The "Journée défense et citoyenneté ", a day of national defense instruction

What are the "military obligations"?

The Journée Défense et Citoyenneté (JDC), formerly known as the Journée d’Appel de Préparation à la Défense (JAPD) until 2010, is a day established in 1998 in France as part of Jacques Chirac’s reform of France’s national service during his first term as president which also included the suspension of conscription.

JAPD is designed to be a step on the "path to citizenship”. It is a substitute for the draft, designed to assume numerous roles with which it was vested: citizenship, duty of remembrance, youth awareness regarding defence issues, statistics on "draftees”, strengthening the bond between the army and its nation... Since 2007, the European issue is addressed through citizenship and defence.

On July 1, 2010, the name was changed to "Journée Défense et Citoyenneté”, but the modalities rest the same. The content, however, is modified through an increased awareness of citizenship and the rights and duties associated with it.

What is the census?

The census of all French citizens, made by the mayor, the regional consular authority or state representative, is a national service obligation.

Everyone, male and female, possessing French nationality acquired through naturalization, declaration or birth, must be included in the census between the date of his/her 16th birthday and the end of the third following month or the month following the date of acquisition of French nationality before the age of 25. In the event of residence abroad, the inclusion in the registry of French citizens residing abroad serves as the office of the census.

People with disabilities or any disabling disease who do not wish to participate in the Journée Défense et Citoyenneté must present their disability card or a medical certificate issued by a licensed physician to the Ministry of Défense.

A census certificate, to be guarded carefully, is notably necessary to partake in baccalauréat exams and state competitions, and will be issued and sent by mail within 3 months following the individual’s 16th birthday. No duplicates will be issued.

If the census is not timely recorded, access to state competitions and examinations (eg, baccalauréats) will be prohibited. However, correction of the situation will be permitted at anytime prior to the individual’s 25th birthday.
If you have not yet partaken in the census and wish to do so, the first step is to register with the registry of French citizens established abroad.

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 register of French outside of France.

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. If the person is summoned to a date prior to examinations, the census certificate will suffice.

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

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.


For more information you can write to this email address.

Last modified on 17/08/2015

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