American marrying a French man - help please!!

13 Replies



Hello All,I am an American woman (28) who wants to marry my French boyfriend of over 5 years and settle long term in France. I'm hoping that someone who has had experience in this can give me some advice, because the information out there is so confusing!Do I need the Long Stay Visa with Intent to Marry in order to get this done, or can I do it on my three month tourist visa?What's the first step for my boyfriend, who is French and lives in Paris? Do we need to get a lawyer to help us with this or can we do it ourselves? And what about "proving" that we have a real relationship (which we do!)Any info AT ALL will be appreciated, and I'll be happy to take people out for drinks/dinner when I'm back in Paris!!thanks,Emma

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barbie-72522 1310767117

Congratulations! I found the info on this page to be really useful, good luck!

mayelum 1311018351

Also, you may want to email : he helps people with their immigration problem. The first hour of consultation is free...and you can tak it from there.

P.S: I too would like to marry a french citizen and relocate to Paris in the next year or two. I live in California. Any help you can offer, would be appreciated.

EmmaWhite 1311021157

Thanks very much for all your help guys, it's really useful! So many kind, helpful people out there on the interwebs. .

My boyfriend in France is going to meet with an immigration lawyer in our town (just out of Paris) on Wednesday. I'll let you know what he finds out.

Oh, and I'm also from California!

CJLS 1311085669

Hi Emma,
I got married in Paris last year (I'm American he's French). To clarify...are you wanting to get married IN France? If so, do you live in Paris or Cali? If Paris, do you already have some kind of visa? If Cali, I think you need a specific visa-check on the French consulate's website for California (or that region). He can go to the local Mairie (town hall) in his arrondissement and pick up information on what you guys need to have to get married here. It can vary for each city and each town hall. If you are getting married in the US, it's different. I'd be happy to answer questions if you can clarify the stuff above.

EmmaWhite 1311305544

Hey Cynthia!

Thanks so much for your offer to help. Yeah, I should probably clarify a few things. Our situation is fairly typical, I'm Californian, he's French, and we want to get married in France. I've written to the French consulate in LA but haven't heard back from them (typical) on if I need to get the visa with intent to marry before I go over. I'd just as soon go over on a 90 day tourist visa, get married, and come back and get my long stay visa for a spouse of a French citizen around Christmas. It seems simplest and many people have told me there should be no problem doing this (no one official of course!). So that's our situation.

The plot thickens in terms of the information my boyfriend has been getting from an immigration lawyer. .

So my boyfriend has been speaking to a lawyer in France and has heard this puzzling bit of news:

Apparently marriage is not even a sure way of getting a visa to be in France. The lawyer said that I will have to talk to people to prove that I have enough money to support myself and that I have a skill that would serve me (and France) well, and possibly produce proof that there would be people willing to hire me?

Has anyone heard about this? Apparently there are also multiple marriage contracts that one can get, and we have to figure out which one to get.

Anyone ever heard of this?

Cynthia, any advice/help/brief or lengthy stories of your recent experience getting married would be MUCH appreciated! Like I said before, there is definitely drinks/dinner at stake for taking the time to help me with this :)

CJLS 1311367496

Hi Emma,

I had typed alot of stuff and then accidently hit the back button and it erased everything-blah!

Your lawyer is misinformed. Being married to a French citizen gives you the right to a spousal visa (called "vie prive et famille") which gives you the right to work. What he described sounds like a visa specifically to come to France to work. You really don't need a lawyer to get married in France, esp since they don't seem to know what they are talking about. Being PACSed doesn't give someone the right to get married, but marriage does.

There are different types of contracts for the marriage. We did the regular one that keeps assets before marriage separate and assets acquired after marriage owned together. It's possible to have assets acquired after marriage kept separate also. Not sure if there is another.

Here are a couple of websites that provide good info about the process... (from the embassy)

Requirements can vary by each town hall, so he needs to go to the one in his district or city and get a list of requirements. There are more complicated requirements for you since you aren't French. Some you will need to be here ahead of time to get things translated, or to get stuff done at the embassy, turn in the paperwork at least 10 days before the ceremony (both people must be present), etc. I would call your consulate there to ask if you need a visa, I'm not positive about it. French administration can be frustrating, I wouldn't expect an answer back by email. Take a look at the websites and have your fiance go get info from his mairie-that will help you guys know what the next step is. do you plan on doing a religious ceremony or just the civil ceremony (this is required before any religious ceremonies can take place). Do you have specific questions? Do you speak French?

mayelum 1311631747

Good luck! Let me know what you find out...I don't have a French boyfriend yet, but I would like to relocate to Paris next year when I turn 55 and ready to retire. If you can help, let me know....I am a black professional woman from San Diego area.

EmmaWhite 1311803201

Hey everyone! Thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement. I am usually pretty laid back about these things, but one new thing that we learned today when my boyfriend went to the marie where we live in Suresnes (just outside Paris) is stressing me out a little. Apparently the marie will want to meet with me and assess my level of French (not a problem) but also question me about my recent work history. The reality is that after I studied in France for a year two years ago, I basically spent a year traveling around and being supported by my parents, i.e. not working. I also did some under the table tutoring, but that definitely wouldn't provide what they are looking for, i.e. pay slips, and I'm hesitant to say that I did anything illegal, of course.
Has anyone else run into this?? Can I really be denied a marriage if I don't have any recent bulletin de salaire? I'm able to show that I have enough money to support myself in my bank account until I can start work in France. Basically I want to be prepared to know what to say to them so I don't say anything that will jeapordize my application.

Thanks again for all the help you've given me already, it means more than I can say!



mayelum 1311803833

Email Jean Taquet....he is a French guy married to an American and he knows quite a lot about these things. he lives in Paris and New York as well. His email is he does not charge for the first consultation...and you can even have ALL your questions answered on the free consultation....he is that good. He also has a newsletter that you can subscribe to free...

Jean Taquet
A Survival Kit for Paris
52 rue Notre Dame de Lorette
75009 PARIS
phone: (33)(0)
phone: (33)(0)
cell: (33) (0)
Fax: (33)(0)
The Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France

CJLS 1311805804

That is absurd.
I can understand about the language part, that might be how they decide
if they will require you to have a translator for the ceremony, but the work
history? I’ve never heard of that being
any part of any requirement. I didn’t
have to do anything like that. For the
marriage I didn’t have to show that I could support myself of anything like
that either (at that point I hadn’t worked for almost a year, almost everything
was in my then bobyfriend’s, now husband’s, name -they didn’t care). I’m not sure they can deny you the right to
get married if it is your fiance’s mairie and he has lived there for however
many days is necessary (which is not more than 60, can’t remember exactly) and
you provide the paperwork required by French law. Having
worked, not having worked, parents’ providing-it shouldn’t make any difference.
I’m of the opinion that it’s none of it
is their business. Did they say why they needed this information? If they can’t explain a real reason why they
need this (that they have on paper and give to everyone) then maybe your fiancé
should be a little rude (I’m from the south and hate being rude, but I’m not
sure they have any legal reason to ask for that). The consulat, in regard for the visa-maybe
for the future plans, but the past work history-again, no. If he went again and asked someone else he
might get a different answer. Did they
give him a written list of what is needed?

Jen-Niemi-999915 1627611176

I am Vietnamese-American, 30, I want to live in France and maybe even get married to a French citizen. Does anyone have advice on how I can materialize this?

Richlikestosurf 1629292215

So this is a very old thread but I will respond to Jen-Nem , and maybe this will help others. Firstly, you will need to find a French person you'd like to marry, might be the most difficult part, hehe.. Next look at your options. I am American and recently I've been PACS'ed with my french partner. Please look up PACS on french info website, it is a civil contract. *TLDR - this was surprisingly simple, very cheap (I think it was free) and took no longer than 15 minutes granted you make an appointment in advance and are prepared! 

We did this in Valenciennes where her listed address was and the Mairie was extremely helpful. THe paperwork was not difficult to arrange on both our ends and I was not required to speak much french at the time. All in all, it took very little time to arrange, granted that we were in swift contact (even during covid) on the phone and like i said they were very helpful. Not sure how other departments are but I found the administration very accomodating. 

So, we visit, sign a few papers and were granted PACS, all in about 15 minutes. 

I took this paperwork as well as the others required to American Visa services (who have a bad reputation in NYC) and with a few other papers I was granted a 1 year long stay visa for visit (even during covid). The pacs is a serious contract in france although USA does not recognize it. I am still considered 'single' in America, and we will look into getting her paperwork sorted for USA but probably not until we have kids because US visas are not hard to get (for short term, we don't want to live there lol).

I must visit the prefecture to extend my one year visa soon and apply for a carte de sejour which will allow me working rights. I haven't looked into to much more but i hope this helps a bit. As far as I am concerned you can keep renewing your carte de sejour that you get after your first long stay visa. At some point (I believe 4 years or so) if you have been working, paying taxes and have been in a civil contract for this time, you should qualify for EU citizenship, which will open a world of opportunity. How exciting!

Good luck to whoever reads this! 

And don't forget to keep studying french! 


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