near your place of birth.

Who shall I contact
You were born abroad

You email or file your application (completed, dated, signed and supporting documents) Paris Court (service of French nationality).

Who shall I contact

Depending on your situation, additional documents may be requested.

You receive a email which indicates which documents to provide and in which deadline.

One reclaimed sent email when you provided all documents requested.

The receipt attest the receiving your complete folder application for a French certificate.

The transplant of the court 6 months from receipt issued to take decision

6 months can be extended up to 2 times for the same duration.

If you do not receive no reply at the end of these deadlines, this means that your request is denied.

The refusal to issue certificate of French nationality must be notified email at the address indicated in your request.

Example :

The receipt of your application, dated October 2, 2022, indicates that the decision will be made within 6 months, i.e. no later than April 2, 2023.

This 6-month period is extended 2 times, until April 2, 2024.

If you did not receive a response on April 3, 2024, your request is denied.

Please note

a decision of refusal after 1to September 2022 at application for a certificate of french nationality made before that date is notified either by hand against signature or by registered letter with AR: titleContent.

The transplant court return your certificate of French nationality against signature.

FYI  

in case of error on your certificate of french nationality, contact the registry that issued the certificate.

If your certificate request is denied, you can appeal contentious to court (Paris court if you live abroad).

The lawyer is mandatory. It's the lawyer shall take care of the appeal.

The appeal must be made within 6 months from notification the refusal or termination of the time-limits after which the absence of a decision is equivalent to the rejection of the application.

The appeal must be accompanied by your application for a certificate of French nationality (form cerfa n°16237 and supporting documents) and any decision to refuse.

Who shall I contact

Warning  

for certificate request dated before 1to September 2022, starting point of appeal period depends on date of refusal :

  • If the refusal is dated before 1to September 2022, appeal period starts from 1to September 2022.
  • If the refusal is dated after 1to September 2022, the appeal period starts from notification of the refusal (handing over or by registered letter with AR: titleContent).

In case of loss of your French nationality certificate, you must reapply.

Application for a French nationality certificate

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