The French National Assembly has approved a statute for French Polynesia to make it a so-called overseas country within the republic.
The change is part of France's decentralisation process and is aimed at granting the territory more powers in line with requests from the French Polynesian leadership.
A broad autonomy package was passed in the senate last month and the assembly is expected to vote on it by the end of the day.
The amendments have the backing of only the ruling party, with several MPs deploring that the French Polynesian population is not being consulted.
A former overseas minister, Christian Paul, says the changes will confiscate democracy in French Polynesia.