My father was a French citizen. I have his old passport and his livret de famille. He left France in the 50s, and I was born in 1970. He died 5 years ago. I’ve been told that I lost my claim for citizenship because I didn’t demand for it until now and I’m already 53. Is there a way to bypass this article?

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    Did your father record your birth in the French civil register? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_nationality_law
    – Traveller
    Oct 18, 2023 at 19:47
  • Can’t log in to my old account. I’m not sure whether my father got his own livret de famille and if he ever registered me as his daughter, the one I found are my grandparents’ and he is written in it.
    – Jennette
    Oct 21, 2023 at 14:11
  • When was his last passport issued? Whether it was more than 50 years ago could be relevant.
    – Relaxed
    Nov 21, 2023 at 13:01
  • @Traveller I don't think it matters here. The language in the Wikipedia article (“is essential”) is way too strong and contradicted by the rest of the paragraph. Besides, the facts do not seem in dispute, the main issue is whether the OP may still benefit from a French citizenship after 53 years, which may be impossible even if the father registered her birth and got a livret de famille at the time. The way I understand the situation, the most important fact (and what's missing from the question) is whether the father did maintain possession d'état more recently than 1970.
    – Relaxed
    Nov 21, 2023 at 13:07

1 Answer 1


The law says if either the parent(s) with French citizenship or the child did not maintain proof of French citizenship within the last 50 years (vote, apply for/renew a passport), the child is not eligible for French citizenship.

Lorsqu'un individu réside ou a résidé habituellement à l'étranger, où les ascendants dont il tient par filiation la nationalité sont demeurés fixés pendant plus d'un demi-siècle, cet individu ne sera pas admis à faire la preuve qu'il a, par filiation, la nationalité française si lui-même et celui de ses père et mère qui a été susceptible de la lui transmettre n'ont pas eu la possession d'état de Français. Le tribunal devra dans ce cas constater la perte de la nationalité française, dans les termes de l'article 23-6.

Basically you lost your right to French citizenship when you turned 50. Source.

I saw somewhere, can't find it now, a proviso whereas a child in your situation might be able to acquire French citizenship if he/she has maintained links with France, speaks French, etc. But that's of course a tall order.

  • Actually, the source doesn't support your interpretation. These cases hinge on subtle details of the conditions, even under the ministry's somewhat restrictive interpretation, if the father did get a passport more recently, it is not obvious to me that the OP couldn't apply for one now.
    – Relaxed
    Nov 21, 2023 at 13:00

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