How to Obtain a French Passport

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Consulates throughout the U.S. can help with acquiring a French passport.
Consulates throughout the U.S. can help with acquiring a French passport. (Image: Isabelle Mory/iStock/Getty Images)

Whether you live in France or abroad, getting your French biometric passport requires an appointment, several documents and a patience. Only French citizens can have French passports, and all French passports are issued from France. Biometric passports, also called e-passports, contain a chip in addition to a photo and printed information to verify your identity. To apply for your passport, you'll need to visit your country's French embassy or your regional consulate, or your town hall if you live in France. French passports are valid for 10 years for adults 18 years and older, and five years for children.

Things You'll Need

  • Declaration of loss or theft of passport (optional)
  • Old passport or other photo I.D.
  • Proof of French citizenship
  • Proof of residence
  • Passport fee

File a declaration of loss or theft of your passport at your consulate, if your passport was lost or stolen. You will need this declaration before you can get your new passport.

Book an initial appointment with your consulate, either online or by phone. If you live in France, your town hall may also issue your passport. Your initial appointment may require weeks of waiting, depending on your consulate, so schedule in advance.

Show an ID or official document with a photo to confirm your identity at your appointment. If you have a secure national French ID or an old biometric passport, you will not need to show proof of French citizenship For all other IDs, you will need to show proof of your French citizenship with a copy of your birth certificate, naturalization documents or confirmation on the International Register of French Nationals.

Give proof of residence at your appointment. You can use your old passport, a driver's license or non-driver ID, a document showing property ownership or rental lease, utility bill, house insurance statement or an authorized letter indicating you're a student, if you live in a dorm. If you live abroad and you're already on the International Register of French Nationals living abroad, you will not need a proof of residence.

Stand for your photo, which will be taken on-site, and provide your fingerprints. Children younger than 6 will not need to be fingerprinted.

Pay the fees for your passport. The fees vary based on the consulate, and you may be charged more if you are not already on the International Register of French Nationals. Contact your consulate for fee information.

Return to the same place where you had your initial appointment to pick up your passport. All passports are issued from France, so depending on your location it may take several weeks to receive your passport.

Tips & Warnings

  • Children younger than than 18 years old will need a guardian present, along with proof of guardianship, to get a passport.
  • If your passport is lost or stolen and you need a replacement immediately to travel, your consulate may issue a temporary emergency passport or a laissez-passer to re-enter France. Contact your consulate as soon as possible, as the replacement process may still take several days.

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