Immigration and Nationality Law for France > Acquiring French Nationality
The child of a French citizen is him/herself French by birth. When the child is born abroad from a French parent, it is essential for the French parent to record the birth of the child in the French civil register. In the event of litigation or to establish definitive proof of French nationality (or request a French passport) French nationality may be established by petitioning for a French nationality certificate from the Tribunal d'Instance (local court) of the person's place of residence, or if residing abroad, via the French Nationality Office in Paris having jurisdiction over French person's residing abroad.
Foreign-born persons with a French spouse may claim French citizenship following four years of marriage. If joint married life can be demonstrated (the period of joint life is 5 years if the foreign spouse can not demonstrate at least three years of continued residence in France from the date of the marriage)
Furthermore, foreign-born persons may request to be naturalized if such persons have resided continuously in France for five years prior to filing of the request. French nationality in this case is given in the discretion of above-mentioned five-year period may be reduced to two years if the foreign-born person successfully performed two years of higher education in France. This request is made at the Préfecture where the foreign-born person resides. A reply is given to the request within 18 months of the request (although in practice this may take longer).
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Of course, our representation in French law and American law are distinct from each other.