National Identity Card

The National Identity Card is an official document which allows any citizen to prove his identity, and his French Nationality as long as its validity has not expired. Possession of it is not compulsory; it is free and valid for ten years.

Since 1988, the national identity card is called secure national identity card (CNIS)

Does the CNIS allow the holder to travel?

The CNIS allows one travel abroad:

- in all countries of the European Union

- in neighbouring countries of France (Andorra, Monaco, Switzerland)

- in States which accept it as a travel document. Fore more information
see the title “Entry and Residence” in the site advice to tourists of the Ministry of External Affairs.

A minor holding a valid CNIS can visit member countries of the European Union for a maximum period of three months, if accompanied by a person having parental authority over her/him, or if she/he possesses an attestation authorising her/him to leave French territory. Consequently, a minor can not leave the territory of France all alone, only with the CNIS

To which authority should one apply to procure a CNIS?

In France it is delivered by Prefects and Sub-Prefects.

Abroad it is delivered at the consular offices since 20th June 2005.

It takes about six weeks for the issued of the card in a foreign country.

One must first be enrolled in the register for French settled abroad. This formality can be undertaken at the same time when applying for CNIS.

Supporting documents to be provided

It is compulsory that the applicant comes in person to submit the application and a digital print of the left index finger or in its absence, of the right index finger will be taken.

- the application form

It is completed and signed on the spot

- two ID photos

  • recent
  • perfect resemblance
  • front view
  • bareheaded
  • size 35 X 45mm

One proof of residential address among the following

  • Title deed of property or rent agreement
  • Rent receipt, gas or electricity receipt
  • Insurance certificate for the residence

One proof of identity and nationality among the following:

  • Valid National Identity Card
  • Valid passport, or expired less than two years back (only for purposes of identification),
  • extract of birth certificate; If these documents are not enough by themselves to justify the French nationality, the consulate may require the production of one of the following:
    • registered copy of the declaration of French nationality
    • complete copy of birth certificate specifically containing the mention about French nationality
    • decree of naturalization or restoration of French nationality (certified copy, copy of the Official Gazette or a certificate issued by the Ministry responsible for naturalization).
    • birth certificate that bears the words of the decree of naturalization or restoration of French nationality. If the CNIS is lost or stolen, the declaration of loss or theft of the earlier national identity card.

For more information please visit the site of the Ministry of External and European Affairs.

France e-diplomacy

Last modified on 01/12/2011

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