My great grandfather (who originally Algerian served in the French Army in the early 1910 when Algeria was part of France) passed away in Syria during his service. I am not sure how he died. His widow (Syrian citizen) continued getting his pension until the 1960s when the French government stopped paying.

Can we apply for French citizenship given that he was serving in the French army until his death. As Algeria was part of France on the day he died, I think it is logical to assume he was French at that time. Do we need a lawyer to prove the case? Can you recommend one who may have such experience?


2 Answers 2


You should contact the French embassy or a French consulate in Algeria, or a lawyer specialized in questions of nationality, but it seems that the fact that your great-grandfather served in the army does not help.

From the website of the French consulate in Oran:

- Mon père était Algérien et ancien combattant dans l’armée française. Est-ce que cela me donne le droit d’être français ?

Aucune disposition législative ne prévoit d’accorder la nationalité française aux anciens combattants du seul fait de cette qualité. Il en est de même pour leur conjoint et descendants.

My own translation:

- My father was Algerian and a veteran of the French army. Does that give me the right to be French?

No legislative provision grants French nationality to veterans solely based on this quality. It is the same for their spouse and descendants.


Unless you have a parent and grand-parent who were French citizens (through either ancestry or double ius soli) and used that citizenship, there is no way you could benefit from your great-grandfather citizenship. If that's not the case, your family has lived abroad for too long (see e.g. Request for French Nationality). That would seem to rule out any path to French citizenship for you.

That's without getting into the question of whether your great-grandfather actually was a French citizen, which is doubtful, see French citizenship of an ancestor who died in Algeria before Independence Having served in the French military was not enough to change his status but that that's moot at this point since you would in any case need proof that your French (grand)parents were still French and using their citizenship before your birth. And if you had that proof, the question of your great-grandfather's citizenship would be entirely academic.

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