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1 FRANCE (updated on ) 1. Legislative provisions concerning nationality a. Texts in force - Articles 17 to 33-2 of the Civil Code (Law No of 22 July 1993 reforming the right to nationality, as amended by Law No of 16 March 1998 and by Law No of 26 November 2003 on immigration control, foreigners' residence in France and nationality). - Decree No of 30 December 1993, as amended by Decree No of 20 August 1998 (Journal Officiel - Official Gazette - of 21 August 1998) [new decree to come]. b. Principles French nationality law: - traditionally distinguishes between the conferral of French nationality at birth and acquisition of French nationality by a foreign national; - combines the jus sanguinis and the jus soli principles with regard to the conferral of French nationality; - combines the concepts of residence and birth in France to determine when French nationality is acquired automatically; - secures the same rights to men, women, both spouses and legitimate, natural and fully adopted children; - recognises the principle of multiple nationality; the conferral or acquisition of French nationality is never subject to renunciation of another nationality; - takes into consideration the concerns of the state but also the wishes and rights of individuals with regard to the acquisition or loss of French nationality. Greater account is taken of the person s wishes if the application is made as a declaration of nationality than if it is granted by decision of the government (naturalisation). Save in exceptional cases, the Ministry of Justice is responsible for declarations and the government for naturalisation; in the latter case, in the event of an unfavourable decision, the Minister responsible for naturalisation is delegated to deal with the application under the supervision of an administrative judge:

2 - provides, under certain conditions, for the automatic acquisition of French nationality by unmarried under-age children of foreign nationals who acquire French nationality (the so-called principle of "collective effect"); - pre-empts and avoids situations of statelessness at birth and in the event of loss of French nationality, notably by requiring the possession of another nationality; - grants the same rights to and imposes the same obligations on all French nationals, irrespective of whether they were born with or acquired French nationality; - provides that new laws on the conferral of the nationality of origin apply immediately to persons who are still minors. 2. Main provisions 2.1 Conferral of nationality at birth Jus sanguinis: French nationality is passed on by descent from either parent, whether legitimate or natural, in France or abroad, and is subject only to legal confirmation before the child reaches adulthood (Article 18 and 18-1 of the Civil Code). "Full" adoption: (while the child is a minor): if at least one of the adoptive parents had French nationality at the date of the child's birth, French nationality is conferred on adopted children retroactively from birth. Jus soli: - conferral of French nationality by «dual jus soli» (Articles 19-3 and 19-4 of the Civil Code) on children born in France to foreign nationals born in France - moreover, to avoid situations of statelessness, French nationality is conferred at birth on children born in France to unknown parents or stateless parents or parents who cannot pass on their nationality. 2.2 Automatic acquisition on grounds of birth and residence in France The application of this principle was the main subject of the debates preceding enactment of the law of 16 March Prior to this, foreign nationals born in France to foreign parents born abroad had to state their wish to acquire French nationality between the ages of 16 and 21 and satisfy a number of relatively undemanding conditions. Since 1 September 1998 children born in France to foreign parents born abroad acquire French nationality ipso jure when they reach the age of majority or may themselves apply for French nationality as of 16 years of age; alternatively, their legal representative may lodge an application with their consent once they have reached the age of 13. The conditions are as follows: they must have been born and reside in France and have had their usual place of residence there for at least five years.

3 2.3 Acquisition of French nationality by declaration or decision of the public authorities The declaration embodies the right for a person who fulfils the legal requirements to apply for French nationality. * Acquisition of French nationality on the grounds of marriage of a foreign national to a French national. Since the law of 26 November 2003 the declaration can be made after a period of two years from the date of the marriage, subject, inter alia, to the requirement that the couple should still be cohabiting. The waiting period is increased to three years where the applicant cannot prove they he/she has lived for at least one year in France since the date of the marriage. * The declaration may be made in France or abroad, but the applicant must prove he has a sufficient command of French. The government may, by decree, object to the acquisition of French nationality on grounds of the applicant's unfitness or lack of integration, other than from a linguistic standpoint. * Other possibilities of acquisition or recovery of French nationality exist for persons who have lost French nationality: - where it has lapsed on account of the prolonged residence abroad of the persons concerned and their ascendants or because of failure to maintain French civil status; - following marriage to a foreign national or the acquisition by individual decision of another nationality (provided, however, that these persons have maintained clear links with France). * Children who have been adopted by a French national can claim French nationality by declaration Naturalisation, in the case of persons who have never been French, or recovery, in the case of persons who had French nationality at some time in their lives before losing it, are administrative procedures based on almost identical provisions, ie: Foreign nationals can only be naturalised or recover French nationality if their situation satisfies the legal requirements in force. If not, the Minister responsible for naturalisation must declare the application inadmissible. Some of these legal requirements are objective: the person must be over the age of majority, have lived in France for five years (a large number of exemptions from the residence requirement are possible), be lawfully fit for entry into France and residence on French territory and not have been sentenced to more than six months imprisonment. The other legal requirements entail an interpretation of the applicant s situation. For example candidates must be integrated into the French community, as evidenced, in particular, through a practical evaluation of their knowledge and command of the French language, and be «of good character».

4 The most important factor, however, is that candidates must be settled in France at the time of the decision. This judicial concept is complex and requires that France be the central point of candidates family ties and working lives Even if these legal requirements have been met, the Minister has a wide margin of discretion which makes it possible, where appropriate, to dismiss the foreigner s application. Such applications may be dismissed or deferred by 2 or 3 years, in accordance the usual practice of the authorities. After expiry of this period and if the cause for deferral no longer exists, a fresh application may be lodged. Reasons must be given for all decisions dismissing applications The decision to grant French nationality is issued by the government. Naturalised persons may apply to have their surnames and first names changed to more French-sounding names. 2.4 Loss of French nationality Individuals must not become stateless on deprivation of French nationality for lack of loyalty. The decree depriving them of their nationality, which can only concern foreign nationals who have acquired French nationality, is time-barred and must be distinguished from the withdrawal of French nationality for failure to meet legal requirements or for reasons of fraud, in which case the act is annulled because it has no administrative validity or no legal basis. The withdrawal of nationality is a rigorous procedure and its implementation is also time-barred Loss of French nationality through deliberate forfeiture is, moreover, considered to be a right but is subject to possession of another nationality so as to avoid cases of statelessness. Forfeiture by declaration is possible in cases in which French nationals live abroad and have acquired their spouse's nationality or some other nationality of their own free will. In certain cases, children have the right to renounce French nationality between 17½ and 19 years of age So as to ensure that the right to forfeit French nationality is not restricted to the above-mentioned cases, the government can, by decree, authorise minors or adults to forfeit their nationality; it has a right of discretionary assessment Forfeiture by application of an international convention By application of the Strasbourg Convention of 6 May 1963, for example.

5 2.4.5 Under French law, minors, ie people under the age of 18, cannot lose French nationality as a result of a collective effect. 3. International agreements in force 3.1 Concerning overseas territories previously under French sovereignty or French protectorates - Franco-Vietnamese Convention of 16 August 1955 on nationality (inoperative since 30/4/1975); - Treaty of cession of the territory of the free city of Chandernagor by France to India, signed in Paris on 2/2/1951; - Treaty of cession of the French settlements of Pondichéry, Karikal, Mahé and Yanaon, signed in New Delhi on 28 May 1956; - Franco-Tunisian Convention, signed in Paris on 3 June 1955 (considered by France to have lapsed on 1 July 1983). 3.2 International multilateral conventions Multilateral international conventions on nationality - Council of Europe Convention of 6 May 1963, and its additional protocols, on Reduction of Cases of Multiple Nationality and Military Obligations in cases of Multiple Nationality Multilateral international agreements containing provisions on nationality - Treaty of Versailles of 28 June 1919; - Agreement of 8 March 1939 between France and Germany concerning the interpretation of paragraph 1.2 of the appendix to Section V part III of the Treaty of Versailles; and - Treaty of Paris of 10 February Bilateral international agreements Bilateral international agreements on nationality - Conventions of 23 July 1879 between France and Switzerland to regularise the status of children of French persons having acquired Swiss nationality by naturalisation; - Arrangement of 24 January 1921 between France and Belgium to settle the nationality of sons of Belgian nationals who were prevented, by the course of events, from renouncing their French nationality when they reached adulthood; - Convention of 12 September 1928 between France and Belgium on the nationality of married women; and

6 - Franco-Belgian Convention of 9 January 1947 on the nationality of married women Bilateral international conventions containing provisions on nationality - Treaty of Turin of 24 March 1860 between France and Sardinia on the reunification of Savoy and the district of Nice with France; - Treaty of Paris of 2 February 1861 between France and the Principality of Monaco on the cession of the communes of Menton and Roquebrune to France; - Treaty of 8 December 1862 between France and Switzerland concerning the Vallée des Dappes; - Final peace treaty of Frankfurt-on-Main of 10 May 1871 between the French Republic and the German Empire; - Additional convention to the peace treaty of 10 May 1871 between France and Germany, signed on 11 December 1871; - Treaty of 10 August 1877 between France and Sweden on the retrocession of Saint-Barthélemy Island to France; - Convention of 30 July 1891 between France and Belgium on the application of laws governing military service in the two countries; - Arrangement of 13 March 1915 on the suspension during the war of the Franco- Belgian Convention of 30 July 1891 on the application of laws governing military service in the two countries; and - Convention of 12 September 1928 between France and Belgium to settle disputes concerning recruitment to the armed forces. 4. Draft legislation and new trends Recent developments: the law of 22 July 1993 made radical amendments to French nationality legislation. The law of 16 March 1998 revoked some of the amendments made in 1993: it reinstated the principle of automatic acquisition of French nationality at the age of majority by foreign children born in France, on grounds of their birth and residence in France, by abolishing the requirement that such children voluntarily apply for French nationality. The new law of 26 November 2003 also introduced more severe conditions for acquisition of French nationality on grounds of marriage to a French national. Draft legislation: none Trends: when nationality legislation is applied, there is a tendency to take increasing account of the individual s wishes and to attach greater importance to length of residence. The reasons given for decisions refusing French nationality, in particularly those based on the discretionary power given to the Minister responsible for naturalisation, is subject to increasingly strict supervision by the administrative courts.

7 5. Recent judicial decisions None 6. Recent publications None 7. Any other information None 8. Enquiries concerning matters relating to nationality (in addition to the information which may be obtained from the Council of Europe) Ministries Ministère de la Justice Direction des Affaires Civiles et du Sceau 13, Place Vendôme F PARIS Cédex 01 Tel: Fax: Ministère de l'emploi et de la Solidarité Sous-Direction des Naturalisations 93 bis, rue de la Commune de 1871 F REZÉ Cédex Tel: Fax:

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