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Applying for French citizenship through descent

Last updated: September 2023

The criteria

You may be entitled to French nationality if:

  • You were born abroad and one or both of your parents is/was French at the time of your birth

  • You were born in France and at least one of your parents is/was French at the time of your birth

  • You were born in France of unknown or stateless parents

  • You have been naturalised

The application for French citizenship through descent

To apply for french citizenship through descent, you'll need to fill in the application form CERFA 16237 (talk to me about getting a copy of a CERFA form in English which details most possible scenarios). You'll also need to send evidence of your identity, residence and entitlement to French citizenship. Please note all documents must be originals, and all paperwork issued in English much be attached to a French translation carried out by a certified French translator. The list of documents to send with your application for a certificate of french nationality (CNF) currently include:

  • The applicant's birth certificate

  • A piece of ID (passport, French ID card)

  • A recent, color ID photo

  • A recent (less than 3 months) proof of address (bill, tax return, etc...). Lodgers may provide a letter from their landlord along with their proof of ID and proof of residence

For a deceased person (upon request from a notary's office in charge of succession procedures only), you'll also need to include:

  • Their death certificate

  • Copy of the letter from the organisation requesting the CNF

For minors or vulnerable adult under a protection decision, or in the case of applications on behalf of a deceased person, the adult applicant applying on their behalf will also need to provide:

  • A piece of ID (passport, french ID card)

  • A recent, color ID photo

  • A proof of address

  • A proof of parental authority (marriage certificate, full birth certificate, court's decision) or proof of relation with the deceased person

Finally, you'll need to prove how you are entitled to french citizenship, through one or several of the following documents:

  • French parent's birth certificate and/or marriage certificate if applicable. This is required for all parents/grand-parents/etc. up to the French relative which you feel supports your application for French nationality.

  • if applicable, court decision or decree granting that relative french citizenship

The applications for CNF are handled by the Tribunal de Paris, 29-45 avenue de la Porte de Clichy, 75869 Paris Cedex 17, France. They may contact you by email to request further documents to support your application.

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