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An American Born In France

You’ve heard his name from us many times before. Jean Taquet is a Frenchman married to an American who knows both sides of the Atlantic coin. He’s a French jurist and an associate member of the Delaware Bar Association, specializing in giving advice on civil, criminal and commercial law in France to (mostly) curious Americans. He’s certainly helped me on more than one occasion.

Jean is a regular speaker at the International Living Working and Living in France Conferences on the subject of immigration — a very involved subject! And for the last 9 years, Jean has published an informative Q and A column that we republish each month online and as an Insider Paris Guide in the form of a compilation of all the years in the “The Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France” — it’s fascinating reading!

Today, we are offering up one small portion of his December column — but don’t hesitate to read the entire column by clicking on:/parlerparis/practicalanswers.html

If a woman gives birth in France, does her child automatically gain French citizenship, as in the U.S., where children born there automatically have American citizenship? I’m a Russian living in New York City, and I have dual citizenship, Russian and American. Would you please explain how this works in France? Also, how expensive is a delivery there?

French laws are rarely the same as U.S. laws, and assuming that they are can lead to major problems. Being born in France, in and of itself, grants absolutely no legal right to French residency or nationality. If you were to come to France seven months pregnant or more, stay here until you deliver the baby (i.e. less than three months, compatible with your tourist status), then go back to the U.S., your child would not be French and no one in your family would be able to claim any right to live in France on such grounds. In any case, most airlines do not allow pregnant women to travel after the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. The cost of delivering a baby in France is around 3,600 euros.

Now, let’s interpret your question very differently. Let’s say that, for some urgent reason — e.g. you must flee the U.S. — you come to France pregnant and wish to stay in France. In such a case, you would go straight to the nearest public hospital, ask to reserve a room for the expected delivery date and meet with a social worker to explain your situation. If everything worked well, you would be put under the “aide médicale d’état” program, which pays medical bills for illegal immigrants who need such help. This way the delivery would cost little or nothing, at most about US$200, mostly for the phone bill, TV rental and food while in the hospital.

With the help of the social worker and possibly a lawyer, requesting a residency permit in France could then be considered. At first glance, there is no provision that governs this type of situation. However, considering the importance the French courts and civil servants place on legal decisions regarding the protection of children, I am confident that eventually you would get a carte de séjour. Being American would help you a lot in dealing with the French administration; you would tend to get much more favorable treatment than a citizen of a developing country.

Much later on, when your child turned 13, he/she would be eligible for French nationality on the grounds of having been born in France of a foreign parent and having lived in France for most of his/her life. As the mother of a French child you would then be guaranteed French residency and would have an excellent case for obtaining French nationality, as well.

Jean Taquet for Parler Paris

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]

P.S. To subscribe to his monthly newsletter, email Jean Taquet


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