My grandfather went to Russia in 1934 to study in Moscow. He had an Indian passport (under British rule) and travelled there from Kenya via Germany and France.

On his return, he went through France, got a French passport, went on to Pondicherry (1936) and became an Indian citizen.

My father was born in Kenya in 1932.

Can I have French citizenship through my grandfather?

  • 1
    Probably not, but your question is unclear. Where was your grandfather from? Kenya? What were you born? What passport do you have?
    – gerrit
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 10:54
  • I did a bit of an edit to make your question a bit clearer; if I have misunderstood, I apologize.
    – Giorgio
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 12:16
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    @gerrit That's not all that relevant, the real question is the father's citizenship. Is there any evidence he was French? If yes, has he be making use of his French citizenship. Without that, there is no way the OP is French. On the other hand, if that's the case, where the father or the son were born or what other citizenships they may have shouldn't make a difference.
    – Gala
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 12:51
  • father since born in kenya under british rule ,all his cousins born there took british citizen ship but my grand mother took indian citizenship.and came to india.
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 6:05

1 Answer 1


Many important facts are missing from your description but I am confident that we can already conclude that it would almost certainly be impossible, for two reasons:

  • For you to be French, your father would need to have been French when you were born. From your question, it seems he was born before your grandfather became French. Theoretically it could be possible that your father became French at the same time as your grandfather but there are several conditions and you would need documentary evidence of that (for example a décret de naturalisation naming your father).
  • Even if your father was born French he needs to make use of his citizenship (that's called possession d'état and means something like applying for a passport) lest his citizenship lapses and it becomes impossible to transmit it to his children. We have a bunch of questions about this already but 1936 is a long time ago and it's very likely this rule would prevent you from claiming French citizenship, even if your father was, in fact, a French citizen.

Both are major hurdles in themselves and that's ignoring any complication arising from the handover of the French territories in India or any potential change in the rules over time.

Either way, without evidence that your father was French and making use of his citizenship, there is no way for you to prove you are French yourself. From that perspective, your grandfather's status doesn't matter much.

  • +1 but tell me if the French have an ancestry route like the UK does...
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 15:49
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    I know this is an old post, but as it has been resurrected, if I may quickly answer your follow-up @Gayot Fow: no France does not have an ancestry route. Citizenship can only be passed down from parents and they need to have "possession d'état" (as Gala mentioned) over the past 50 years. Without this, citizenship cannot be passed down.
    – ar5975
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 6:47

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