Being a French national, even when living overseas, requires certain civil obligation to be respected. This is the case notably with the Census and the Journée Défense et Citoyenneté, which is a legal obligation for all, both males and females.
Young French people who are living overseas, regardless of their place of birth, have the same obligations as those who live in France.
It is thus compulsory to register at the French Consulate (Census) and to partake in the Journée Défense et Citoyenneté (military and civic education) when overseas. You can find more information on this website.
What is the Census?
The census of all French citizens is mandatory and must be done within three months of turning sixteen.
If the French nationality was acquired, before the age of 25, through naturalization or declaration, the registration to the census must be done within the month following the date of acquisition of the French nationality. In the event of residence abroad, the inclusion in the registry of French citizens residing abroad serves as the office of the census.
A census certificate, to be kept carefully, is necessary to partake in baccalauréat exams and enrol at university. No duplicates will be issued.
Who does the JDC concern?
The Journée Défense et Citoyenneté is required of citizens with French nationality, residing in France or abroad.
How to participate in the JDC?
You will be invited by mail between the census date and your 18th birthday, or within the 3 months following your inclusion in the census, if you acquire French nationality between the age of 18 and 25.
The convening order will reach you around 45 days prior to the date of the session. A response from you is necessary. Your participation is mandatory, except in cases of a justifying «force majeure» such as illness, serious family emergency…
If you are not registered, the first step is to register in the registry of French people living abroad.
What purpose does the certificate of participation in the JDC serve?
At the end of the JDC, an individual certificate of participation is issued. This certificate must be presented in order to enrol in baccalauréat exams, obtain a driver’s license and participate in state competitions.
Similarly, enrolment at a public university requires the following from students of French nationality, according to their age: a military census certification or a certificate of participation in the Journée Défense et Citoyenneté.
What to do in case of loss or theft of such certificates?
The certificates and census participation in the Journée Défense et Citoyenneté are unique and no duplicates can be issued. If lost, a military certificate may nevertheless be issued by the Bureau du Service National (BSN).
If you have been included in the census abroad, it is the BSN in Perpignan. You must apply for the military certificate through email to email@example.com
Are youths with dual citizenship affected?
Youths possessing dual nationalities must meet the obligations of both countries; however, there are some bilateral agreements which require that only one single country’s obligations are met. You will be informed of these terms and agreements at your census.
It is recommended that you carefully read through the mail sent to you and that you respond in a timely manner. Often, there is an option in which you may choose to fulfill your military obligations for one of the two countries in which you hold citizenship. This option requires that a timely letter from you is received within strict deadlines.
Is it possible to be exempted from the JDC?
Only those with severe disabilities or persons with a disabling illness are exempt from the JDC, pending proof of justification.