I'm 22 years old and I was born and grew up in Hungary.

A few weeks ago, I found out that my father could have acquired French citizenship (in the years before I became 18), because his mother, my grandmother was originally from France.

The problem is that I don't have any connection with my father, so it would be hard to acquire any documents from him. I think he wouldn't even share what is needed about himself, although I already have a proof of that he is my father.

Is this enough to start the process of acquiring the citizenship and am entitled to it at all?

  • I cannot formally answer because I don't know 100%, but I'm having the same problem with Portugal and my mother's nationality. To get her nationality on her behalf, I have to be her POA. I suspect it may be the same in France, but I'm not sure. Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 14:03
  • @lafemmecosmique do you mean that you must have power of attorney to act on your mother's behalf? I don't think the term "POA" is much used outside the US. Also, as you may know, French nationality law is somewhat idiosyncratic, so the particulars are likely quite different between France and Portugal.
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 15:32
  • @phoog So I consulted Portuguese legal council for this, and yes, I had to get a POA signed by my mother for my lawyer to get her nationality on her behalf, even though I was the one dealing with the lawyer (submitting mother's docs). And yes I assume the case is very different for FR, I just wanted to provide a European data point since there had been no answer yet :) Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 9:32

1 Answer 1


“Acquiring” French citizenship is not quite the right way to think about this. If your father was a French citizen at the time of your birth, you might be one too. If he wasn't, there is nothing he could do now to make you a French citizen. The fact that he could have “acquired” it is not relevant. The only way in which his cooperation would be useful is in gathering the documentation you'll need to apply for a French passport and effectively use the citizenship.

Specifically, you need to worry about two things:

  • Whether your grandmother and/or your father have lived abroad without using their citizenship for too long. See Will it be possible to get French citizenship? for more details about that. You haven't provided enough details to make a determination but I suspect this is very likely to be an issue.

  • Establishing the link between your grandmother, your father, and you. That could in fact be easier than you think as you don't need your father's help to get his birth certificate. If it was registered with the French authorities, you can request it yourself as his son, presumably by submitting your own birth certificate as evidence that you are his son. See How to prove my father is a French citizen if he refuses to confirm we are his children?

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