Getting married abroad

Getting married abroad

Last update20 janv. 2023

What is it?

If a person protected by France (refugee, beneficiary of subsidiary protection, stateless person) marries abroad, the law of the country concerned applies.

It is advisable to prepare everything several months in advance, because it takes time to obtain certain documents.

The marriage must be " compliant " with French law, this means that the conditions are therefore the same as for a marriage in France. Other conditions may be added depending on the country.

Good to know: You can consult our " Getting married in France " sheet for more information on the conditions, rights and duties of marriage in France.

After the wedding, you will have to take several steps to have your union recognized in France.

Good to know: Same-sex marriage is legal in France, but it is only possible in certain countries.

Who is it for?


France entière

Age required
More than 18 years
Impossible without
OFPRA birth certificate

France entière

Age required
More than 18 years
Impossible without
OFPRA birth certificate

What to do?


Contact the French authority in the country

It is first necessary to find and contact the local authority of the chosen country (French embassy or consulate) to find out the rules and procedures specific to the country for the marriage to be celebrated and recognized.

You can also contact a notary.

Good to know: It is advisable to have a residence permit long enough for the time of the marriage procedure (refugee travel document (TVR) and visa depending on the country).

> To read: the sheet "Obtaining a travel document".


Make an appointment and bring the documents

You must make an appointment or send an email to the French embassy or consulate of the country where the marriage will be celebrated.

Then, both the bride and groom are called for an interview.

You must bring these documents:

  • ID (with photo) : valid residence permit (“refugee” residence permit, multi-year residence permit beneficiary of subsidiary protection), identity card/passport;
  • proof of residence: rent receipt, electricity bill, telephone bill, etc.
  • information sheet (given by the embassy or consulate) completed;
  • copy of the birth certificate of each of the future spouses, dated less than 3 months (6 months if the document was issued abroad, with its translation and legalization);

You can retrieve this document on the OFPRA website.

Good to know: > To read the sheets: "Requesting a birth certificate" and "Obtaining the official translation of a document".

Other supporting documents may be requested depending on your situation.


Wait for the banns to be published

This is an official poster that announces your wedding with this information:

  • the first names, surnames, professions, domicile or residence of each of the future spouses;
  • the place where the marriage is solemnized.

The publication of the banns is compulsory (unless dispensed) for several days at the French embassy or consulate in the foreign country, OR at your town hall in France.

After the interview and the period of publication of the banns, a "certificate of marriage capacity" is issued, if the conditions provided for by French law are confirmed.


Celebrate the wedding

Depending on the country where you are getting married, the marriage can be solemnized by one of the following authorities:

  • state registrar;
  • foreign consul;

After the ceremony, a marriage certificate is issued.

Good to know: It is advisable to make several photocopies of the marriage certificate.


Request the transcription of the marriage

For your marriage to be recognized in France, you must request " its transcription" in the civil status registers of the French embassy or consulate of the place of your marriage.

The list of documents to be provided as well as the transcription request form can be downloaded from the website of the competent French consulate in the country concerned.

In all cases, you must present a copy of your marriage certificate and a valid residence permit.

The transcription allows you to obtain a French family booklet or to update the booklet you already have.

The spouse of a refugee can apply for a residence card after the transcription of the marriage in France. However, no long-stay visa is issued automatically in the context of a marriage abroad.

Good to know: Transcription requests for marriages celebrated in Algeria, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Morocco, Monaco, Poland, Switzerland and Tunisia must be sent only by post to this address:

Service central de l'état civil
11 rue de la Maison Blanche
44941 Nantes Cedex

And after?

Acknowlegment of marriage in France

As soon as you return to France, you can apply to register your marriage with the OFPRA.

Good to know: First you need your OFPRA file number. It is a 9-digit number of the XX-XX-XXXXX type written at the top left of each letter sent by OFPRA.

You must complete this form and send it with these documents:

  • the certificate of marriage capacity or the certificate of publication of the banns;
  • the photocopy of the travel document with the entry and exit stamps of the country of celebration of the marriage and the photocopy of the plane or train ticket;
  • the original of the foreign marriage certificate with a translation certified by a sworn translator, as well as the recto-verso photocopy of this certificate and its translation.

> To read: the sheet "Obtaining the official translation of a document".

You must send your file by post to this address:


201 rue Carnot

94136 Fontenay-sous-Bois Cedex

It is advisable to make a photocopy of the form and send it with an acknowledgment of receipt.

Good to know: If the marriage was celebrated abroad after obtaining international protection, the OFPRA or the French town halls cannot issue a family record book . This document must be requested directly from the authorities of the country where the marriage was celebrated.

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