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Bitesize Guide to

Children's Residency

This Bitesize guide covers what you need to know about children’s residency and travel documents in France.

We are all naturally concerned with protecting our children. As minors, they are covered by our own rights of residency represented by our Carte de Séjour.

But, what else can we do?


French nationality

A child born in France to non-French parents, who has lived and attended school in France for the qualifying period, can obtain French nationality (Link 1).

This could pave the way for non-French-born siblings to acquire French nationality (Link 2).


Travelling outside France

To ensure smooth border crossings, there is a special travel document for children: the DCEM (Link 3) (Document de circulation pour étranger mineur).)

The DCEM is valid for five years and can be obtained for children of EU and TCN (Third Country National) parents who hold a Carte de Séjour (CdS).

Free for EU citizens, it costs 45 euros for TCNs (Third Country Nationals).

Travelling without a parent

When children are travelling without one of their parents, they always need an AST (Link 4) (Autorisation de sortir du terroir).

Residence permits

At age 16, in some préfectures and under certain conditions, children may be able to apply for their own Carte de Séjour (Link 5).

At age 18, any young person can apply for their own CdS.

Please read our Bitesize guide about Applying for a WA RP once you reach 18 years of age (16/17 in some circumstances)

Study abroad


If your child is intending to study abroad, they risk losing their rights to residency or/and French nationality.

Ensuring they return home for the holidays is important in order to maintain their rights.




The following links all point to official information on the French government website:

  1. French nationality for children born in France of foreign parents

  2. Nationality for the brother or sister of a French national

  3. Information about the DCEM (Document de circulation pour étranger mineur)

  4. Information about the (Autorisation de sortir du terroir)

  5. Carte de Séjour (CdS) for minors



This is one of a series of guides and information sheets produced by Remain in France Together (RIFT). RIFT is a statutory association governed by French law and managed and run by volunteers. It exists to uphold the rights of British citizens living in, or moving to, France affected by the UK withdrawal from the EU.

The information is for general guidance and does not constitute legal advice. It is offered free for personal, non-commercial use.

The main source of information to keep up-to-date with developments in citizens’ rights is our website

Page updated January 2023


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