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CIVIL CODE, AS OF 1ST JULY 2013

/unofficial translation/ 

TITLE I BIS. FRENCH NATIONALITY

Chapter i. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 17

French nationality is granted, acquired, or lost according to the provisions laid down in this Title,

subject to the application of any treaties and other international commitments of France.

Article 17-1

New statutes concerning the granting nationality by birth shall apply to persons who are minors when the

statutes take effect, without prejudice to the vested rights of third parties and without the validity of

acts previously entered into being allowed to be challenged on the ground of nationality.

The provisions of the preceding paragraph shall apply for purposes of interpretation to the statutes on

nationality by birth that have come into force after the promulgation of Title I of this Code.

Article 17-2

The acquisition and loss of the French nationality are governed by the statute in force at the time of the

act or fact to which that statute gives its effects.

The provisions of the preceding paragraph shall govern for purposes of interpretation, the application in

time of the statutes on nationality that have been in force before 19 October 1945.

Article 17-3

The applications concerning the acquisition, loss of the French nationality, or to be reinstated into that

nationality, as well as declarations of nationality, may, under the conditions provided for by statute , be

made without authorization from the age of sixteen.

A minor under sixteen must be represented by the person or persons who exercise parental authority over

him.

Likewise, must also be represented any minor whose mental or physical impairments prevent him from

expressing his intent. The impediment is established by the judge of tutorships sua sponte, on application of

a member of the family of the minor, or on application of the State Prosecutor’s office, upon presentation of

a certificate issued by a physician specialist selected from a list drawn up by the State Prosecutor’s

office.

When the minor mentioned in the preceding paragraph is placed under tutorship, he is represented by the

tutor authorized to this end by the family council.

Article 17-4

In this Title, the phrase "in France" is to be understood as meaning the metropolitan territory, the

overseas departments and territories, as well as New Caledonia and the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.

Article 17-5

In this Title, majority and minority shall be understood according to the meaning they have in French law.

Article 17-6

In order, at any time, to determine the French territory, account shall be taken of modifications resulting

from enactments of the French Government under the Constitution and legislation, as well as under

international treaties previously concluded.

Article 17-7

In the absence of conventional stipulations, the effects on French nationality of the annexations and

cessions of territories are governed by the following provisions.

Article 17-8

The nationals of the ceding State domiciled in the annexed territories on the day of the transfer of

sovereignty acquire the French nationality, unless they actually establish their domiciles outside those 

territories. Under the same reservation, French nationals domiciled in the ceded territories on the day of

the transfer of sovereignty lose that nationality.

Article 17-9

The effects upon the French nationality of the accession to independence of former overseas departments or

territories of the Republic are determined in Chapter VII of this Title.

Article 17-10

The provisions of Article 17-8 apply for purposes of interpretation to changes of nationality following the

annexations and cessions of territories resulting from treaties concluded before 19 October 1945.

Nevertheless, aliens who had their domiciles in territories retroceded by France under the Treaty of Paris

of 30 May 1814 and who transferred their domiciles to France following this Treaty, could not acquire the

French nationality on this ground unless they complied with the provisions of the Law of 14 October 1814.

French persons who were born outside the retroceded territories and have kept their domiciles on those

territories have not lost their French nationality under the terms of the aforementioned Treaty.

Article 17-11

Without infringing on the interpretation given to former agreements, a change of nationality may not, in

any case, follow from an international convention, unless the convention so provides expressly.

Article 17-12

When, under the terms of an international convention, a change of nationality is subject to the performance

of an act of choice, that act shall be determined as to its form by the law of the contracting state in which

it is performed.

CHAPTER II. FRENCH NATIONALITY BY ORIGIN

Section 1. Being French by filiation

Article 18

A French child is one who has at least one French parent.

Article 18-1

However, if only one parent is French, the child not born in France has the option to repudiate his French

status within six months preceding his becoming of age and within twelve months thereafter.

This option is lost if the parent who is alien or stateless, acquires the french nationality during the

minority of the child.

Section 2. Being French by birth in France

Article 19

A child born in France of unknown parents is French.

He shall, however, be deemed never to have been French if, during his minority, his parentage is

established to an alien and if, under the national law of his parent, he has the nationality of the latter.

Article 19-1

A child is French if born in France:

1° Of stateless parents;

2° Of alien parents and to whom the transmission of the nationality of either parent is by no means allowed

by foreign Nationality Acts. He shall, however, be deemed never to have been French if, during his minority,

the foreign nationality acquired or possessed by one of his parents happens to pass to him.

Article 19-2

A child whose record of birth was drawn up in accordance with Article 58 of this Code is presumed to have

been born in France.

Article 19-3

A child born in France is French if one at least of his parents was himself or herself born there.

Article 19-4

If, however, only one parent was born in France, a child who is French under the terms of Article 19-3 has

the option to repudiate this status within six months preceding his becoming of age and twelve months

thereafter.

This option is lost where one of the parents acquires french nationality during the minority of the child.

Section 3. Common provisions

Article 20

A child who is French under the provisions of this Chapter shall be deemed to have been French from birth,

even when the existence of the statutory requirements for the granting of the French nationality was

fulfilled only at a later date.

The nationality of a child who benefitted from a plenary adoption is determined according to the

distinctions set out in Articles 18 and 18-1, 19-1, 19-3 and 19-4 above.

However, the establishment of the status of being French later than the birth may not affect the validity

of acts previously concluded by the party concerned nor the rights previously acquired by third parties on

the ground of the apparent nationality of the child.

Article 20-1

The filiation of a child has effect on his nationality only when it is established during his minority.

Article 20-2

A French person who has the option to repudiate the French nationality in the instances listed under this

Title may exercise that option by way of a declaration made in accordance with Articles 26 and following.

He may renounce that option beginning at age sixteen under the same conditions.

Article 20-3

In the instances referred to in the preceding Article, no one may repudiate the French nationality unless

he proves that he has by filiation the nationality of a foreign country. 

Article 20-4

A French person who enlists in the French forces loses the option to repudiate.

Article 20-5

The provisions of Articles 19-3 and 19-4 shall not apply to the children born in France of diplomatic

agents or of career consuls of foreign nationalities.

But such children do have the option to acquire voluntarily the status of a French person as provided for

in Article 21-11 below.

CHAPTER III. THE ACQUISITION OF FRENCH NATIONALITY

Section 1. Means of acquisition of French nationality

Sub-article 1. Acquisition of French nationality by filiation

Article 21

A simple adoption does not have any effect as a matter of law on the nationality of an adopted child.

Sub-article 2. Acquisition of French nationality by marriage

Article 21-1

Marriage has no effect as a matter of law on nationality

Article 21-2

The alien or stateless person who enters into a marriage with a spouse of French nationality may, after a

period of four years from the marriage, acquire the French nationality by means of a declaration provided

that, at the time of the declaration, their life in common both affective and material has not come to an end

since the marriage and that the French spouse has kept his nationality.

The duration of the life in common shall be raised to five years if the alien, at the time of the

declaration, either does not prove that he has resided in France without interruption for at least three

years from the marriage, or is not able to show proof that his French spouse was registered on the list of

French persons established outside France for the duration of their life in common abroad. Moreover, the

marriage celebrated outside France must have been transcribed beforehand on the registers of French civil

status.

The foreign spouse must also prove a sufficient knowledge, according to his condition, of the French

language, whose level and manner of evaluation are fixed by decree en Conseil d'État.

Article 21-3

Subject to the provisions of Articles 21-4 and 26-3, the party concerned acquires the French nationality at

the date when the declaration is made.

Article 21-4

By a decree en Conseil d’État, the Government may, on grounds of indignity or lack of assimilation other

than linguistic, oppose the acquisition of the French nationality by the foreign spouse within a period of

two years after the date of the acknowledgement of receipt provided for in Article 26, paragraph 2, or, if

the registration was refused, after the day when the judgment which admits the lawfulness of the declaration

has become final.

The polygamous status of the foreign spouse or a sentence pronounced against him on account of the offense

defined in Article 222-9 of the Penal Code, when that offense was committed on a minor of fifteen years of

age, are proof of a lack of assimilation.

If there is an opposition by the Government, the party concerned shall be deemed to have never acquired the

French nationality.

However, the validity of acts concluded between the time of the declaration and the decree of opposition

cannot be contested on the ground that the maker of the declaration was unable to acquire the French

nationality.

Article 21-5

The marriage declared null by a judgment of a French court or by a foreign court whose authority is

recognized in France, does not render null the declaration made under Article 21-2 with regard to the spouse

who married in good faith.

Article 21-6

The annulment of a marriage has no effect on the nationality of the children born thereof.

Sub-article 3. Acquisition of French nationality by reason of birth and residence in France

Article 21-7

Every child born in France of foreign parents acquires the French nationality on his coming of age when, at

that time, he resides in France and has had his habitual residence in France for a continuous or

discontinuous period of at least five years, from the age of eleven.

The tribunaux d'instance, local authorities, public bodies and services and especially educational

establishments are obliged to provide information to the public, and in particular those persons to whom

paragraph 1 applies, regarding the provisions in force in matters of nationality. The terms regarding this

information shall be determined by a decree en Conseil d'État.

Article 21-8

The party concerned has the option to declare, as provided in Articles 26 and following and subject to his

proving that he has the nationality of a foreign State, that he rejects his French nationality within six

months before or twelve months after reaching the age of majority.

In this last case, he shall be deemed never to have been French.

Article 21-9

Any person who fulfils the requirements laid down in Article 21-7 in order to acquire the status of being

French loses the option to reject it if he enlists in the French forces.

Any minor born in France of foreign parents who voluntarily enlists acquires the French nationality as of

the date of his enlistment. 

Article 21-10

The provisions of Articles 21-7 to 21-9 do not apply to the children born in France of diplomatic agents

and of career consuls of foreign nationality. Such children, however, have the option to acquire the French

nationality voluntarily as provided for in Article 21-11 below.

Article 21-11

The minor child born in France of foreign parents may from the age of sixteen claim the French nationality

by declaration, as provided under Articles 26 and following if, at the time of his declaration, he resides in

France and has had his habitual residence in France for a continuous or discontinuous period of at least five

years, from the age of eleven.

Under the same terms, the French nationality may be claimed, on behalf of the minor child born in France of

foreign parents, from the age of thirteen, the requirement of habitual residence in France having to be met

from the age of eight years. The consent of the minor is required, except if he is unable to express his

intent on an account of an impairment of his mental or physical faculties as established under the provision

of the third paragraph of article 17-3.

Sub-article 4. Acquisition of the French nationality by declaration of nationality

Article 21-12

A child who was the subject of a simple adoption by a person of French nationality may, up to his majority,

declare, under the conditions laid down in Article 26 and following, that he claims the status of being

French, if he resides in France at the time of his declaration.

Nevertheless, the obligation of residence is dispensed when the child was adopted by a person of French

nationality who does not have his usual residence in France.

Likewise, a child may claim French nationality:

1° Who, for at least five years, has been given a home and brought up in France by a person of French

nationality or who, for at least three years, has been entrusted to the service of social assistance to

children;

2° Who has been accepted in France and brought up in conditions that allowed him to receive, during five

years at least, a French education from either a public institution, or by a private institution, offering

the characteristics determined by a decree en Conseil d'État.

Article 21-13

Persons who have enjoyed in a constant manner the possession of the status of French nationality for ten

years before making a signed declaration, may also claim the French nationality by such a signed declaration

under Articles 26 and following.

When the validity of acts passed before the date of the declaration depended on the possession of the

French nationality, that validity may not be challenged on the sole ground that the declarant lacked that

nationality.

Article 21-14

Persons who have lost the French nationality under Article 23-6 or against whom was raised the exception of

inadmissibility laid down by Article 30-3 may claim the French nationality by declaration signed as provided

for in Articles 26 and following.

They must have kept or acquired open cultural, professional, economic, or family connections with France,

or actually performed military services in a unit of the French army, or fought in French or allied armies in

time of war.

The surviving spouses of the persons who have actually performed military services in a unit of the French

army or fought in French or allied armies in time of war may likewise benefit from the provisions of

paragraph 1 of this Article.

Sub-article 5. Acquisition of the French nationality by decision of a public authority

Article 21-14-1

French nationality may be conferred by decree, on a proposal from the Minister of Defense, to an alien

recruited in French armies who was wounded on duty during or on the occasion of an operational action and who

makes a request for it.

If the party concerned is dead, subject to the conditions outlined in the first paragraph, the same

procedure is open to his minor children who, at the day of the death, fulfilled the requirement of residence

laid down in Article 22-1.

Article 21-15

Besides the circumstances referred to in Article 21-14-1, the acquisition of the French nationality by a

decision of the Government results from a naturalization granted by decree at the request of the alien.

Article 21-16

No one may be naturalized unless he has his residence in France at the time of the signature of the decree

of naturalization.

Article 21-17

Subject to the exceptions laid down in Articles 21-18, 21-19 and 21-20, naturalization may be granted only

to an alien who proves a habitual residence in France during the five years preceding the submission of the

request.

Article 21-18

The probationary period referred to in Article 21-17 shall be reduced to two years:

1° As regards the alien who has successfully completed two years of university education in view of getting

a diploma conferred by a French university or establishment of higher education;

2° As regards the alien who gave or can give significant services to France owing to his competences and

talents;

3° For the alien who manifests an unusual record of integration, judged by his actions or accomplishments

in the civic, scientific, economic, cultural, or athletic realm.

Article 21-19

The following persons may be naturalized without the requirement of a probationary period: 

1° [Repealed];

2° [Repealed];

3° [Repealed]

4° An alien who actually performed military services in a unit of the French army or who, in time of war,

enlisted voluntarily in French or allied armies;

5° [Repealed];

6° An alien who gave exceptional services to France or one whose naturalization is of exceptional interest

for France. In this event, the decree of naturalization may be granted only upon an opinion of the Conseil

d'État, and upon the basis of a properly justified report from the competent Minister;

7° An alien who obtained the status of refugee in accordance with law no 52-893 of 25 July 1952

establishing a French Office for the protection of refugees and stateless persons.

Article 21-20

A person may be naturalized without any requirement as to a probationary period who belongs to the French

cultural and linguistic entity, where he is a national of territories or States whose official language or

one of whose official languages is French, either if French is his mother tongue or if he proves having

attended school for at least five years in an institution teaching in French.

Article 21-21

The French nationality may be conferred by naturalization on a proposal from the Minister of Foreign

Affairs to any French-speaking alien who makes the request thereof and who contributes by his eminent deeds

to the influence of France and to the prosperity of its international economic relations.

Article 21-22

No one may be naturalized who has not reached the age of eighteen years.

Nevertheless, naturalization may be granted to a minor child who remained an alien even though one of his

parents has acquired French nationality if he justifies having resided in France with that parent during the

five years that precede the deposit of his demand.

Article 21-23

No one may be naturalized if he is not of good character or has been sentenced under Article 21-27 of this

Code.

Sentences handed down abroad, however, may be ignored; in that case, the decree that pronounces

naturalization may be enacted only after conforming assent of the Conseil d'État.

Article 21-24

Nobody may be naturalized unless he proves his assimilation into the French community, and notably by a

sufficient knowledge, according to his condition, of the language, history, culture, and society of France,

whose level and whose means of evaluation are fixed by decree en Conseil d'État, and of the rights and duties

conferred by the French nationality, as well as an adherence to the essential principles and values of the

Republic.

Upon issuance of the verification of his assimilation, the person concerned signs the charter of the rights

and duties of the French citizen. This charter, approved by decree en Conseil d'État, restates the essential

principles, values, and symbols of the Republic of France.

Article 21-24-1

The requirement of knowledge of the French language does not apply to political refugees and stateless

persons who have resided in France regularly and habitually for at least fifteen years and who are over

seventy years of age.

Article 21-25

The manner of verification of assimilation and state of health of an alien awaiting his naturalization

shall be prescribed by decree in the Council of State.

Article 21-25-1

The response of the public authority to a request for acquisition of the French nationality by

naturalization must be made at the latest within eighteen months after the date when the acknowledgement of

receipt that establishes the delivery of all the documents needed for the completion of a comprehensive file

is issued to the applicant.

The delay specified in the first paragraph is reduced to twelve months when the alien during a

naturalization hearing shows he has maintained his primary residence in France for at least ten years at the

time of the submission.

That period may be extended only once for three months by a reasoned decision.

Sub-article 6. Provisions common to certain modes of acquiring French nationality

Article 21-26

The following forms of residence are equivalent to residence in France when that is a requirement for the

acquiring of the French nationality:

1° A residence abroad of an alien who exercises a private or public professional activity on behalf of the

French state or of an institution whose activity is of special interest for the French economy or culture;

2° A residence in those countries in customs union with France that are identified by a decree;

3° A presence outside France, in time of peace as in time of war, in a regular unit of the French army or

in fulfillment of the duties laid down in Book II of the Code of National Service;

4° A residence outside France as a volunteer for national service.

The equivalence as to residence that benefits one spouse shall be extended to the other where they actually

live together.

Article 21-27

No one may acquire the French nationality or be reinstated in that nationality if he has been sentenced

either for ordinary or serious offences that constitute a violation of the fundamental interests of the

nation or an act of terrorism or, whatever the offence concerned may be, to a penalty of six months'

imprisonment or more without suspension. 

It shall be likewise for the person who has been subject either to an exclusion order not expressly revoked

or repealed or to a banishment of the French territory not fully enforced.

It shall be likewise for the person whose residence in France is irregular with respect to the legislation

and treaties concerning the residence of aliens in France.

The provisions of this Article shall not apply to a minor child who may acquire the French nationality

under Articles 21-7, 21-11, 21-12 and 22-1, nor to a condemned person who has benefited from a rehabilitation

by operation of law or by a judicial rehabilitation in accordance with Article 133-12 of the Penal Code, or

the entry of whose sentence has been excluded from the certificate no 2 of the police record, in accordance

with Articles 775-1 and 775-2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure

Article 21-27-1

Upon acquiring the French nationality by decision of the public authority or by declaration, the person

concerned indicates to the competent authority either the nationalities he possesses already, the nationality

or nationalities he maintains in addition to French nationality, as well as the nationalities he intends to

renounce.

Sub-article 7. Ceremony of welcome into the French citizenship

Article 21-28

The representative of the State in the department or, in Paris, the prefect of police organizes, within six

months from the date of the acquisition of the French nationality, a ceremony of welcome into French

citizenship for persons residing in the department as provided under Articles 21-2, 21-11, 21-12, 21-14, 21-

14-1, 21-15, 24-1, 24-2, and 32-4 of the present Code, and under Article 2 of Law no 64-1328 of 26 December

1964 authorizing approval of the convention of the Council of Europe on the reduction of the cases of

plurality of nationalities and on military obligations in case of plurality of nationalities, signed at

Strasbourg 6 May 1963.

The deputies and senators elected in the department are invited to the welcome ceremony.

Persons having acquired the French nationality as a matter of law under Article 21-7 are invited to this

ceremony within six months from the date of delivery of the certificate of French nationality specified in

Article 31.

During the welcome ceremony, the charter of the rights and duties of the French citizen specified under

Article 21-24 is delivered to the persons who have acquired the French nationality mentioned in the first and

third paragraphs above.

Article 21-29

The representative of the State in the department or, in Paris, the prefect of police communicates to the

mayor, in his capacity as officer of civil status, the identity and address of the persons residing in the

commune able to benefit from the ceremony of welcome into French citizenship.

When the mayor makes the demand, he may as officer in charge of civil status, authorize the ceremony of

welcome into the French citizenship.

Section 2. Effects of acquisition of the French nationality

Article 22

A person who has acquired the French nationality enjoys all the rights and is bound to all the duties

attached to the status of French, from the day of that acquisition.

Article 22-1

A minor child one of whose parents acquires the French nationality becomes French as of right if he has the

same habitual residence as that parent, or resides alternatively with that parent in the event of separation

or divorce.

The provisions of this Article shall not apply to the child of a person who acquires the French nationality

by a decision of the public authority or by declaration of nationality unless his name is specified in the

decree or the declaration.

Article 22-2

The provisions of the preceding Article do not apply to a married child.

Article 22-3

But a child who is French under Article 22-1 and who was not born in France has the right to repudiate that

status within six months preceding and twelve months following his coming of age.

He must exercise this right by declaration executed as provided for in Articles 26 and following.

He can renounce this right from the age of sixteen in the same conditions.

CHAPTER IV. LOSS, FORFEITURE, AND REINSTATEMENT OF FRENCH NATIONALITY

Section 1. Loss of French nationality

Article 23

Any adult of French nationality habitually residing abroad, who acquires voluntarily a foreign nationality,

loses his French nationality only if he so declares expressly, under the conditions stated in Articles 26 and

following of this Title.

Article 23-1

The declaration made with the intent to lose the French nationality may be executed upon the filing of the

request for acquiring the foreign nationality and, at the latest, within a period of one year after the date

of that acquisition.

Article 23-2

French persons under the age of thirty-five years may not execute the declaration provided for in Articles

23 and 23-1 above unless they have complied with the duties under Book II of the Code of National Service.

Article 23-3

A French person loses his French nationality by exercising the right to repudiate that status in the

circumstances referred to in Articles 18-1, 19-4 and 22-3. 

Article 23-4

A French person loses the French nationality, even if a minor, who, having a foreign nationality, is, on

his request, authorized by the French Government to lose the French nationality.

That authorization is granted by decree.

Article 23-5

In the event of a marriage with an alien, the French spouse may repudiate the French nationality in

accordance with Articles 26 and following, if he has acquired the foreign nationality of his spouse and the

habitual residence of the couple is established abroad.

However, French persons who are under the age of thirty-five may not exercise that right of repudiation

unless they have complied with the duties under Book II of the Code of National Service.

Article 23-6

The loss of the French nationality may be established by judgment when the party concerned, originally

French by filiation, has not the apparent status thereof and never had his habitual residence in France, if

the ancestors from whom he held his French nationality themselves neither have the apparent status of being a

French national nor have resided in France for half a century.

The judgment shall determine the date when the French nationality was lost. It may decide that that

nationality was lost by the ancestors of the party concerned and that the latter never was French.

Article 23-7

A French person who behaves in fact as a national of a foreign country may, if he has the nationality of

that country, be declared to have lost the French nationality by decree after conforming opinion of the

Conseil d'État.

Article 23-8

A French person loses French nationality by taking on employment in a foreign army or public service or in

an international organization of which France is not a member, or more generally providing his assistance to

it, and by failing to resign his employment or to end his assistance, despite the order of the Government.

The party concerned shall be declared, by decree en Conseil d'État, to have lost his French nationality

unless, within the period prescribed by the order period, which may not be lesser than fifteen days or more

than two months, he ends his activity.

When the opinion of the Council of State is adverse, the measure provided for in the preceding paragraph

may be adopted only by a decree in the Council of Ministers.

Article 23-9

Loss of the French nationality takes effect:

1° When Article 23 so provides from the date of acquisition of the foreign nationality;

2° When Articles 23-3 and 23-5 so provide from the date of the declaration;

3° When Articles 23-4, 23-7 and 23-8 so provide from the date of the decree;

4° When Article 23-6 so provides from the date stated in the judgment.

Section 2. Reinstatement of French nationality

Article 24

Reinstatement of the French nationality of persons who prove they had possessed the status of being a

French national shall result from a decree or a declaration in accordance with the distinctions provided for

in the Articles below.

Article 24-1

Reinstatement by decree may be obtained at any age and without any requirement as to a probationary period.

As to other matters, it shall be subject to the requirements and rules of naturalization.

Article 24-2

Persons who have lost their French nationality because of a marriage with an alien or the acquisition of a

foreign nationality by an individual decision may, subject to the provisions of Article 21-27, be reinstated

by a declaration executed in France or abroad under Articles 26 and following.

They must have kept or acquired manifest connections with France, especially of a cultural, professional,

economic, or family nature.

Article 24-3

Reinstatement by decree or declaration is effective with regard to children under the age of eighteen,

under the conditions stated Articles 22-1 and 22-2 of this Title.

Section 3. Forfeiture of the French nationality

Article 25

An individual who acquired the French nationality may be declared by decree adopted after conforming assent

of the Conseil d'État to have forfeited his French nationality, unless forfeiture would have the effect of

making him stateless:

1° When he is sentenced for an act characterized as an ordinary or serious offence that constitutes a

violation of the fundamental interests of the Nation, or for a crime or offense that constitutes an act of

terrorism;

2° When he is sentenced for an act characterized as a crime or serious offence provided for and punished by

Chapter II of Title III of Book IV of the Penal Code;

3° When he is sentenced for having evaded the duties imposed on him by the Code of National Service;

4° When he has committed, for the benefit of a foreign state, acts incompatible with the status of being

French and detrimental to the interests of France.

Article 25-1

Forfeiture is incurred only if the actions of which the person concerned is accused and that are referred

to in Article 25 have occurred before his becoming a French national or within ten years as from the date of

that acquisition.

It can be pronounced only within ten years as from the perpetration of those actions. 

If the actions of which the person concerned is accused are referred to in Article 25, 1°, the periods

referred to in the two preceding paragraphs shall be extended to fifteen years.

CHAPTER V. ACTS CONCERNING THE ACQUISITION OR LOSS OF FRENCH NATIONALITY

Section 1. Declarations of nationality

Article 26

The declaration of nationality executed by reason of marriage with a French spouse is received by the

administrative authority. The other declarations of nationality are be received by the chief clerk of the

tribunal d'instance or by the consul. The forms in which these declarations are received are prescribed by

decree en Conseil d'État.

An acknowledgment of receipt must be issued after the filing of the documents necessary for proving their

admissibility.

Article 26-1

Any declaration of nationality must, on pain of nullity, be registered either by the chief clerk of the

tribunal d'instance for declarations executed in France, or by the Minister of Justice as regards

declarations executed outside France, except the declarations executed because of marriage with a French

spouse, which are registered by the minister responsible for naturalizations.

Article 26-2

The seat and territorial jurisdiction of the tribunals d'instance competent to receive and register the

declarations of French nationality are established by decree.

Article 26-3

The Minister or the chief clerk of the tribunal d’instance shall refuse to register declarations that do

not comply with the statutory requirements.

His reasoned decision shall be notified to the declarant, who may challenge it before the tribunal de

grande instance within six months. The claim may be brought personally by a minor from the age of sixteen.

The decision of refusal to register must be taken within six months at the latest after the date when the

acknowledgment of receipt that establishes the filing of all the documents necessary for proving the

admissibility of the declaration has been issued to the declarant.

The period shall be extended to one year for declarations executed under Article 21-2. If the Government

begins a procedure of opposition under Article 21-4, the period is extended to two years.

Article 26-4

If there is no refusal to register within the statutory period, a copy of the declaration shall be given to

the declarant bearing the specific mention of its registration.

Within two years following the date when it was made, the State Prosecutor’s office may challenge the

registration if the statutory requirements are not met.

The registration may still be opposed by the State prosecutor in case of lies or fraud within two years

after their discovery. Ending the community of life together between spouses within twelve months after

registration of the declaration under Article 21-2 shall constitute a presumption of fraud.

Article 26-5

Subject to the provisions of Article 23-9, paragraph 2, 1°, declarations of nationality, from the moment

that they have been registered, are effective from the date when they are executed.

Section 2. Administrative decisions

Article 27

Any decision declaring inadmissible, or deferring, or refusing a petition for acquisition, for

naturalization, or for reinstatement by decree, as well as an authorization to lose for French nationality,

must set out its reasons.

Article 27-1

The decrees providing for the acquisition, naturalization or reinstatement, or an authorization for the

loss of the French nationality, or the loss or forfeiture of that nationality, shall be adopted and published

in forms prescribed by decree. The decrees have no retroactive effect.

Article 27-2

The decrees providing for acquisition, naturalization or reinstatement may be withdrawn upon conformed

opinion of the Conseil d'État within two years from their publication in the Journal Officiel if the person

making the request does not comply with the statutory requirements; if the decision was obtained by lie or

fraud, the decrees may be withdrawn within two years of the discovery of the fraud.

Article 27-3

The decrees providing for loss on one of the grounds provided for in Articles 23-7 and 23-8 or forfeiture

of the French nationality shall be adopted after the person concerned has been heard or summoned to bring

forward his observations.

Section 3. Mentions in the registry of civil status

Article 28

A mention will be made in the margin of the record of birth, of the administrative acts and declarations

that have as their effects the acquisition or the loss of the French nationality or the reinstatement of that

nationality.

Likewise, mention shall be made of any first issuance of a certificate of the french nationality as well as

of the judicial decisions that concern it.

Article 28-1

The mentions relating to nationality contemplated in the preceding Article shall be made automatically on

copies or abstracts with indication of the filiation of birth certificates or acts drawn up as substitutes

for them.

Those mentions are also made on abstracts without indication of the filiation of birth certificates or

family record books at the request of the parties concerned. However, the mention of the loss, disclaimer, 

forfeiture, opposition to the acquisition of the French nationality, of the withdrawal of the decree of

acquisition, naturalization or reinstatement or of the judicial decision that declared the status of alien,

is automatically made on all the abstracts of the birth certificate and on the family record book when a

person who previously acquired or was judicially adjudged that nationality, or obtained a certificate of

French nationality, has requested that there be a specific mention on those documents.

CHAPTER VI. DISPUTES OVER NATIONALITY

Section 1. Jurisdiction of the courts and procedure before the courts

Article 29

The civil courts of general jurisdiction have exclusive jurisdiction over disputes relating to French or

foreign nationality of natural persons.

Issues of nationality are of a preliminary nature before any other administrative or judicial court, except

criminal courts with a criminal jury.

Article 29-1

The seat and territorial jurisdiction of the tribunals of grande instance empowered to try controversies

over French or foreign nationality of natural persons are established by decree.

Article 29-2

The procedure to be followed in matters of nationality and in particular the communication to the Ministry

of Justice of summons, pleadings, and methods of review, is established by the Code of Civil Procedure.

Article 29-3

Everyone has the right to bring an action for the determination of his having the French nationality or

not.

The State prosecutor has the same right with respect to any person. He shall be a necessary defendant in

all declaratory actions on nationality. He must be joined to the action whenever an issue of nationality is

raised as an interlocutory matter before a court empowered to hear the case.

Article 29-4

The State prosecutor must act when he is requested to do so by a public administration or a third party who

raised the plea of nationality before a court that suspended proceedings under Article 29. The third party

plaintiff shall be joined to the action.

Article 29-5

Judgments and rulings handed down in matters of French nationality by a court of general jurisdiction have

effect even against persons who were not parties or represented.

Any party concerned is entitled to challenge them by means of third party proceedings provided that he

joins the State prosecutor in the action.

Section 2. Proof of nationality before the ordinary courts

Article 30

The burden of proof in matters of French nationality lies on the person whose nationality is in dispute.

Nevertheless, this burden lies on him who challenges the French nationality of a person who holds a

certificate of French nationality issued as provided for in Article 31 and following.

Article 30-1

When the French nationality is granted or acquired other than by declaration, decree of acquisition or of

naturalization, reinstatement, or annexation of territories, proof of it may be made only by establishing the

existence of all the statutory requirements.

Article 30-2

Nevertheless, when the source of the French nationality can only be in the filiation, it shall be deemed

established, saving proof to the contrary, if the person concerned and the father or mother who was likely to

transmit it to him have constantly enjoyed possession of the status of being a French national.

The French nationality of persons born in Mayotte, of age on 1 January 1994, shall be alternatively deemed

established if those persons have constantly enjoyed the possession of French national.

For a period of three years from the publication of the Law no 2006-911 of 24 July 2006 concerning

immigration and assimilation, for the application of the second paragraph above, adults as of 1 January 1994

who prove they were born in Mayotte are deemed to have constantly enjoyed the possession of French

nationality if they also show that they were registered on a list of voters in Mayotte at least ten years

before the publication of the Law no 2006-911 of 24 July 2006 above and that they prove a habitual residence

in Mayotte.

Article 30-3

When a person habitually resides or has resided in a foreign country, in which the ancestors from whom he

holds the nationality by parentage have settled for more than half a century, that person may not prove that

he has the French nationality by parentage if he himself or his father or mother who could have transmitted

it to him has not enjoyed the possession of being a French national.

In that event, the court must record the loss of the French nationality under Article 23-6.

Article 30-4

Apart from the loss or forfeiture of the French nationality, proof of the alien status of a person can only

be established by showing that the party concerned does not fulfill any of the statutory requirements for

having the quality of being French.

Section 3. Certificates of French nationality

Article 31

The chief clerk of a tribunal d'instance shall alone have the capacity to issue a certificate of French

nationality to a person who establishes that he has that nationality.

Article 31-1

The seats and territorial jurisdiction of the tribunals d'instance which are empowered to issue

certificates of nationality shall be established by decree. 

Article 31-2

A certificate of nationality shall point out, with references to Chapters II, III, IV and VII of this

Title, the statutory provision under which the party concerned has the French nationality as well as the

documents that permitted its being proven. It shall prevail until proof of the contrary.

For the drawing up of a certificate of nationality, the chief clerk of a tribunal d'instance may presume,

if other elements are lacking, that the acts of civil status drawn up abroad and presented to him produce the

effects that French law would have attributed to them.

Article 31-3

Where the chief clerk of a tribunal d'instance refuses to issue a certificate of nationality, the party

concerned may bring the matter before the Minister of Justice, who shall decide whether there is a case for

proceeding to its issuance.

CHAPTER VII. The Effects on French nationality of transfers of sovereignty of certain territories

Article 32

French persons natives of the territory of the French Republic, as it was constituted on the 28 July 1960,

and who were domiciled on the day of its accession to independence on the territory of a State that

previously had the status of an overseas territory of the French Republic, maintain their French nationality.

It shall be the same as to the spouses, widows and widowers, and descendants of the said persons.

Article 32-1

French persons of ordinary civil status domiciled in Algeria on the date of the official announcement of

the results of the poll for self-determination maintain their French nationality whatever their situation

with respect to the Algerian nationality may be.

Article 32-2

The French nationality of persons of ordinary civil status who were born in Algeria before the 22 July 1962

shall be deemed established, on the terms of Article 30-2, if those persons have constantly enjoyed the

possession of being French.

Article 32-3

Every French person who, at the date of its independence, was domiciled on the territory of a State that

had previously the status of overseas department or territory of the Republic keeps his nationality as of

right where no other nationality was granted to him by the law of that State.

Likewise, the children of persons who benefit from the provisions of the preceding paragraph, minors under

eighteen at the date of the accession to independence of the territory when their parents were domiciled,

keep their French nationality as of right.

Article 32-4

Former members of the Parliament of the Republic, of the Assembly of the French Union, and of the Economic

Council who have lost their French nationality and acquired a foreign nationality under a general provision

may be reinstated in the French nationality by a mere declaration when they have established their domiciles

in France.

The same right is granted to their spouse, widower or widow, and their children.

Article 32-5

The declaration of reinstatement provided for in the preceding Article may be executed by the parties

concerned, in accordance with Article 26 and following, from the moment they have reached the age of

eighteen; it may not be made by representation. It has effect with regard to minor children on the terms of

Articles 22-1 and 22-2.

CHAPTER VIII. PARTICULAR DISPOSITIONS APPLICABLE TO OVERSEAS COLLECTIVITIES BY ARTICLE 74 OF THE CONSTITUTION

AND TO NEW CALEDONIA

Article 33

For the implementation of this Title:

1o The words "tribunal de grande instance" shall each time be replaced by the words "tribunal de première

instance;"

2o In Articles 21-28 and 21-29, the words "in the department" are replaced by the words "in the

collectivity" or "in New Caledonia."

The pecuniary sanctions imposed under Article 68 in the islands of Wallis and Futuna, in French Polynesia,

and in New Caledonia are imposed in local money, taking account of the exchange-value of the Euro in that

money.

Article 33-1

Notwithstanding Article 26, the declaration that is to be received by the chief clerk of the tribunal

d'instance is received by the president of the tribunal of première instance or by the judge of the assigned

section.

Article 33-2

Notwithstanding Article 31, the president of the tribunal de première instance or the judge of the assigned

section is alone competent to issue a certificate of French nationality to a person who establishes that he

has that nationality.