Getting married abroad

Getting married abroad

Last update3 nov. 2021

What is it?

When a marriage is celebrated abroad, the law of the country concerned applies.

But for marriage to be recognized in France, it must respect the different French rules:

  • Both spouses must be of legal age (over 18).
  • Neither spouse must be already married under French or foreign law.
  • Spouses cannot be parents (ascendants and descendants, brothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, uncles /aunts and nephews / nieces of the same line of grandparents).
  • Each spouse must freely consent to the marriage.
  • The marriage must be celebrated before a public authority (religious marriage is not recognized).

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

Once the decision has been taken to get married abroad, the two future spouses must take several steps with the French authorities.

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

Who is it for?

Location

France entière

Age required
More than 18 years
Impossible without
OFPRA birth certificate
Location

France entière

Age required
More than 18 years
Impossible without
OFPRA birth certificate

What to do?

1

Check with the foreign legal authority

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Once you have decided to celebrate your marriage abroad, it is necessary to get closer as soon as possible to the local authority of the chosen country.

This will allow you to know the different laws and procedures specific to the country for the marriage to be celebrated and recognized.

It is also advisable to contact the local authority to obtain a residence permit long enough to comply with the marriage procedure.

2

Contact the French embassy or consulate

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To get married before the registrar of a foreign country, you must apply for a "certificate of legal capacity to marry" . For this, you must contact the French embassy or consulate in the country in which you wish to get married.

To obtain this certificate, you will be asked for several documents, including:

  • Completed information sheet (provided by the embassy or consulate),
  • 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),
  • Identity document (with photo),
  • Proof of address: official and usual place of residence or residence (Place where a person actually and stably lives but which is not necessarily his domicile).

It is therefore mandatory to contact Ofpra to obtain the documents necessary for the constitution of the marriage file.

3

Publication of the wedding banns

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Once the date of the wedding has been established, the publication of the banns is compulsory at least 10 days before the date of the wedding.

This involves displaying the date of the marriage, the names, surnames, domiciles or residences of the future spouses as well as the place of the celebration of the marriage in one of the following two places:

  • Town hall of domicile (official and usual place of residence) or of residence (place where a person actually and stably lives but which is not necessarily his domicile)
  • French consulate on which depends his domicile or residence abroad in the absence of residence in France

It is only after this publication, in the absence of opposition and if the marriage meets the conditions provided for by French law, that the French embassy or consulate will issue the "certificate of legal capacity for marriage".

4

Wedding celebration

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Provided that the various procedures specific to local authorities have been respected, the marriage can now be celebrated before a registrar. A marriage certificate is issued to you.

Congratulation !

And after?

Acknowlegment of marriage in France

As soon as you return to France, you can apply for registration of your marriage by Ofpra. You must complete the form available by clicking here and submit the following documents:

  • The certificate of legal capacity to marry or the certificate of publication of the banns,
  • Photocopy of the travel document with entry and exit stamps from the country in which the marriage is celebrated and a photocopy of the plane or train ticket,
  • The original of the foreign marriage certificate with a certified translation by a sworn translator, as well as the recto-verso photocopy of this certificate and its translation.
    >> To read also: the Réfugiés.info sheet "Obtaining the official translation of a document"

Good to know : Ofpra does not issue a marriage certificate or family record book. To obtain these documents, you will need to get in direct contact with the authorities of the country in which the marriage was celebrated.

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