Dual Citizenship France

French nationality law allows dual citizenship of France to be acquired by birth if a child is born to a French parent, filiation and naturalization. Many people who live in France have dual citizenship since France has had very large numbers of immigrants from Southern Europe, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Studies also indicate that about 14 million people of foreign ascendency make up France’s population.

French nationality law was mainly based on the principle of “right of the soil” (jus soli) or birthright citizenship, and has supported dual citizenship since in the early 1970’s. In 1992, elements of jus sanguinis (Latin for “right of blood”) were added to the French code, making French dual citizenship no longer automatically acquirable by birth.

Conferring French citizenship by an act of filiation must be done before the child reaches the age of majority. The process of filiation can take two principle forms; namely, plenary adoption, whereby the child is granted the rights and status of his adopted family and loses those that were acquired from the birth family, or, by simple adoption, which permits the adopted child to keep some of the legal bonds shared with the birth family.

French citizenship is automatically conferred to children born in France who are considered stateless or are born to a French parent.

Permanent residents of France are able to apply for French citizenship for a child born in France when he reaches the age of 13. At the age of 16, however, the child is capable of requesting citizenship on his own providing that he resides in France. A child who has been living in France from the age of 11 may also apply for citizenship when he turns 18. Any child, born in France to parents who were born in a country before it gained independence from France, acquires French citizenship at birth if he or she was born before January 1, 1994, or at the age of 18 if born on or after January 1, 1994. French nationality can also be repudiated by a child who was born abroad to a French parent within six months before he attains the age of adulthood or anytime during the following year.

Dual citizenship of France can also be obtained through naturalization, whereby an application may be presented after 5 years of permanent residency in France. University graduates of France are only required to live in France for a minimum period of two years before applying for residency, while residency requirements may be waived for citizens of French speaking countries or for persons who have offered military service. After an applicant for citizenship has successfully satisfied the residency requirements, a decree is published in the Journal Officiel by decision of the Ministry of Labour, Social Cohesion and Housing.

In regards to acquiring French citizenship through marriage, a period of at least two years of continuous residency is required before citizenship can be conferred by declaration. This requirement is extended to a period of three years in the case of a couple residing outside of France. Any spouse who is applying to become a French citizen is expected to have good command of the French language, while proof of nationality of both man and wife must be produced. Obtaining dual citizenship of France is not guaranteed since the declaration of citizenship made to the local court or overseas French consulate by the couple, if they are not resident in France, can either be accepted or rejected by the French Ministry of Justice.

Dual citizenship has been permitted in France from as early as 1973, and has laid on the principles of ”ensuring the equality of all citizens before the law, without distinction of origin, race or reli


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