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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I recently married my husband, who is a French citizen.

I sent off the marriage transcription so I could receive a livret de famille to the French Consulate in Los Angeles--they received the document on May 25.

My visa appointment is scheduled for July 27 and I still have not received the livret de famille or any updates.

Does anyone know how long this process usually takes? I'm starting to get worried as I already have my flight tickets purchased, but I've read on other forums that it can anger the consulates to contact them or bother them about these matters.

Any advice or tips would be appreciated.

-D
 

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You may have cut it a bit close with the flight reservations. The transcription can take "a few" months - and the time can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. Key among those are the timing of your application and where your husband was born in France.

Processing of just about any official document slows down over the summer - and potentially during the month of May, due to the high number of French holidays during that month. The transcription has to be done by the mairie (town hall) of the town in which your husband was born, and if it's a small-ish town, staffing at the mairie may be reduced during the summer months.

There really isn't much you can do by contacting the consulate. Once your dossier has been sent back to France, it's up to the system over there (post, local mairie, etc.). Your best option at this point is to develop a "Plan B" - if you don't hear anything by <pick a date in early to mid July> you should consider making arrangements to delay your flight - possibly until September or October if possible. Once it gets into the July/August vacation period, it's highly unlikely you'll hear anything until "La Rentrée" i.e. back to school time in September.

Or, you could get lucky and someone at the mairie will be anxious to clear their desk of all pending matters before they leave on vacation. You just have to wait and see.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Bev and others, I am also planning to marry my French fiance in Ghana in August and then have the celebrations in October in France.
Will that be cutting it too close? we are thinking by September ending I would have received the livret de famille and eventually the visa. We took Everhopeful's advice and started the process in May, boy am I glad we did. From getting his birth certificate and other docs from his mairie and my having my birth cert also legalized took roughly a month!
Info for anyone applying from Ghana, the bc has to be obtained from the registery of births and death, then legalized by the judiciary and then further legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Real work. Luckily the lady I met with at the embassy gave me the number of a notaire who did all this for me for a fee of 160 GH cedis.
My fiance got the docs for Depot de Demands de Certificate de Mariage from his mairie which he sent to me. There was his section to fill, my section and then a section to be filled by us both. In addition, the mairie gave him a certificate that permits him to marry here in Ghana. Armed with all these I went to the embassy. I sent them a mail for appointment and one official replied I didn't need an appointment for depot de demand de certificate de mariage and that I could come anytime between 8-12 noon, Monday to Thursday. When I got there with the all the docs the consular was pleasantly surprised and asked how I got hold of those docs, I told her my fiance got them from his town mairie. So she opened a file for us and told me they send the paper work to France every Wednesday. She said it takes between 10-15 days each way for things to be worked on so by July when my fiance would have arrived in Ghana his certificate de mariage would have been ready.
We are thinking that because we already started the process the subsequent applications Re- marriage transcription and livret de famille shouldn't take too long to obtain. Would that be the case indeed? I don't want us to book places, fix dates etc only for me to still be stuck in Ghana :(
I apologize for the long post and also if this amounts to hijacking someones thread.
Sunnyvee
 

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Bev and others, I am also planning to marry my French fiance in Ghana in August and then have the celebrations in October in France.
Will that be cutting it too close? we are thinking by September ending I would have received the livret de famille and eventually the visa. We took Everhopeful's advice and started the process in May, boy am I glad we did. From getting his birth certificate and other docs from his mairie and my having my birth cert also legalized took roughly a month!
Info for anyone applying from Ghana, the bc has to be obtained from the registery of births and death, then legalized by the judiciary and then further legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Real work. Luckily the lady I met with at the embassy gave me the number of a notaire who did all this for me for a fee of 160 GH cedis.
My fiance got the docs for Depot de Demands de Certificate de Mariage from his mairie which he sent to me. There was his section to fill, my section and then a section to be filled by us both. In addition, the mairie gave him a certificate that permits him to marry here in Ghana. Armed with all these I went to the embassy. I sent them a mail for appointment and one official replied I didn't need an appointment for depot de demand de certificate de mariage and that I could come anytime between 8-12 noon, Monday to Thursday. When I got there with the all the docs the consular was pleasantly surprised and asked how I got hold of those docs, I told her my fiance got them from his town mairie. So she opened a file for us and told me they send the paper work to France every Wednesday. She said it takes between 10-15 days each way for things to be worked on so by July when my fiance would have arrived in Ghana his certificate de mariage would have been ready.
We are thinking that because we already started the process the subsequent applications Re- marriage transcription and livret de famille shouldn't take too long to obtain. Would that be the case indeed? I don't want us to book places, fix dates etc only for me to still be stuck in Ghana :(
I apologize for the long post and also if this amounts to hijacking someones thread.
Sunnyvee
It's a very reasonable question. The answer is that nobody knows, although I would say that you may be cutting it fine, especially given the summer vacation period in France. However, if your husband-to-be is returning to France after the marriage in Ghana, he may be able to work with the Mairie where he was born with a view to having the livret de famille request processed quickly - anyway, there's no harm in trying and he could certainly ask them if they would be prepared to look out for the request, especially since he will know the approximate timeframe for them to receive it. All Mairies work to their own time and staffing constraints, but I can say that I personally have found the Mairies for small communes seem to process things quickly - maybe because their staff are used to performing multiple functions, or maybe I've just been lucky? Anyway, your husband's Mairie is aware he is getting married in Ghana and that may well be an advantage.

Good luck :)
 

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I think you may be cutting it a bit close in any event (though now and then the system surprises me, so maybe you'll be lucky). The issue seems to be the co-ordination between the various offices involved in the process.

I think what you may run into is that the livret de famille is actually issued by the consulate (I believe). They can't do anything until they receive confirmation from the mairie where your husband was born that the marriage has been transcribed into his birth record. But it's not the mairie who issues the final livret de famille.

It does sound as though you have the consulate on your side, but it may depend on the mairie where your husband was born (which may or may not be handy to where he know lives). My experience with the smaller mairies is a bit different from EverHopeful's. Not that they aren't being helpful, but a smaller mairie may only be staffed a few days a week and/or have limited hours of operation during the summer holidays, and when they open up in September there may be some backlog of requests to work through.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Thanks Bev and EH
I need all the luck i can get. My fiance would be returning to France after the marriage. I will ask him to gently chase things up with his Mairie. I pray i continue to have the consulate on my side Bev, wouldn't hurt at all :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi Bev,

Thank you for your reply.

I guess my situation may be a bit more complicated--

My husband is an American and French dual citizen and he was born in California

For the marriage transcription request, we sent in a "demande d'acte" that showed his record of birth through the French government.

Do you know where the marriage transcription request may be sent out in France since my husband was born in California, not France?

Thank you so much.

Daley
 

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If your husband's birth was recorded in France, his French "birth certificate" is in Nantes, with all the rest of us "foreigners" who became French. But you still have to go through the consulate to request the livret de famille (assuming you were married in the US).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Bev,
Do you know how this may affect the timeline or processing at all?
Thanks for all your help.
Daley
 

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Basically, it could go either way. The bureau at Nantes is the headquarters for all "French birth certificates" for foreigners (or those born outside France). Means it is a pretty large operation - but also means the office is probably better staffed than most mairies. But there are no guarantees. If your dossier hits during a busy period or during a vacation period, it will take longer. At times when there isn't as much going on, it will go quicker.

You can't rush things in France - but sometimes you're pleasantly surprised.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Basically, it could go either way. The bureau at Nantes is the headquarters for all "French birth certificates" for foreigners (or those born outside France). Means it is a pretty large operation - but also means the office is probably better staffed than most mairies. But there are no guarantees. If your dossier hits during a busy period or during a vacation period, it will take longer. At times when there isn't as much going on, it will go quicker.

You can't rush things in France - but sometimes you're pleasantly surprised.
Cheers,
Bev
Hi Bev,

Thank you again for all of your help.

We received the record of birth from Nantes within about 10 days of our request (though the first time we requested the document was lost which led to our second request).

Just to clarify--

We have sent out the marriage transcription request to the Los Angeles consulate. Does the consulate then send off the request to Nantes and Nantes sends something back to the consulate who then sends something back to us?

Daley
 

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We have sent out the marriage transcription request to the Los Angeles consulate. Does the consulate then send off the request to Nantes and Nantes sends something back to the consulate who then sends something back to us?
Yup, that's how it's supposed to work. Forgive me if I'm getting some of the recent posts here about marriage transcriptions confused, but you aren't going to be able to request the transcription until after you are married (and you'll need to include an apostilled copy of your marriage certificate).

Once Nantes has entered the marriage in your husband's birth record, they verify that they have done so with the Consulate and I believe it is the Consulate that actually prepares the Livret de Famille. It's the livret that is the holy grail you seek. <g>
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi Bev,

We got married back in April and already have all of the documents (birth records, national identity card, marriage certificate) we've sent in the request for a marriage transcription about a month ago so now I guess we just have to wait!

Daley
 

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Hi Bev,

We got married back in April and already have all of the documents (birth records, national identity card, marriage certificate) we've sent in the request for a marriage transcription about a month ago so now I guess we just have to wait!

Daley
London is one of the speediest Consulates and even so their minimum wait would be a month (plus extra days for public holidays). It seems that most other Consulates operate much more slowly. However, it would be worth following up with the Consulate if it gets past 3 months, as files do get lost on occasion.
 

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London is one of the speediest Consulates and even so their minimum wait would be a month (plus extra days for public holidays). It seems that most other Consulates operate much more slowly. However, it would be worth following up with the Consulate if it gets past 3 months, as files do get lost on occasion.
Unfortunately, you don't get to consulate shop when it comes to requesting a livret de famille. They pretty much require that you request the transcription of the marriage from the consulate in the country where the marriage took place. (In the US, apparently, either the DC Consulate or the LA Consulate, depending on whether the marriage took place in the Eastern or Western part of the US.) I suspect this has something to do with them having to validate the marriage certificate - though you still have to get the certificate apostilled.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Unfortunately, you don't get to consulate shop when it comes to requesting a livret de famille. They pretty much require that you request the transcription of the marriage from the consulate in the country where the marriage took place. (In the US, apparently, either the DC Consulate or the LA Consulate, depending on whether the marriage took place in the Eastern or Western part of the US.) I suspect this has something to do with them having to validate the marriage certificate - though you still have to get the certificate apostilled.
Cheers,
Bev
Yes, I'm perfectly aware of that, was just using London as an example to point out that it will take more than a month.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi all,
Just an update--
I received the copie d'acte de mariage and livret de famille yesterday!
I got pretty lucky as the process ended up taking a little bit less than a month.
Hope this helps for anyone who may stumble upon this thread.
-Daley
 
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