The question of who became Algerian on independence was particularly controversial, by comparison with other former colonies of France, thanks to the very large population of French origin that had been living in the country. The 1963 nationality code gave French-born persons resident in Algeria were given the right to naturalise, providing they renounced their French nationality; however, the vast majority chose to leave. In relation to those born after independence, the law included a limited double jus soli provision; but with a presumption in favour of those of Muslim religion.

Nationality in Algeria today is governed by the 1970 Code de la Nationalité as modified in 2005 to remove gender discrimination.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed concern that, despite the removal of gender discrimination in the law, children of foreign fathers are sometimes required to obtain permission of a family judge to transmit nationality to children. The committee regretted that birth registration systems in Algeria were not equally accessible to all parents in the territory, and in particular that there are deficiencies in the system of birth registration for children born out of wedlock, and refugee and stateless children.