Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
Resource for people that would like to live or travel in France.


Daily Life



Moving Planner

Q & A

Reading List


Travel Planner

Expat Store



Driving License



Guide France


Learn French


Tax Services


ForumRead Message

Subject: Marriage to a French Natiomal
Date: Monday, October 31, 2005
Name: Caroline
Message: 1. I am a U.S. Citizen who plans to marry a french national. 2. I do not currently have a passport but plan to obtain one over the next two months. 3. Our hope is that I will be able to leave the U.S. and move to the home of my fiancé (who resides in France) by the end of the year. 4. It is my understanding (based on feedback from the US/French Consulate that I will not need any sort of VISA if moving to France under the intent to marry a french national. 5. We would like to know how long I will be permitted to reside in France (without a long-term stay VISA) while not married. We plan to marry in the summer so that my son who will reside in the U.S. will be able to attend the ceremony. This would mean that I would remain in France for six months with just a U.S. passport. I am not certain that this is possible and I was hopeful that you could answer these questions and/or point me to credible sites that would substantiate this information. I would apply for a long-term Stay Visa, however, I would have to have possessed a passport for at least 6 months which would push my departure to about a 9 months from the time I actually receive my passport. I have also emailed the consulate with these questions, however, I am not certain that a response will be submitted in a timely fashion. 6. I also have a desire to obtain employment while in the France. I am concerned that I will have to return to the states to apply for a work VISA if offered a job in France once I am married and reside in France. Is this necessary or will a residency card protect me from these sort of requirements? Do you know the answer to this, as well? I would greatly appreciate any feedback and look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Thanks.

Replies Posted 5.

Name Benjamine
Message Hi Stacey,

I just want to make sure that I understood you correctly--is it necessary to return to the U.S. to wait for you Carte de Séjour or can you stay with your spouse in France?


Name Stacie
Message Hi Caroline,

I am married to a Frenchman and went through exactly what you are pursuing back in March of this year. You can only stay legally in France for 90 days on a US passport, and so yes, theoretically, will have to get married within 3 months. Your boyfriend should check with the Mairie (city hall) where he lives because it is also a complicated process to marry in France. (You will have publish a "banc de mariage" 3 months before you marry). There is also a lengthy process should you decide to marry in a church. It is obligatory to marry at the Mairie.

My husband and I actually got married in the US (san francisco) and then took our marriage certificate to the local French Embassy to apply for a Livret de Famille. If you marry in the US, the Livret de famille must be processed at the French Embassy closest to your place of marriage. The Embassy then mailed our Livret de Famille to our residence in France.

Once you have the Livret de Famille, you can take it to the local Prefecture to apply for a Carte de Sejour. When I applied, there was a 2.5 month waiting list. When I finally went to my appointment, I only got a "recipisee de carte de sejour' which lasts for 3 months. You will be then summoned for a medical exam with the office of migrations. Once you pass the medical exam you must wait for your final Carte de sejour which lasts for 1 year.

Anyway, I hope that helps. Just so you realize, finding work in France is not easy, and don't expect to find an employer who will hire you and offer you a work visa because the process is very lengthy (often 3 months or longer) and costly. So even if you do happen to find an employer, you may still have to wait in the US. You may also be aware, but you cannot work legally in France unless if you have your carte de sejour. So it helps to have some financial reserves for several months before making the move over here. Its not my intention to be discouraging but unfortunately it is the reality.

Bon courage! Hope everything works out for you as it did for me (with much patience and persistence!)

Name Smiley Noir
Message I'm afraid you will find only a field of cinders... Enjoy our moon landscapes ! hehe Welcome anyway ! ;o))


Name Caroline
Message Thank you, Cris. I have received a response from the French consulate since my last posting and was informed that I would not need anything other than a passport to gain entry into France in order to marry and live. Once I marry I would qualify to get a residency card. Once I obtain a residency card it will then provide clearance for me to be able to obtain employment. It appears however, that I will have to marry within the three months I am permitted to visit, however.

I was not sure of your circumstances which led to having to obtain a VISA (long -term I presume?) and how long ago. Perhaps the laws have changed? Either way, I will take heed to your advice and my boyfriend will contact his local prefecture to solidify the information I have received here in the states. Thanks and please let me know if you should have any other advice.


Name cris
Message Your boyfriend should ask these questions at the prefecture in his area.

I am married to a frenchman and I had to wait in America for my visa, which was almost not accepted by the prefecture here when I went to get my titre de sejour.

Sign-up for the FREE Americans in France newsletter.
Just type in your e-mail address and click 'Subscribe'.






Search Site

Travel Store


Auto Rentals



Phone Card



Terms &

Terms of Service


RSS Feed

Support this Site


Follow me
on Twitter.

Americans in France

Promote Your Page Too