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Discussion Starter #1
*exasperated exhale*

So many forms and documents.......

Hello to anyone reading this thread. I apologize if there are (and I'm sure there are) previous threads about this topic. I'm new here, and it really took me like 10 minutes to figure out how to post a new thread.

Here's my situation. My fiance is in France and I'm here and we want to get married in France and I plan on living there with him. I've done my research about what must be done in order to get married and live in France, but there are still some unanswered questions.

Firstly, I need a "Long-stay visa to marry a French citizen and move to France"


  • So, I'll need a certificate of the publication of banns and the absence of any impediment (issued by the city hall in which the marriage will take place).

    What is this?? So, since we'll be getting married in France, I'm assuming my fiance must get that in order for me to get my visa.


  • I'll also need health insurance and insurance for repatriation on medical grounds covering the period the visa is valid.

    Do I have to purchase health insurance here?? And how long exactly.. does a long-stay visa last?


  • I'll also need proof of adequate personal means to return to one's country of residence

    Does this just mean like enough money for transportation back (so a bank statement) and a passport?



I've read a lot about how to get married and getting married to a French national in France, but I keep wondering, well what next?? How about a job or something? Right now I'm going to culinary school and would like to do a programme over there. I've already picked out my school and plan to visit it in January 2010. This school, école supérieur de cuisine française - ferrandi, has an english program and their regular program, which I would like to take, but in order to do so I must have a permit to work in France. How do I go about that?? What happens AFTER marriage??????

Any information or advice is completely warranted and welcomed. Thank you for reading and responding.

Diana
 

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OK, OK, slow down. I think you're confounding a few different issues here - and the French do like to keep their bureaucratic procedures in separate little boxes.

While you are pursuing the visa to marry a French citizen and move to France, your intended needs to be pursuing the exact requirements for getting married in France. I assume you're looking at the sheet put out by the US Consulate, which is handy, but as they say, each mairie (town hall) has its own peculiarities, especially when there is a foreigner involved. Depending on where your fiancé lives, it may be necessary to reserve the mairie's wedding hall well in advance. In any event, he should get a list of what documents the mairie is going to require - of him and of you (he should mention specifically that he is marrying a foreigner).

Normally the publication of the banns only takes place about 10 days before the marriage does - and first you have to have all your marriage dossier in place. That seems a bit tight for submitting that certificate to the consulate for your visa application. Perhaps the mairie has some sort of certificate attesting to the fact that the marriage dossier is in process or the date for the wedding has been booked. But otherwise you need to push back a little on this requirement. (Are you sure they aren't asking you to have notification of the publication of banns sent to the consulate when they take place? This would make more sense.)

First you need to find out what the mairie will require from you, as a foreigner. Some of the paperwork can only be obtained from the US consulate in France, or from a dual-qualified lawyer in France (i.e. if the mairie will require a "certificat de coutume") or through a "certified" translator. The mairie may not accept translations from a US translator. (Yeah, it's a racket - get used to it if you're planning on living here.) It will take a month or so once you're over here to assemble the necessary paperwork for the marriage dossier.

For the health insurance, get yourself a travel policy that runs from your departure date to a week or so after the wedding. Once you're married, you can go onto your husband's carte vitale and he can add you to his mutuelle at work.

For the "adequate means to return to your country" a couple thousand bucks in a bank account should be just fine.

Once you're married, you have the right to work more or less right away. You may need to register with either the préfecture (i.e. to get a carte de séjour) or with the OFII (to "validate" your visa with the fact of your marriage) in order to have "proof" of your status.

Bureaucracy in France is a booming business, but take it one step at a time and don't let yourself get angry or frustrated (at least not in front of any French bureaucrats) and you should do just fine. If you run into problems (like with the request for the certificate for the publication of the banns), stay calm and just turn it around - "given that the banns are only published 10 days before the wedding and I need to be in France to prepare for the wedding, what should I do?" Drop the problem in their lap (as innocently as you can manage) and let them figure out what to do.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Bev,

Thank you so very much for your reply. The information you've given me has helped me tremendously.

For the moment, there's not much I can do. I'm waiting for my fiancé to meet with his mayor this Saturday. I'm getting so anxious, as I'll be leaving the US in January. I just feel like I'm running out of time..

Yes, you are right on all accounts. I do need to know what his mairie requires of me, but for the moment the only information is the generalized list from the French Embassy.

I may need an Affidavit of Law (says it "must be done by an attorney licensed to practice in both France and US - about marriage laws, certifying that the American citizen is free to contract marriage in France and will be recognized in the US."

Should I get that in the US or wait and get it in France? I get this feeling that whatever papers I can get done in France, I should just do it there, it just seems safer.

Do you know if a medical certificate is necessary for the marriage? If so, again, should I get that in France?

I also need to get my papers, like Birth Certificate etc, translated. Again, better to do in France or US? I was going to go to the french consulate to get a list of approved translators, but I'm just feeling skeptical and think I should just get it translated in France.

Do you know how much my fiance should have in his account as proof of means of support and accommodation?

If anyone has answers to these questions, I thank you profoundly in advance.

Je vous remercie Bev, vous m'avez aidé énormément.

Diana
 

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You sound a bit like me about 15 years ago when I went through it all...

I may need an Affidavit of Law (says it "must be done by an attorney licensed to practice in both France and US - about marriage laws, certifying that the American citizen is free to contract marriage in France and will be recognized in the US."

Should I get that in the US or wait and get it in France? I get this feeling that whatever papers I can get done in France, I should just do it there, it just seems safer.
I'd be really surprised if you can even get one of these in the US. The US Consulate has a list of attorneys who are dual qualified (well, it's indicated on their "English speaking attorneys list" if they are dual qualified) and your best bet is simply to contact one of them. It's an expensive little document, but some mairies will accept this (must be written in French, BTW) in lieu of some of the translated documents, because the attorney has to reference your birth certificate and other supporting documents.

Do you know if a medical certificate is necessary for the marriage? If so, again, should I get that in France?
You need a "medical exam with a view to marriage" - but this is basically a letter from a doctor saying that he has examined you. The state has NO right to any results of the medical exam. Best to have your fiancé's doctor do the exam and write the letter (which also has to be in French). It's basically the blood tests, plus a general exam. The doctor may want you to get your gyne exam up to date (Pap and pelvic, basically) as it's "related to marriage"...

For the marriage dossier, I'd get any necessary translations done in France. For the visa, it's not an issue because the consulate kind of takes responsibility for the authenticity of the documents. But the mairie isn't going to recognize the translators on the consulate list, and they are going to want to see the stamp of a registered "traductor assermenté" here in France. (But do negotiate a bit to see if they'll accept the "translation" the attorney will do, if they insist on the "certificat de coutume" by the dual qualified attorney.)

For proof of support and accommodation, the best "proof" is if your fiancé has a job and a place of his own (rented or owned).

BTW, you should plan on returning to France a good month or so before your wedding date. It will take that long to get all the necessary documents together without unduly stressing yourself out.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks again Bev.

Just one more quick question... Since I'll be doing my medical exam in France, would it be an issue if I saw my fiancé's doctor if im not on his carte vitale? Or would it be easier if I just used my coverage that i will have gotten for the long stay visa anyway..

Diana

P.S Arriving in France 1 Jan, Getting married 30 jan. hope that's enough time for all the paperwork! :eek:
 

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It really doesn't matter what doctor you see for the pre-marital exam. IIRC, it may not be covered at all by the sécu - and most likely won't be covered for you on the temporary insurance. Isn't all that expensive - figure 22€ for the doctor and another 25 - 50€ tops for the blood work and any other lab tests.

A month for getting things together should be sufficient, but see what the mayor tells your fiancé about how far in advance you have to submit the dossier (at least 10 days so the banns can be published - probably 2 weeks, just to give the mairie time to do their thing). You also have to declare ahead of time who your witnesses will be, so if you're having someone come over from the US to be your witness, you'll need a copy of their id (passport should do).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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CONGRATULATIONS and welcome to France ! I think the marriage paperwork must be like a necessary introduction to all french peoples love of papers.

I went through exactly what you are preparing last year - one small difference, I came to France on a tourist visa and tried to do the marriage there, then to have my visa changed to that of a spouse of a french citizen - not possible. Unfortunately I had to return to the states for my 'visa de conjoint de français'.

I did not think that the 'visa to marry a french person' was available anymore, or so the embassy in SF told me (that's the closest to my home in the states). As long as you have any other kind of visa, not a touristique visa, then you should be able to change it after the marriage or ask for your carte de sejour - but that has changed as of June 1, 2009 - so your best bet if you have not done this already is to make an appointment at the SF embassy and get all the updated procedural changes and info they have.

You will DEFINATELY need those two certificats, de coutume and de celibat. If you don't get them in the states, you can easily get them at a US presence post or embassy in France; or if you can get them done by the attorney. Usually the marie will give a list of translators that they accept, for your birth certificate.

I think they have stopped requiring the medical exam for a marriage - but maybe it depends on the marie.

My advice to you is verbally verify at the embassy there in town (san francisco) if that Visa to Marry a French is still given - then go from there. I was banking on that one myself, but all the requirements seemed impossible, and then I was told this type of visa didn't exist.

Soyez forte et bonne chance!
I am an expert to some extent on the recent procedurals for immigration to France - let me know if you have other questions!

are too hard to come by, but these were
Bev,

Thank you so very much for your reply. The information you've given me has helped me tremendously.

For the moment, there's not much I can do. I'm waiting for my fiancé to meet with his mayor this Saturday. I'm getting so anxious, as I'll be leaving the US in January. I just feel like I'm running out of time..

Yes, you are right on all accounts. I do need to know what his mairie requires of me, but for the moment the only information is the generalized list from the French Embassy.

I may need an Affidavit of Law (says it "must be done by an attorney licensed to practice in both France and US - about marriage laws, certifying that the American citizen is free to contract marriage in France and will be recognized in the US."

Should I get that in the US or wait and get it in France? I get this feeling that whatever papers I can get done in France, I should just do it there, it just seems safer.

Do you know if a medical certificate is necessary for the marriage? If so, again, should I get that in France?

I also need to get my papers, like Birth Certificate etc, translated. Again, better to do in France or US? I was going to go to the french consulate to get a list of approved translators, but I'm just feeling skeptical and think I should just get it translated in France.

Do you know how much my fiance should have in his account as proof of means of support and accommodation?

If anyone has answers to these questions, I thank you profoundly in advance.

Je vous remercie Bev, vous m'avez aidé énormément.

Diana
 

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Hi Rollerbahn,
Thanks for adding your experience here. It's considerably more recent than mine (15 years ago).

From what I've been able to tell, they have indeed done away with the special visa to marry in France, but what they're doing is telling people who want to marry in France and then settle there to apply for a regular long-stay visa. Your "reason" for the long stay visa is to marry a French citizen and settle with him or her in France - which ought to fly.

That certificat de coutum is the real tricky one. You can't get one at the US Consulate, but you can get some sort of document that calls itself something "in lieu of" a certificat de coutum. However, some mairies require the real thing, some will take the "in lieu of" thingee and some mairies don't require anything at all in this regard.

It's good news if they've dropped the medical requirement for getting married. (It was kind of a silly requirement, given that there were no real required tests anyhow.) But it just dawned on me that we should probably clarify that any pre-marital medical exam is something entirely different and independent from the medical exam you have to have as part of getting a long-stay visa and/or carte de séjour.

If you can, you should try and have the visa exam done in the US - and as I recall, you have to get a list of doctors who can do this sort of exam from the Consulate. If you have the exam done in France, you have to go to a dreary government medical building and it's sort of like what I've heard the exams are like for draftees in the military. The main thing is a chest x-ray to prove you don't have TB - other than that, you pee in a cup and then have a long interview with a doctor to determine what childhood diseases you've had and what vaccinations you have or haven't had.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thank you for the info Rollerbahn: what is a certificat de coutume?

Bev,

For the long-stay visa, they didn't indicate that I needed a medical exam, only for the marriage (that's if the mairie requires it). I've gone through the process about 3 years ago when I went to study in Paris. I did both a physical here in the States and the one to get my carte de sejour (where they took an x-ray). In fact, I still have the x-ray somewhere @ my fiancé's appartement. Does it matter that I've already done it and still have all the paper work for it?
 

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Thank you for the info Rollerbahn: what is a certificat de coutume?

Bev,

For the long-stay visa, they didn't indicate that I needed a medical exam, only for the marriage (that's if the mairie requires it). I've gone through the process about 3 years ago when I went to study in Paris. I did both a physical here in the States and the one to get my carte de sejour (where they took an x-ray). In fact, I still have the x-ray somewhere @ my fiancé's appartement. Does it matter that I've already done it and still have all the paper work for it?
The certificat de coutume is a document you have to get from a dual qualified attorney (i.e. French and US bar) that basically summarizes your identity documents and states that you are "eligible" to marry, not currently married and that the marriage you are about to do in France will be recognized in your home country. It depends on the mairie whether or not it is necessary - and in some cases, may only be necessary if you've been married before. (So the attorney can make sure your divorce is really final, or your ex is really dead.)

If you've already had a carte de séjour, they may not bother requiring another medical. See what the consulate tells you based on your application and how your interview goes. And as far as the medical for the wedding goes, wait and see what the mairie asks for.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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