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Discussion Starter #1
Hi

I was born in the UK (1973) to a French mother and British father.
My parents were never married.

My maternal grandfather was French. My maternal grandmother was British and they were married in the UK.


Can anyone advise exactly what documents I need to include in my application for my CNF. My understanding is that this can be a VERY lengthy process so I am keen to provide the correct documentation from the beginning to avoid any future back and forth, especially as my understanding of French is limited.

I have requested a copy of my mother's birth certificate from France. I also have a copy of her French passport.

Should I also request the birth certificates of my grandparents?

I have read that as my parents weren't married, I need to provide a 'certificate of maternal recognition' but I have no clue what this means. Any ideas?

I understand that I will need to provide proof of identity, proof of address and my birth certificate and that they need to be certified. Can these be certified by a British solicitor? Does anything need translating?

Do I need to supply a covering letter? If so, is there a template somewhere that I can copy?

Sorry for so many questions.
Many thanks in advance for any advice.

x
 

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Hi

I was born in the UK (1973) to a French mother and British father.
My parents were never married.

My maternal grandfather was French. My maternal grandmother was British and they were married in the UK.


Can anyone advise exactly what documents I need to include in my application for my CNF. My understanding is that this can be a VERY lengthy process so I am keen to provide the correct documentation from the beginning to avoid any future back and forth, especially as my understanding of French is limited. It would be very rare indeed if they did not ask you for more documents.

I have requested a copy of my mother's birth certificate from France. I also have a copy of her French passport.

Should I also request the birth certificates of my grandparents? Always a good idea.

I have read that as my parents weren't married, I need to provide a 'certificate of maternal recognition' but I have no clue what this means. Any ideas? It's a certificate of filiation, but as it is your mother who is French and your birth certificate will show her as your mother, you will likely not need it. They may however ask you for evidence that your father acknowledged you as his daughter. This would be easy if it was he who registered your birth. Otherwise, if you are still in contact, you can ask him to provide you with a notarised declaration by him. This will need to be accompanied by a notarised copy of his ID. You will then need to have these documents translated into French. Note that I am assuming that your mother never registered your birth with the French authorities when you were born or still a minor - if she did you may have a French birth certificate and your mother may have a French Livret de Famille listing you - in which case you can provide these and that will definitely smooth the process. In fact if you already have a French version birth certificate because your mother went through the process, you don't need a CNF, you just need a French passport (and/or ID card), which you could apply for at the French Consulate in London.

I understand that I will need to provide proof of identity, proof of address and my birth certificate and that they need to be certified. Can these be certified by a British solicitor? Does anything need translating?

You can apply for a copy of your UK birth certificate in French. It is called a Multilingual Standard Form and costs 22 pounds. Useful to have,as it saves a lot on translation fees. They do birth and marriage certificates. Cost is 22 pounds.
You specify what language you want...You get a standard birth/marriage certificate and a translated version too. It is a Euro wide initiative so people can get them in different languages. The hard copy French version they send you is sufficient and accepted.
https://www.gov.uk/order-copy-birth-death-marriage-certificate


Do I need to supply a covering letter? I believe the anwer is yes. If so, is there a template somewhere that I can copy?

Sorry for so many questions.
Many thanks in advance for any advice.

x
You will find most of the answers here (in French, I'm afraid). However I have responded as best I can in red above.

https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F1051

Don't hestitate to come back with any further questions. There are many people on this forum going through the process.

Edit:

Forgot to mention that you apparently have to have translations done by a traducteur assermenté, which means they have to be done in France. Search CNF on this forum and you should come up with the discussions about this and someone may even be able to point you to one who can assist.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, EverHopeful, this is super helpful.

Unfortunately, my Mum never registered my birth with the French authorities.

My Mum was never married, can she apply for a 'Livret de Famille' for herself? Would that help my case?

A slight complicating factor is that my father is not listed on my birth certificate. On my birth certificate I am registered with my mother's maiden name.
However, from birth I have been known by my father's surname. So my passport / driving licence etc name etc is not as recorded on my birth certificate. This has never been a problem in the UK (I think I just had to sign a declaration that from birth I have always been known as...). I hope this isn't going to cause too many issues...!

My father died a few years ago so will not be able to sign a declaration regarding his acknowledgement as my father. Given that my application is via my French mother I hope that this won’t cause too many problems.

Again, insights from, anyone with similar circumstances who has successfully navigated this process would be much appreciated.

An agency that assisted applicants with this process would make a fortune!

Many thanks
 

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Thanks, EverHopeful, this is super helpful.

Unfortunately, my Mum never registered my birth with the French authorities.

My Mum was never married, can she apply for a 'Livret de Famille' for herself? Would that help my case?

A slight complicating factor is that my father is not listed on my birth certificate. On my birth certificate I am registered with my mother's maiden name.
However, from birth I have been known by my father's surname. So my passport / driving licence etc name etc is not as recorded on my birth certificate. This has never been a problem in the UK (I think I just had to sign a declaration that from birth I have always been known as...). I hope this isn't going to cause too many issues...!

My father died a few years ago so will not be able to sign a declaration regarding his acknowledgement as my father. Given that my application is via my French mother I hope that this won’t cause too many problems.

Again, insights from, anyone with similar circumstances who has successfully navigated this process would be much appreciated.

An agency that assisted applicants with this process would make a fortune!

Many thanks
I would very strongly recommend you change at least your birth name ASAP and before you make your application. If your father is not mentioned on your birth certificate, it might be simplest to list him as unknown and that would save you a great deal of paperwork.

I was too tired and it was very late when I posted, but you may have another hurdle applying from overseas if your mother has not been resident in France for more than 50 years. However, if she is registered with the French Consulate and if she has a currentFrench passport that could assist. One way round the 50 year rule is to apply from within France, whch is much quicker and can be done at the local Tribunal d'Instance, but you have to be resident here to do that (if after 31 December this year that would mean,say, a hold a 6 month visa).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks again EverHopeful.

I would very strongly recommend you change at least your birth name ASAP and before you make your application. If your father is not mentioned on your birth certificate, it might be simplest to list him as unknown and that would save you a great deal of paperwork.
When you say change your birth name, what do you mean? Change the name on my passport/ driving licence?



I was too tired and it was very late when I posted, but you may have another hurdle applying from overseas if your mother has not been resident in France for more than 50 years. However, if she is registered with the French Consulate and if she has a currentFrench passport that could assist. One way round the 50 year rule is to apply from within France, whch is much quicker and can be done at the local Tribunal d'Instance, but you have to be resident here to do that (if after 31 December this year that would mean,say, a hold a 6 month visa).
My Mum is registered with Consulate in London and holds a French passort (has never had a British Passport). She has been in the UK for >50 years. Resisdency in France would not be an option unfortunatley.

Thanks again
 

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I mean change your name on your passport at least to the name on your birth certificate.

You can only hope that they do not apply the 50 year rule, but it would be better to submit your application sooner rather than later. The 50 year rule is only applied to those applying from overseas, so if it should be applied to your application and in the case that you appeal the decision and fail, the only way you would be able to obtain French nationality by descent would be to apply from within France. I do know that some people have tried to go this way without actually being resident in France, but do not know whether any of them have been successful. Whilst it is true that applications from within France are processed quickly and usually within a few months (mine was processed in around a month), that timeframe only applies once you have submitted and they have accepted all the documents they request, including additional documents. Generally they just hand your application back to you and tell you to resubmit it with the additional documents? As I said, you can rely on them requesting additional documents.
 

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Is it even possible to change your birth name on your birth certificate in the UK? I only ask because the French are incredibly sensitive about changing one's name at all, and certainly not on your birth certificate.

While it will result in some back and forth with the Consulate, I kind of suspect explaining why your last name is different from that of your mother might be the easier way to go. Otherwise you'll go through the same hassle when renewing other documents (like passport).

I've had to deal with a couple of situations here where I've just had to explain that the document they requested does not exist or cannot be obtained. It's a bit of a hassle, but it can be done if you explain clearly and openly what the situation is.
 

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I mean change your name on your passport at least to the name on your birth certificate.

You can only hope that they do not apply the 50 year rule, but it would be better to submit your application sooner rather than later. The 50 year rule is only applied to those applying from overseas, so if it should be applied to your application and in the case that you appeal the decision and fail, the only way you would be able to obtain French nationality by descent would be to apply from within France. I do know that some people have tried to go this way without actually being resident in France, but do not know whether any of them have been successful. Whilst it is true that applications from within France are processed quickly and usually within a few months (mine was processed in around a month), that timeframe only applies once you have submitted and they have accepted all the documents they request, including additional documents. Generally they just hand your application back to you and tell you to resubmit it with the additional documents? As I said, you can rely on them requesting additional documents.
Of course, you can always just accept a decision to refuse your application and re-apply. There is no actual need to contest the decision. You could always apply from within France at some time in the future when you are able to come for a longish period.

It seems to me from the experience of others that they don't apply the 50 year rule out of hand and that they are more likely to request additional evidence, though sometimes that evidence can be difficult to obtain and you need to think a little outside the square in terms of submitting evidence that is not precisely the evidence they request.

The thing about applying for the CNF is that the onus of proof is entirely on the applicant to prove to the court that they meet the requirements.

Note that if/when you submit an application, many of the documents have to be 'recent' and the original - this includes birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.

Of course, the Covid-19 situation may currently mean that some documents are harder/slower to obtain than others.
 

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Is it even possible to change your birth name on your birth certificate in the UK? I only ask because the French are incredibly sensitive about changing one's name at all, and certainly not on your birth certificate.

While it will result in some back and forth with the Consulate, I kind of suspect explaining why your last name is different from that of your mother might be the easier way to go. Otherwise you'll go through the same hassle when renewing other documents (like passport).

I've had to deal with a couple of situations here where I've just had to explain that the document they requested does not exist or cannot be obtained. It's a bit of a hassle, but it can be done if you explain clearly and openly what the situation is.
I was certainly not suggesting changing the name on the birth certificate. The OP's birth certificate is in her French mother's surname and does not list her father, but her passport etc. are in her late father's surname. Changing at least the passport to her birth name would mean that she does not need to explain the situtation with her father, let alone trying to prove that he was indeed her father, she would not have to submit his birth certificate nor those of her paternal grandparents. There are of course many French citizens who do not know who their birth father was and who have birth certificates that do not show the father's name. At least the OP does know who her father was and has known him, so that not knowing pain is avoided.
 

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Is it even possible to change your birth name on your birth certificate in the UK?
Parents can change a child's name, in certain circumstances, up to the age of 16.

Not sure if you can do it yourself as an adult, but you can possibly add/change a biological father.

One of my school mates had two different birth certificates as he was adopted and had both names changed.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Is it even possible to change your birth name on your birth certificate in the UK? I only ask because the French are incredibly sensitive about changing one's name at all, and certainly not on your birth certificate.

While it will result in some back and forth with the Consulate, I kind of suspect explaining why your last name is different from that of your mother might be the easier way to go. Otherwise you'll go through the same hassle when renewing other documents (like passport).

I've had to deal with a couple of situations here where I've just had to explain that the document they requested does not exist or cannot be obtained. It's a bit of a hassle, but it can be done if you explain clearly and openly what the situation is.
Thanks Bev, we can't change the name on our birth certificate in the UK. I think Everhopeful was suggesting I apply for a passport in my birth name. Unfortunately, given my current circumstances and travel plans, I think this might add too much complexity. I will endevour to explain. My challenge is that my school girl French isn't up to the job! I will have a go and cross my fingers. It doesn't sound massively hopeful re. the 50 rule either :(
 

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I'm not a big fan of lawyers but you should probably find a good lawyer.
The OP could use a lawyer (familiar with French law on the matter, therefore ideally a French lawyer) to assist in obtaining the CNF, however this would be expensive and there is no guarantee of success. Similarly, if refused, she could use a lawyer to appeal if she applies herself and is refused. The latter option would likely cost less.
 

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Hello. I haven't read all the answers so apologies if you have already got the same as what as I am explaining.

It all depends if your birth was officially registered with French authorities (Consulat general London) at the time). If the answer is YES, good. It will make matter easier.
If NOT, you will need to apply for a "Certificat de Nationalite francaise" (just Google it).

It might be a long process but it will get you there.
 

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ZoB
You could perhaps in the future apply for, say, a 6 month student visa to study French in France. That would enable you to apply for your CNF here.

Also, has your mother visited France over the years and can she provide some proof of that? It could mean that at least she is still connected with her country of origin and add to the fact that she is registered with the French Consulate.

Is your mother still in touch with family or friends in France? That could also assist your application.

BTW I managed to make contact with my family in France by searching my (unusual) family name on Google. I also joined Copains d'Avant and found cousins and second cousins that way -or your mother could join.
https://copainsdavant.linternaute.com/
 

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Thanks Bev, we can't change the name on our birth certificate in the UK. I think Everhopeful was suggesting I apply for a passport in my birth name. Unfortunately, given my current circumstances and travel plans, I think this might add too much complexity. I will endevour to explain. My challenge is that my school girl French isn't up to the job! I will have a go and cross my fingers. It doesn't sound massively hopeful re. the 50 rule either :(
As far as having to "explain" in French, I can highly recommend using something like Google Translate or DeepL Translate - both available for free online. I've been using DeepL to compose e-mails to some people I'm working on a project with. My French is decent, but to write anything in French takes me forever.

Write out what you need to say in the translator and see what you get. It's usually at least understandable (and I'll be they get LOTS of letters and applications translated that way). When writing your explanation, keep it simple, and keep your sentences short and simple (like you are writing for someone who knows only a little English). The online translation may do better than you would think - and if nothing else may inspire them to ask a question rather than just reject your application out of hand.
 

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Thanks so much for taking the time to reply Your advice is very much appreciated. Best wishes
 

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I have now read the whole Post and can advise as I have successfully advised many British born adults born from one French parents assess there rightful French status in the past.

Born from a French Mother in the UK but birth not registered at French Consulate in London. Your birth certificate doesn't show the name of your British born father.

As you still live in the UK, contact your local Honorary Consul (list in link https://uk.ambafrance.org/-Consuls-Honoraires-).
If you are in London, you can make contact with me via Private Message. He/she will be able to help you with any query you will have on the matter. You can get your French citizenship recognised by french authorities in London (no need to spend 6 months in France).

Please do not go to the expense of taking a Solicitor on-board. It will be expensive as you can do this whole work yourself. The fact that your British father doesn't appear on any birth document doesn't matter as the most important link with France and French nationality is your Mother.

You managed to trace your French family. Good news for making contact with long lost cousins, useless for having your French nationality recognised.
 

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I have now read the whole Post and can advise as I have successfully advised many British born adults born from one French parents assess there rightful French status in the past.

Born from a French Mother in the UK but birth not registered at French Consulate in London. Your birth certificate doesn't show the name of your British born father.

As you still live in the UK, contact your local Honorary Consul (list in link https://uk.ambafrance.org/-Consuls-Honoraires-).
If you are in London, you can make contact with me via Private Message. He/she will be able to help you with any query you will have on the matter. You can get your French citizenship recognised by french authorities in London (no need to spend 6 months in France).

Please do not go to the expense of taking a Solicitor on-board. It will be expensive as you can do this whole work yourself. The fact that your British father doesn't appear on any birth document doesn't matter as the most important link with France and French nationality is your Mother.

You managed to trace your French family. Good news for making contact with long lost cousins, useless for having your French nationality recognised.
This is no longer the case and it certainly does not take account of the 60 year rule applied to applications made from outside France.
 

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Hello EverHopeful. I can't remember if OP's mother is still alive. If not, OP will most probably need to apply for a Certificate de Nationalite francaise (all those requests are centralised in one single place in France ...Nantes I believe). If OP's mother is still alive, this is another matter and will likely make the process easier.

As mentioned in my earlier post, the French Consulate in UK can and will help/guide/recommend.

As for the translations. There are official (French Consulat approved) translators in the UK (list in this link https://uk.ambafrance.org/Les-tradu...consulat-general-dans-le-reste-du-Royaume-Uni )
 
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