How to Obtain a French Birth Certificate

By Teo Spengler - Updated March 24, 2017
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If you were born in France, you can get a French birth certificate by going to, or writing to, the city hall where your birth was recorded and providing your birth specifics. If you are French, but were born abroad, you may be able to get a copy of your birth certificate online. It will be available if your birth was recorded at a French consulate.

Born in France? Contact City Hall for Your French Birth Certificate

When a baby is born in France, its birth is recorded in the city hall of the town in which the parents live. If you were born in France, you can get a copy of your birth certificate by going to that city hall with information about your birth.

You'll need an identification document, like a passport or a French ID card, to prove who you are. You'll also need your parents' names, including your mother's maiden name, and the date and place of the birth.

If you are far from the city of your birth, or it is inconvenient to travel there, you can write to the city hall asking for a copy of your birth certificate. Enclose copies of all of the same information you would need if you went there in person.

Born Abroad? Go Online for Your French Birth Certificate

If you were born abroad to French parents, you are French. Your parents most likely recorded your birth at the French consulate office nearest to your place of birth. In this case, you can order your birth certificate online at pastel.diplomatie.gouv.fr/dali/index2.html. Follow the instructions to obtain your French birth certificate.

Those born abroad also have the option of sending a written request to: Service central d’Etat, Civil 11 Rue de la Maison Blanche, 44000 Nantes, France

Again, include your full name, the date and place of your birth, and the full names of your mother and father. Don't forget to enclose a copy of your passport or French ID card.

Types of French Birth Certificates

When you request a copy of your French birth certificate, you will be asked whether you want une copie intégrale or un extrait d'acte de l'état civil. The former is a complete copy of the certificate, including the names of both of your parents. The other is an abbreviated version that merely states where and when you were born.

French laws limit those who can get access to complete birth records to close family members, so the process for getting une copie intégrale is somewhat more complex. You have to establish your identity and relationship to the family. But this may not be necessary. If the reason you are seeking a copy of your birth certificate is to obtain a French passport, you only need the abbreviated version of the document.

About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.

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