- Your children were born in Israel but one parent is French?
- You were born in France but have lived in Israel since birth?
- You are French and your spouse is Israeli?
- You would like to find out if your French descent can result in a EU citizenship?
- You would like to find out how to obtain French citizenship?
- You want to obtain a French passport?
This series of articles answers your questions regarding transferring, obtaining, and recognition of French citizenship.
The conditions for obtaining new citizenship or recognition of existing citizenship are laid out in the French civil code, from Section 17 and onwards. To help you understand the issues better, we present the important portions of the law.
This series of articles also relates to obtaining recognition of French citizenship for children born outside France, or for a spouse in the case that the wedding was not performed in France.
Why acquire French citizenship? What are the advantages?
France is one of the founding member states of the European Union. As a result, French nationality automatically grants the holder a European passport and “European citizenship”.
In 1993, when the Maastricht Treaty took effect, every citizen of a member state of the European Union was recognized as holding “European citizenship”. This citizenship grants the right to move freely, live, study, or work in all the EU member states. When traveling anywhere in the world, European citizenship also makes it possible to turn to the embassy or consulate of any EU member state, in cases where France does not have diplomatic relations with a given country. Likewise, a European citizen is eligible to vote and run for election in the European and municipal elections in the country where they live, to file a petition with the European parliament, and finally to file a complaint with the European ombudsman regarding a faulty act by the community administration.
Thus we see that French citizenship is a key that opens doors not only in France but in the 27 EU member states! What’s more, with a French passport, you can enter the United States without need for obtaining a visa in advance from the American authorities.
But that’s not all!
If want to study in Canada and have French citizenship, proving this status will enable you to enjoy subsidized tuition fees at universities in Quebec, which offer preferential treatment for French students.
In fact, Quebec and France have signed an agreement regarding tuition for French students in the province. The agreement between the Quebec government and the French Republic, signed 6 March 2015, provides for preferential treatment of French citizens seeking to study in Quebec.
Thanks to this agreement, for a bachelor’s degree, French students pay the same basic fees and one-time sum paid by Canadian students who are not Quebec residents. For a master’s degree, French citizens are charged the same tuition as students in Quebec. Moreover, for professional and technical training, French students enjoy an exemption from tuition – such studies are provided at no cost. French citizenship, therefore, enables one to study in Canada and earn a degree in North America, in the French language, under much better conditions than at other Canadian or American universities.
Who can obtain French citizenship?
Many people in Israel, though they may not be aware of it, can make use of a family tie to obtain citizenship. For example, many descendants of North African Jews have never thought of claiming French citizenship, even though they are eligible for it.
Since the Décret Crémieux order of 24 October 1870 – Algerian Jews are French. An order from 1939 expanded this group to include Moroccan Jews as well, under certain circumstances. Thus many descendants of North African Jews can claim French citizenship under the Blood Law.
French citizens who immigrated to Israel and married Israelis and/or their children born in Israel can also take steps to enable the spouse and children to enjoy a French nationality.
French citizenship is acquired on the basis of two types of ties to the country: the law of the soil and the law of blood. You can read more about both of these in our articles on the subject: Citizenship on the basis of extraction, and Citizenship on the basis of residency in France.
The ways to acquire French citizenship are:
- Based on your own extraction
- Descendant of a French citizen
- Brother or sister of a French citizen
- Born on French soil
- On the basis of a declaration
- Marriage to a French citizen
- A naturalization decree
Thus, if one of your parents is French, even if you were born in Israel, you can also claim French citizenship. If your spouse is French, or if their ancestors were French, and you meet the required criteria, you can also apply for French citizenship.
What are the implications for family members?
If you are eligible for citizenship on the basis of an ancestor’s ties to France, the other members of your family can also take steps to acquire French citizenship.
Regarding expenses, our office charges a discounted rate for several cases from the same family.
What is the timetable?
The timetable for obtaining new citizenship, or recognition of existing citizenship, varies depending on the situation. Someone who must prove an ancestor’s French citizenship in order to claim it himself will have to take different steps, involving different amounts of time, than someone who is already a French citizen and is seeking to have the French citizenship of his children recognized in Israel.
The law offices of Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh specialize in immigration issues and have extensive experience in helping clients obtain new citizenship.
Our office is at your service for anything related to assembling an application file, submitting documents, and any other necessary steps, saving you the hassle of dealing with bureaucratic procedures. We will be happy to share our experience and expertise. Contact us to arrange a meeting at our offices in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, as you prefer, or to obtain consultation by telephone/Skype/Zoom.