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French wedding: Can you get married in France if you do not live here?

The short answer is yes, but there are several caveats

If you are not a French resident, a wedding in front of the Eiffel Tower may prove complicated Pic: Marina Datsenko / Shutterstock

Reader question: Is it possible for me to get married in France even if my partner and I do not live in the country at the time of marriage?

In these circumstances, it may be possible to be married in France, however, this depends on several factors. 

In most cases, marriage is limited to a few communes or areas linked to the couple or their family.

If you are planning to move to France it may be simplest to either get married before arriving or wait until you are living in the country.

Once France is your main home, there is no problem with getting married there even if you were to spend part of your time away from the country. 

There are also no limits on marrying in France if you or your partner are French citizens, as long as the non-French person is in France legally.

Here are the three main options for non-French couples wishing to be married in France.

If one member of the couple is temporarily living in France

The main justification for marriage in France is being able to demonstrate a link with a particular commune; you cannot just marry anywhere. 

One way to do this is by physically living in the commune in question. 

Even if neither person is French, if one person has  – as a matter of fact  – been living in a French commune (village or town) for at least one month, they can marry in the commune they are living/staying in.

It is possible to apply to be married before this but the month must have passed at the point when the bans are published by the mairie; another ten days must then pass before the wedding takes place. 

When applying for a marriage, you must be able to give proof of how long you have been staying in France, for example with a rental contract.

The civil registrar will check that the application meets conditions of the French law.

It may be possible to have a translator or interpreter at the ceremony, which will be conducted by an official from the mairie, in some cases the actual mayor of the commune (especially in smaller towns and villages).

Non-residents with a parent living in France

If neither party is a French citizen nor living in France but at least one parent of the couple is living in France it is possible to be married in a commune where their parent lives.

This will typically be because the parent is a resident of France but it is technically also possible if they only have a second home there or even are just renting accommodation temporarily and have been in the commune for at least one month at the date of publication of the bans. 

The Connexion was previously told that some mairies tend to apply these rules more strictly than others in determining whether a sufficient family link exists.

Other situations

In a situation where neither of you is French or lives in France and you do not have parents living in the country, it is only possible to be married in a few territories outside of the French mainland. These are:

  • ·         New Caledonia

  • ·         French Polynesia

  • ·         Saint Barthélemy

  • ·         Saint Martin

  • ·         Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

  •           Wallis and Futuna

You have to apply at least one month and ten days before the date when you wish to marry.

Marriages of this type may suit non-French people wishing to be married in a tropical or holiday setting and with no intention to stay long-term in France.

Related articles 

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Wedding cancelled in France due to rowdy guests on way to ceremony

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