Do US citizens need documents notarised at embassy in France?

Some real estate procedures for US property sales require a notary

Not all US consulates in France provide notary services
Published Last updated

Reader Question: I am selling my US property but am already living in France. The realtors working on the sale say I need to have the Offer For Purchase notarised at the US Embassy or Consulate. Is this correct?

Both US embassies and consulates are able to offer notarisation services to citizens abroad, related to real estate purchase or sale. 

They can also provide notary services for other documents including banking, prenuptials / divorce, inheritance, wills, etc.

You can find the full list of documents that can be notarised in France by the US diplomatic corps here.

In France the US embassy in Paris, as well as consulates in Marseille and Strasbourg provide this service, however the consulates in Bordeaux, Lyon, and Rennes do not.

Current costs are $50 per signature.

Appointments must be made in advance for these services and may be fully booked for weeks in advance.

Read more: Succession planning in France can highlight cultural differences

Can I use a French notaire for my US real estate documents?

Generally, a French notaire can assist with documents that need to be notarised.

There is no blanket rule that says a French (or non-US) notary cannot sign such documents – including real estate documents – as long as they are recognised as an official in the role, as notaires are in France. 

However, there may be differences in local laws between US states, on how documents must be signed.

So do verify this with your US estate agency as they should know the local rules and can inform you what is possible. 

You can find a list of English speaking notaires on the US embassy website here.

Read more: Where do we pay house inheritance tax in France?