I am currently in France with my 18 year old son. We live in the US. We both have American passports and I also have a French passport. My son is waiting for a "Certificate of French Citizenship" from French authorities, and this could take a while.

We entered France on November 4th 2016, can we leave the Schengen zone for a few days, like say to to England, and automatically get his passport stamped for another three months when re-entering France? How does it work?

  • 5
    If you have French citizenship then you don't need to leave and re-enter to stay longer. The lack of a passport doesn't mean you lack the rights of a citizen.
    – Calchas
    Dec 30, 2016 at 11:10
  • Note that the rule for non-citizens in the Schengen area is that you can only stay for 90 days in every consecutive 180 day time window. So you don't get your passport stamped for another 90 days when returning, but rather for what was left from your previous 90 day stay (but I don't think that they will actually put a date into the passport). Either way, returning to France will not be a problem. How things work with waiting for the "Certificate of French Citizenship" is however beyond the scope of this page. If I were you, I would take the letter that you applied for it with you to Britain.
    – DCTLib
    Dec 30, 2016 at 11:19
  • 4
    Do you have something you need to do in England, or are you merely proposing a channel hop because you hope it will improve you son's legal situation? In the latter case, staying in the Schengen area while the French authorities verify his citizenship would be a strictly safer option. Dec 30, 2016 at 11:40
  • 3
    If your son leaves the Schengen area after spending more than 90 days in a 180-day period, or close to 90 days, and is unable to convince the border officials that he is French when he tries to reenter, he will likely be denied entry on the basis of the 90/180 rule. That is why people are advising you to remain in France until he gets his papers.
    – phoog
    Dec 30, 2016 at 12:41
  • 1
    Christine, on what basis did your son qualify for French nationality?
    – Crazydre
    Dec 30, 2016 at 14:02

1 Answer 1


If your son is a French citizen, he can enter and remain in France, period. All he needs is proof of it.

Since he is a French national by virtue of you being French, all it takes is:

  • Your French passport;

  • His US passport;

  • Proof that he applied for a certificate of French citizenship;

  • His birth certificate

  • (recommended for the UK) A printout of the French nationality law section stating he is French.

When entering the UK and France, he should present these documents to facilitate passport control (if going to the UK by air, you should join the UK/EU queue at the British as well as the French airport).

That said, unless you actually want to visit the UK, don't bother channel-hopping. Like I said, your son can remain in the Schengen Area - and if he couldn't, then channel-hopping would not help, as "pure" US citizens can only stay for 90 days in a 180-day period.

As soon as he gets his certificate, he can get an ID card or passport

(TIP: a French ID card, which is free, is good as a standalone document for travel - including immigration control - in virtually all of Europe, Turkey, Georgia, parts of North Africa and much of the Eastern Caribbean. Combined with a US passport, it's unlikely to be worth the €86 for your son to get a French passport as well)


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