Excellent, so many questions, I have..... *Yoda face* No.1 Is marriage enough

.... To secure the right to live here in France? Now obviously, I'm not French, I'm British, so can my Amerrr'cun fiance legally live here in France with me if we marry here?

Next up, his right to work here. Does he have to get a job lined up before or after coming over? Can he work at all?

He has a daughter, will she have any rights to stay here in the future? Other than for study, if she chose to.

My understanding was that he could 'holiday' here for 3 months at a time, is this correct? And is there a time frame that he has to await before returning?

Got loads more questions but I'll stop there for now!

Really hoping you yanks can help me in my in my unfortunate amorous choice of partner!!! Damn you Americans for being so hot!!!
Why couldn't I just find a Frenchman....? :P

Darn! I received my French permis de conduire in 2004.

Hi Nadia,

I was just talking to my husband about this. He helps me to remember what I've forgotten! I guess we DID get the birth certificate translated. We went to the town hall which had a list of names of the people who did it. It ended up costing 80 euros because I had to get my birth certificate as well as my divorce papers from a previous marriage translated.

If you get married here, it does NOT give your husband the right to work here. It would be seen more as a destination wedding. In order to LIVE here, he would have to go about getting a carte de sejour. If he can't find a job, then he would have to go back to the states for 3 months and then come back here for three months just to do it again. The Schengen Zone rules are that you can stay in the Schengen Zone for 90 days out of every 180 days. Hope this helps.

Interesting... Well this brings to mind the whole Certificate of conformity for vehicles. Did you know that requirement was effectively outlawed by the EU back in.. omg I'm thinking 2005 but could be wrong, don't know why I'm thinking that year. But basically is is no longer a legal requirement, yet you try getting away without it while you are here.

I wonder if this apostille varies by dept?
So to be clear, you had your birth cert sent to France from the States? And that was all you needed to get married in Nancy? I wonder does it make a difference if you have a church wedding.... Personally, I don't want one.

You're welcome Nadia and I hope that you have an easier time of it then I did!

I did the whole apostille thing through the mail. I had my birth certificate sent from the states since I was already over here. They ask you whether or not you want the apostille and I said yes. I then got the birth certificate in about three weeks, I think. It wasn't too long.

As far as translating my birth certificate. We didn't have to do that. I don't know why. We were in Nancy, France at the time and they said that it wasn't necessary, maybe because my husband tried to translate it himself? Regardless, it didn't need to be done and we asked several times to make sure we could marry on the day we wanted and to make sure we wouldn't get turned away for not having it done.

Oh, that long.... I have to make sure he gets the ball rolling now then.
Thank you so much for telling me about this. I've looked at various sites about this issue and don't recall it ever being mentioned, so I'm very grateful. :)

Exactly Nadia! Paperwork here often seems senseless but you just have to jump through all of their hoops in order to get things done. I ended up having to fly back to the States to get my apostille. Once I had that worked out things went quickly. It was over ten years ago and I can't remember exactly ... maybe a month or two?

Right Susan, I appreciate the heads up and this link...
So from what I can make out, it's bureaucratic nonsense for the sake of creating pointless government administrative jobs! Do I sound bitter...?

I don't know, why can't the world just be ours....

Out of curiosity, how long did it take you to get it done?


I didn't know what an apostille was either before trying to get married here. The wiki can explain better then I can. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostille_convention.

The translation of my birth certificate was done by an -Expert-Traducteur Pres La Cour d'Appel de Toulouse. It was stamped dated and signed twice. I'm not sure if you can use a translator outside of France.

Okay, I guess I could... do that. I do know though, that in England it's very hard to be married to an American. I have many friends who have been through it and it was a huge stress for them all.

My main question I suppose was whether or not we should marry here, or in the US, or even maybe in England?

If all else fails though, there's always Canada! :D

I'm not to worried about the drivers license, he hates driving and I love it, so I'll chauffeur him about! Apostille of birth.... No idea what you mean :s
How is this different to a regular birth certificate, which is obviously standard with all marriages. Please explain!
Official translation, can that be done here or must it be done in the states?

Oh and I imagine they are helpful in Washington, but lord knows they probably aren't as helpful in Texas...

And Thank you Susan :)


I'm wondering if you would have more answers if you were to post your question to the SFN community as a whole. Because you are British, it gives you certain rights here, but I have no idea if those rights extend to your soon to be (congratulations by the way!) husband. If they don't, then he'll have to jump through a bunch of hurdles that will be different than the hurdles that you'll have to jump through, including the length of time he'll be able to stay in the country without having to return home. The broader the audience you can get to look at your question, the more opportunities you'll have to help you out!

Good luck!

Hello Nadia,

You do have a confusing situation. I'm an American and when I came here I had a daughter who had been recognized by her French father at the embassy in the States.

I had no trouble at all getting my carte de resident with the right to work here which I need to renew every ten years.

To get married here Americans are required to have an apostille of their birth certificate and then a official translation. I had to return home for the apostille but it may be possible to get it by mail. If your friend is state side it would be easier for him to get his apostille there before coming here.

One thing to think about is getting a French drivers license . I was able to drive my first year here with an international dirvers license and after had to go to an auto ecole to pass the code. You need to have a good understanding of French. It's very expensive and takes at least six months. France does recognize certain American drivers licenses but it's state by state. I had a Maryland drivers license which was not accepted.

The American embassy in Paris is very helpful. The French Embassy in Washington is also. I can't say the same for the mairies here. American papers always send them in a tizzy.

Good luck... I keep thinking that life would have been easier if I had fallen in love with an American guy!