Registration of the Birth

Understand what to do to make sure that the birth of your new child is properly registered...

The Déclaration de Naissance or birth registration is obligatory for any child born in France. It must be made within five working days of the birth, not including the date of the birth itself. The registration is free. The notification must be made at the local Mairie of the place of birth, by someone who attended the birth (generally the father). Any person who has attended the birth may make register the birth, but they must take the signed birth certificate - extrait d'acte de naissance - proof of residence, and proof of identity.

  • The request for the birth certificate (demande d’acte de naissance) can be made online via the Service Public website (in French).
A request for a birth certificate must include:

  • the full name of the baby at the time of birth
  • the date and place of birth
  • father's full name
  • mother's full name, including maiden name

French nationality

Any child born to at least one parent who is a French national has automatic French nationality (whether born in France or abroad). A child born in France, where neither parent is French may receive French nationality (on request) at age 18 years if they are resident in France. A child who has lived in France for at least five years from age 11 onward may receive French nationality (on request) at the age of 18.

Note that if you give birth in France, and you and the father are foreign and holders of a residency permit, you can apply for a special identity card for the child, called titre d'identité républicain (TIR). This is valid for 5 years and means that you don’t need to apply for a visa for the child if you go abroad (for example on holiday) and then come back to France. The child will still need a passport to travel though.

Registration of birth at an Embassy

Embassies recommend that their nationals resident in France register the birth of the baby at their home Consulate.

Naming the child

Parents married in France or issued with a French family record book (Livret de Famille), should return to the town hall with the birth certificate (signed by the doctor or midwife) so that the child's name can be entered. For any information, contact the Marie of the birthplace.

Under certain conditions you can choose the surname of your child, which can either be the father’s surname, the mother’s surname, or both surnames.

Unmarried Parents: Process to Legally Recognise or Acknowledge a Child

If the parents of a newborn are unmarried or are in a civil partnership (Pacte Civil de Solidarité, PACS), the rules apply differently to the mother and the father. While the legal maternal relationship with the child is automatically established with the mother's name appearing on the birth certificate (Acte de Naissance), the father has three possible ways to legally recognise the child (Acte de reconnaissance):

  1. Before birth: By a visit to any Mairie and presenting identity; the Acte de Reconnaissance is delivered immediately. The parents have the choice of joint recognition of the legal rights of their child.
  2. At birth: After the birth of the child, the father goes to the Mairie of the place where the child was born within three days of the birth to claim legal rights (reconnaître son enfant). If it is the first child born to the family, a family book is created (livret de famille).
  3. After birth: The father can, at any time, request legal recognition of the child. He must an present identity document at the Mairie (taking the Acte de Naissance if it's a different Mairie from the one where the birth was registered), or at a notaire.