Becoming French due to French children

What are the rules on French nationality if your children are French?   My wife and I have been in France 40 years and our children have been French for more than 25 years. Is there a simple procedure with less paperwork?  N.G.

27 March 2019
By Oliver Rowland

In this case, yes, you can obtain French nationality via a simplified procedure – however, you still need to provide certain paperwork.

The requirement is to be the parent (or grandparent) of a French person, whether they were born French or acquired the nationality, and to have lived in France for more than 25 years.

This is one of the situations in which a person can obtain French nationality by decree, meaning it is an automatic right rather than at the discretion of the prefecture.

You do not need to pass a language test and the form that you fill in is much shorter than the ordinary form for naturalisation.

There is no need to supply details of all your previous jobs and homes.

It is possible to be excluded based on having a record of certain serious criminal convictions. As for paperwork, most of the same supporting documents are required.

The most difficult aspect is likely to be supplying proof of your 25 years of residency, seeing that most European citizens have not held cartes de séjour in recent years before the Brexit vote made it desirable. Holding such a card has not been an obligation since the early 2000s.

If necessary, you can provide a mixture of documents to cover the period.

The naturalisation service at your prefecture can tell you more about what may be acceptable.

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