How can teenagers prove residency for French nationality application?

There are various routes to obtaining French nationality for children born in France to foreign parents. All children born in France automatically have the right to citizenship from the age of 18 but it is possible to obtain it before then

5 October 2021

It is possible for 13 - 16 year olds born in France to foreign parents to gain French citizenship Pic: shatnawi / Shutterstock

Reader question: What documents can you use to prove your child lives in France and has done so for at least five years when applying for French nationality for a 13 to 16-year-old born in France?

There are several different ways a child born in France to foreign parents can obtain French nationality. 

For children aged 13 to 16, parents or guardians must make the demand on their behalf.

For the child to qualify they have to have been born in France and living principally in France since the age of at least eight. 

The French government website does not give specific details of which documents are required to prove the residency status and history of the child.

However, the association ADATE, which specialises in rights for foreigners in France, says that school certificates (certificats de scolarité), work experience certificates, work certificates and birth certificates can all be used to support a child’s claim to French nationality. 

The residency permits (cartes de séjour) of the parents or guardians can also serve as proof of the child’s current residence. 

You can ask for further information on which documents are required from the court that you are applying to. 

You can find your local court via this government search tool. 

Steps to obtaining French nationality for 13 to 16 year olds

For children aged 13 to 16, the parents or guardians of the child can claim French nationality on their behalf if the child meets the following three conditions. 

  • They were born in France

  • They have resided principally in France since the age of eight (meaning the place they have lived for the majority of the year has been France)

  • The child is living in France on the day they apply for French nationality 

The consent of the child is also required, unless he or she is unable to express their will due to an impairment of mental or physical faculties.

This declaration should be written on paper and should be sent by post or presented in person to the local court.

You will need the following documents:

  • Declaration / demand of nationality (in duplicate), dated and signed by the legal representative of the child (i.e. the parents, guardians or legal representative). 

  • Birth certificate of the minor

  • Identity document of the minor

  • Recent passport photograph

  • Residence permit for foreign parents / guardians or official foreign identity document

  • All documents proving that the minor is resident in France on the date of the declaration

  • All documents proving that the minor has been habitually resident in France for a continuous or discontinuous period of at least five years since the age of eight

  • All documents proving that the minor's legal representative(s) exercise(s) parental authority over him/her. 

The documents should be originals, unless indicated otherwise.

The above list is not exhaustive and other documents could be required depending on the arrangement of the family or the medical needs of the child. 

For more information on the process, see the French government’s website on the subject here. 

Different routes to obtaining nationality

It should be noted that a child born in France to foreign parents can automatically become French once they become an adult (18 years old), if they meet two conditions:

  • They were born in France. Proof of birth in France is usually established by a civil status document, such as a birth certificate.

  • They have resided in France during a continuous or discontinuous period of at least five years since the age of 11. Proof of at least five years' habitual residence since the age of 11 can be provided by school certificates (certificats de scolarité), work experience certificates, work certificates, etc.

It is also possible for a child born in France to foreign parents to claim French nationality by themselves from the age of 16. 

In this case, at the time of the application, they must live in France and have done so for a continuous or discontinuous period of at least five years, since the age of 11.

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