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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Possibly a silly question, but would this be allowed?

I'm going to improve my French in Paris from January 2014 until the end of May. I'm American and my BF is French, we would like to get a civil union (pacte civil de solidarité) while I'm there. We're getting married in my home state in December 2014 and will get officially married in France after, but would like the civil union in France first to hopefully facilitate the moving process for me.

Would a civil union help me attain a visa without needing a work/study purpose, even if temporary?

Would I need any special documentation aside from the obvious (my visa, birth certificate, passport, etc) for the court?
 

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First off, getting PACSed is a relatively simple process, though it is slightly more complicated for a foreigner than a French person. You can find the list of documents that you as a foreigner need here. You are allowed to get PACSed on a student visa.

That said, getting PACSed to facilitate the moving process probably won't work. Most prefectures require proof of you and your partner having lived together for at least 1 year and the PACS is not guaranteed to get you a titre de sejour vie privée and familiale, it is only "a factor taken into consideration." So if you and your boyfriend have been living apart, then it's probably a no-go. If you've been living together in the US then you may be able to make a case of it. Since you're not currently legally resident in France, you'd be needing to get a visa from the consulate rather than going through the prefecture and - while the prefecture and the consulate often have contradictory rules - I don't see the consulate being much more willing to give you a family visa based on a PACS only with no proof of living together. Normally you need a livret de famille to get a family visa, which a PACS doesn't get you. But I haven't heard many stories of people attempting to getting PACSed and then apply for a family visa back in the US, so I'm less familiar with how that would go down.

That said, you can come over on a visitor visa as a fiancé(e) if you show that you are going to get married in the next 6 months, so you don't have to wait till after you're married to come over... Though then I believe you'll need to wait till the end of your first year in France to switch to a titre de séjour vie privée et familiale that will give you the right to work and everything, whereas if you apply for the family visa from the US with the livret de famille the process happens faster. It just depends on where you want to do your waiting.
 

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If you are planning on getting married in the US, you won't be able to "re-do" the formalities in France. If you get married in the US, you should check with the French consulate BEFORE the wedding to arrange to "post the banns" - which will save you a certain level of hassle from the Consulate later.

After the wedding, you need an apostilled copy of your marriage certificate to apply to have the marriage transcribed to French records (basically, to have it recorded in your French spouse's birth records) and to get a livret de famille. This process can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months. Only after you have the livret de famille can you apply for a spouse visa (or to change status if you are already in France on a long-stay visa).

To be honest about it, getting PACS'd in France isn't really going to simplify much for you. You would have to already be on a long-stay visa anyhow, and changing your visa status from there will actually be easier (certainly more "automatic") if you are married rather than PACS'd.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So what if we instead got married in France with my student visa? Possible? If so, how long would it then take to receive the livret de famille? I imagine I have to go back to the states (after my courses in late May) to then go back to France with a new status.

Thank you for the help!
 

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You may be able to get married in France when you're there on a student visa - but unless you're on a long-stay renewable student visa (i.e. a one-year student visa) you'll probably have to go back to the US to apply for your spouse visa.

The livret de famille is normally delivered within a week or two if you get married in the local town hall. Just be sure to check with the town hall well before you want to get married, because getting married in France as a foreigner involves quite a paper chase before they will accept your dossier. Depending on the town your fiancé lives in, there may be a waiting list for the salle des mariages, too.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
One more thing, can one still marry on a regular 90-day tourist visa? I'm definitely fine with coming back to the states afterward, since I have to do that anyway to celebrate there too.

Thank you so much!
 

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I haven't heard of any mairies that require a long-stay visa in order to marry - just be aware that it takes a good 30 to 45 days to assemble all the various paperwork you need to get married as a foreigner in France. (Basically translations and a few documents you have to get from the US consulate in Paris.)

On your return to the US to apply for the spouse visa, don't forget to factor in the time to make an appointment with the French consulate, and you will also need your French spouse's identity documents, often the original plus copies.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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