Mobility is crucial in order to respond to the demands of the modern world. It shall be seen with a broaden approach (see the big picture as Harvey Law Group founder and Managing Partner Mr. Jean Francois Harvey would express) beyond an economic advantage, it also represents academic opportunities, professional, even health related advantages in which generations of family members will be able to enjoy.

But there is also a more human aspect to Citizenship by Ancestry – CBA ; a plethora of our clients are looking to connect with their roots, with their family history and lineage. As humans, we are always seeking to understand: I, who, why, where.

Every day we receive dozens of requests and inquiries from clients asking a myriad of questions, trying to understand this judiciary process that entitles a person who lives and/or was born outside of France to request a French Birth Certificate "Certificate de Naissance Français-CNF".

As a way to better assess the process of Citizenship by Ancestry – CBA (in France) ; let's respond the Top 10, most frequent asked questions by clients :


Q1. What is Citizenship by Ancestry -CBA?

French CBA is a judiciary process by which a person secures French citizenship through their direct filiation (blood link) with a French parent, grand-parent or great-grandparent.

Q2. What is the legal basis/fundament for CBA?

The principle is found in Article 18 from the French Civil Code, which states : "Is French, a child of whom at least one parent is French".

Q3.Who is eligible to apply for French CBA?

An applicant is eligible to apply for French CBA if:

  1. the applicant is born to at least one French parent, grandparent or great-grand-parent (taking into account that the process shall not skip 1 generation);
  2. the applicant is under the care and custody of the French parent before he/she turns 18 years old; and
  3. the applicant and the French parent have interacted with the French authority in the last 50 years (i.e. Absence of Obsolescence).

Q4. Can dependent children be included in the same application?

No. Each generation will need to secure the certificate of French nationality before the next generation may apply for one (CF. Q3).


Q5. The process to claiming French citizenship by Ancestry ?

The process is judiciary i.e. The dossier is physically filed to the Paris Court "Tribunal Judiciaire de Paris – Pole de la nationalité française".

This after gathering information through HLG's Assessment Form and following the eligibility analysis the client shall send certain original documents and copies to our Paris Desk. Most of the applicants are residing outside of France.

If all requirements are met, a positive decision awarding the certificate of French nationality shall be granted and successful applicants may then apply for a French ID and subsequent French passport and enjoy all rights and freedoms typically conferred on EU citizens.

Q6. What is the average processing time?

On average, the French authority takes about 1-2 years to process French CBA applications. (Example: If an application is filed on 4 June 2022, the decision should have been rendered within six (6) months, meaning by 4 December 2022. Nevertheless, this period can be extended twice and a final decision on the application may become available by 5 December 2023.)

Q7. What is an Apostille Stamp? Why do I need it if the documents have been translated by certified translator?

This must be one of the most asked questions (by far). The Apostille Stamp authenticates the seals and signatures of officials in public documents e.g. Birth Certificates. As this certifies that the document can be recognized in foreign countries i.e. France, that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty.

Q8. Do I need to travel or reside in France as part of the application process?

No. Applicants do not need to visit or reside in France in the application process.

Q9. Do I need to provide proof of knowledge of the French language (test and/or interview), history or culture during the application process?

No. As a judiciary process (not administrative) applicants are not required to validate/pass a Language Test and/or interview.

Q10. Is dual citizenship allowed in France?

Yes. France recognizes dual citizenship, so there is no need to renounce one's citizenship(s) before securing the French one.

Finally, it is highly recommended to be accompanied by a Qualified Attorney, habilitated to practice law in France, as a means to be properly and diligently guided through the process of CBA. As indicated supra, it is a long process that shall ensure an effective and thorough legal advice.

Whether you are retiring abroad, starting a business, or looking to obtain a second citizenship without having to reside in a particular country, the French Citizenship by Ancestry (CBA) offers a wide range of benefits that may suit your needs.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.