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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm an american woman who would like to marry a french man, and then live in france.
I've been trying to do some research online, but haven't come up with much...will it be easier for us to get married in America and then for me to move to France, or to get married in France? If the latter, what would that entail? My applying for a long term visa, then going to france with all the necessary paperwork, ie. trandlated birth certificate, etc.?

Merci.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
but now im reading on the french consulate LA website that in order to apply for a long stay visa, i already need to have the "Certificat de publication des bans et de non opposition" - how is that supposed to work? i go to france, get that done, and then come back to the states to apply for the visa?
Sooo confused!
 

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There are two separate visa processes, one for a so-called "fiancée visa" (meaning you get a long-stay visa, go to France and get married there) and another for a spousal visa (meaning you get married in the US, get your visa and then go to France to live). You shouldn't need a Certificat de publication des bans et de non opposition if you are going for the spousal visa.

OK, back to your original question:
will it be easier for us to get married in America and then for me to move to France, or to get married in France?
It will involve considerably less hassle and fewer pieces of paper (some of them expensive) if you get married in the US and then apply for the spousal visa to move to France. (In my not-at-all humble opinion. :love:)

The one "awkward" piece of paper you'll need for the spousal visa is the "livret de famille." Basically, this is obtained from the consulate after your wedding. Lately, they seem to be requiring a "certified" copy of your wedding certificate (marriage license) and that can take a few weeks to get. Once you have all your paperwork, the actual visa can be issued pretty quickly.

The LA consulate requirements for a spousal visa are here: Long stay visa for spouses of a French national (France and French Overseas Departements) - Consulat Général de France à Los Angeles

Just for your reference, the US consulate in Paris publishes a nice summary of the requirements to marry in France (for a foreigner, that is) here: http://france.usembassy.gov/root/pdfs/paris-marriage.pdf

The specifics can vary (as the consulate notes) by town in France, and the certified translations they require are expensive (I was recently quoted 60€ a page - even for something as obvious as a birth certificate). The US consulate does not issue the "certificat du coutume" which has to be obtained from a dual-qualified attorney - expect to spend at least $250 - $500 if your local mairie requires that particular document.

Getting married in the US only takes a few standard documents, and chances are, your fiancé won't need translations done. Check with the consulate to see what they require for that "certified" wedding license and see if your town hall can help expedite that in any way after the ceremony.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your help!!!

Question...
What exactly is the livret de famille? Would both my fiance and I need to get one and do we get this from the french consulate in the states after we are married?

Then, after receiving the marriage license, will we both need to go to the french consulate to apply for my visa? Just trying to figure out how long we'd have to stay in the states, especially my fiance, b/c it is more difficult for him to take off work.

Merci encore!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ok after reading that link rom the embassy, i understand what the livret de famille is - so it's one per couple? and can it be obtained at the french consulate? if not, then where?

and it looks like my fiance will have to be in the US for a while to get this all done...is that correct? So of course, that begs the question: why do you think it's easier to get married in the US as opposed to France?
 

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ok after reading that link rom the embassy, i understand what the livret de famille is - so it's one per couple? and can it be obtained at the french consulate? if not, then where?

and it looks like my fiance will have to be in the US for a while to get this all done...is that correct? So of course, that begs the question: why do you think it's easier to get married in the US as opposed to France?
Right, the livret de famille is simply the French document that recognizes the marriage (and where you record your children's births as they occur).

Your French husband (by that time) doesn't actually have to stick around for all the paperwork, though it's probably a little easier if he does. Ultimately, you'll need a copy of his carte d'identité (i.e. to prove his French nationality) and his birth certificate (probably) to submit to the French consulate along with the certified marriage certificate. If he has to get back to France after the wedding, you either take the documents into the consulate ahead of time and ask them to "certify" the copies of the French docs - or have him send you certified copies (he can have the copies certified at the local mairie - it's just a stamp and signature swearing that the copy is a true copy of the original document) before you go in to get the livret de famille.

Search older threads here, but IIRC, the last person we had through here who went for the spousal visa said that the certified marriage certificate took "a couple months" to finally get, but once you have that, the livret de famille is delivered within a day or two, and the spousal visa within a week of that.

Other option is to return with your new husband as a "tourist" and just go back to LA after a couple months (within 90 days, at any rate) to process the paperwork once the certified marriage certificate has arrived.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ok looking through the forums and the last person i see is texasdeez - just sent him a message...
thanks for all your help bev!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok another question bev - just searched the forums for fiance visas and it didn't come up with much...why do you not recommend this way?
Although i did just look up obtaining a marraige license in my city and it does say it can be issued the same day!!! i will call to confirm this though before i get my hopes up.
 

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Ok another question bev - just searched the forums for fiance visas and it didn't come up with much...why do you not recommend this way?
Although i did just look up obtaining a marraige license in my city and it does say it can be issued the same day!!! i will call to confirm this though before i get my hopes up.
Going for the fiancé visa, you need to consider what you'll be required to produce as paperwork at the mairie in France. (See the Consulate description of how to get married in France.) It's not the visa that is the hassle - it's the wedding in France. (Been there, done that. Not that I wouldn't do it again - but paperwork wise, getting married in the US is FAR simpler for a foreigner.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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One point not covered is getting him into the US.

I presume he qualifies for VWP travel. It's perfectly legal to marry in the US, but the onus is on him to prove that he doesn't intend to live here afterwards. Obviously bringing wedding paraphernalia (for want of a better term!) through with him is going to raise suspicions. Be ready, but only if specifically asked, to document that he intends to return:
* knowledge of the procedure for applying for your spousal visa, perhaps with the completed forms.
* documents showing he has a place to live in France
* documents showing he has a job to return to in France
* and anything else you can think of that ties him to France

Always best to be prepared!
 

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A lot of people gave you good advices. The only thing that I would add if you get married in the US is to get the publication des bans done through the consulate first. It will save you lots of time!
If you don't get it done, it extend the time of getting your livret de famille by months. Yeah, I learned that the hard way.

You will also need an apostille added to your marriage certificate. Doing it by mail in WA took a couple of days max. I also believe that you can get it done in person in most states.

Also like Bev mentioned, getting married in the US is much easier than in France. Get a marriage license, wait the required time, say I do, sign on the dotted line and you are done. :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
thanks for all your help!
so we can get the bans through the french consulate in the states? and do we do this before or after we get married?

merci encore a tous!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
ok now that i know all about getting married in the US, what about if we decided to do it in France?
Just because it is probably easier for me to travel back and forth than for my fiance and perhaps it is quicker, although there is more paper work?
 

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ok now that i know all about getting married in the US, what about if we decided to do it in France?
Just because it is probably easier for me to travel back and forth than for my fiance and perhaps it is quicker, although there is more paper work?
I heard it is a bit more convoluted than doing it here in the US. Your fiance could probably get started and ask for the required paperwork at the mairie. Publication des bans also needs to be done in France.

I am sure some people will chime in about the process in France.
 

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ok now that i know all about getting married in the US, what about if we decided to do it in France?
Just because it is probably easier for me to travel back and forth than for my fiance and perhaps it is quicker, although there is more paper work?
Been there, done that. The first step is for your fiancé to ask at his local mairie for their list of requirements - including the requirements for a foreigner to marry. The requirements do vary by mairie, but the info sheet put out by the US Consulate gives you a decent overview of what they are likely to ask for.

The worst of it are the translations. If you're getting married in France, the translations usually need to be done by a "traducteur assermenté" - which is a translator who is also qualified (in theory anyhow) to validate the documents they are translating. This will run you 60€ a page, even for the simplest form (like a birth certificate).

There is also the "certificat de coutume" - which is not always required, though some mairies insist upon it, just because they can. This is a document prepared by a dual-qualified attorney that basically summarizes all the information from your other documents (birth certificate, statement of eligibility for marriage, proof of legal residence, etc.) in French. It cost me 2500 FF 15 years ago - which at that time was around $500. The attorney I went to claimed that in his local mairie (in Paris) they would accept it in lieu of the translations, but that didn't fly out in the boonies where we got married.

If you get married in France, the mairie will insist on notifying your town of residence in the US of the upcoming wedding (so they can "post the bans") no matter how hard you try to convince them that it isn't necessary in the US. The way around that is to set up residence in France at least 40 days before the wedding - though that involves arranging to receive some sort of bill in your name at the address you are claiming, so that you have the necessary proof of residence for all the other paperwork.

Oh, and don't forget, when you fiancé gets the list of required documents, he should probably also inquire about available dates at the mairie for the wedding. Only the civil wedding at the town hall counts, and it must be done before you can have a church wedding (if that's what you're interested in doing). Some towns have a waiting list for the use of their "salle de mariage" so it pays to book early.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks again Bev!
Im going to paris in a few weeks, so hopefully we can get this all done...if not he's coming here!
But after all the paperwork is done, I must come back to the states though in order to get my spousal visa, oui?
When you did it Bev, what did you think? was it difficult? worth it?
 

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Thanks again Bev!
Im going to paris in a few weeks, so hopefully we can get this all done...if not he's coming here!
But after all the paperwork is done, I must come back to the states though in order to get my spousal visa, oui?
When you did it Bev, what did you think? was it difficult? worth it?
When I got married 15 years ago, I was coming from residence in Germany, which should have been easier (in theory, at least). As it turns out, there wasn't really an established procedure in place for getting a visa before going to France to get married.

I never did get a visa (due to some misinformation from the French consulate in Germany, which had apparently never dealt with an American going to marry a French national before), wound up having my application for a carte de séjour denied. I was asked to leave the country (after the wedding) and kicked around for 20 months as a "sans papiers" before they finally decided to give me a carte de residente (valid for 10 years), since I had already lived in France long enough to be eligible for one.

Things are a little bit more organized these days and the visa procedures are far more accessible now on the Internet. But if I had the choice, I'd probably get married in the US and just wait out the spousal visa.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Thanks again Bev!
Im going to paris in a few weeks, so hopefully we can get this all done...if not he's coming here!
But after all the paperwork is done, I must come back to the states though in order to get my spousal visa, oui?
When you did it Bev, what did you think? was it difficult? worth it?
Hi Cidney,

I am a little late jumping in on this thread, however, I am from the US West Coast too and got married in France this September. My fiance actually got denied entering the US so we were forced to be married in France-which turned out to be a good thing. After obtaining the required materials list from the Mairie, we were married in 10 days after having the paperwork. I did have to go back to the US-then San Francisco for the spouse visa. I went on a Wednesday, they didnt even ask for all of the paperwork, and I had the visa at my house that Monday. With all of these new immigration issues coming to play with the OFII, I am happy we did it this way.
Let me know if you want more details. Good Luck!
 
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