Marriage/PACS in France

In France, everyone over 18 has the right to get married, even an undocumented person. Nevertheless, getting married doesn’t sort out automatically illegal immigrants.

Convenience marriages and forced marriages are null and punished by the lax. For a marriage to be valid, both partners must consent to it. A (common or individual) audition of the future spouses can be requested by the Local Civil Registrar (in French, officier d’état civil).

Same-sex couples have the right to get married just as heterosexual couples (that’s called in French “mariage pour tous”, “marriage for everyone”).

Marriages take place at the mairie (city hall). If the spouses want to get married religiously, they must do it after the civil marriage. A marriage can be broken down through a divorce.


  • Being over 18
  • Not being already married (monogamy). Even if polygamy is authorized in the home country of the foreign person, it is forbidden in France. A custom certificate can be requested in order to prove that the future spouse is actually unmarried.
  • Not having a family relationship with the future spouse
  • Consent to the marriage

Some documents will be requested by the Local Civil Registrar, among them, the spouses’ IDs, a proof of residence and a copy of the birth certificates.

At least 10 days before the marriage’s date, the mairie (city hall) must display the banns of marriage, according to article 63 of the French Code civil. For more information about the marriage, go to

For couples who don’t want to get married, it is also possible to be joined by a PACS (Civil solidarity pact). PACS is s a contractual form of civil union which creates rights and obligations for a couple. For more information, go to

Both marriage and PACS can unite a French and a foreign person in France or abroad.