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In what cases is a child French?

Verified 03 mars 2021 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

The French nationality of a child, whether born in France or not, depends mainly on the nationality of his parents.

A child is French by birth, i.e. filiation, if at least one of his parents is French.

It does not matter whether the child was born in France or at the foreigner.

And it does not matter whether the parents are married or not as long as the parentage of that child is legally established in respect of the French parent.

The nationality of a parent shall be recognised on the day of the birth of the child and during his or her minority.

If the parent loses French nationality while his or her child is an adult, this does not affect the child's nationality.

If the parent becomes French while the child is of age, this does not affect the child's nationality.

The French nationality of the child remains acquired even if his affiliation is disputed after his majority.

The minor child becomes French when one of his parents becomes French if 2 are completed:

  • The child usually resides with that parent (or alternatively in the case of divorce or separation).
  • The name of the child is indicated in the naturalisation or parent declaration.

It is possible to request naturalisation of a minor child remained foreigner while one of his parents became French. However, the child must have been living in France with this parent since at least 5 years at the date of the request.

If the parent becomes French while the child is of age, this does not affect the child's nationality.

Only plenary adoption assigns French nationality at birth, as it assigns a new filiation which replaces its original affiliation.

Adoption by the foreigner affects the nationality of the adopted child only if it corresponds to a full adoption in France.

  FYI : the Kafala (legal collection of a child in a Muslim country) is not an adoption within the meaning of French law.

A child born in France to foreigners parents is French by birth only in one of the following 3 situations:

  • At least one of her parents was born in France (regardless of nationality)
  • At least one of her parents was born in Algeria before July 3, 1962
  • It born stateless in France

  Please note : if the child born in France is in another situation, he or she may become French from 13 years, under conditions.