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American moving to Paris to marry/pacs French boyfriend-Visa help!

Hello All,

I am an American woman (30 yrs old) who wants to marry (or pacs is maybe more for us--still discussing) my French boyfriend and settle long term in Paris, France. I'm hoping that someone who has had some recent experience in this process can give me some advice, because the information out there is so confusing and there is nobody to call for questions!

My Many Questions:

Do I need the Long Stay Visa with Intent to Marry in order to get the ball rolling? Does this count if we decide to PACS? Or can we marry on my three month tourist visa? Or do I need to apply for something else?  Would it be helpful (or even possible) at all if we got married in France and then I make the actual move to France at a later time?

What's the first step for my boyfriend, who is French and lives in Paris? Do we need to get a lawyer to help us with this or can we do it ourselves? And what about "proving" that we have a real relationship (which we do!) Is that a real thing?

And as far as finances, what is it I really need to prove? How much is 'enough' to my name to be allowed to move into France? If I'm moving to France without a job waiting for me, does he need to prove the ability to support us both or do I need to?

I'm so confused!! And I'm sure there are bunch of other questions I should be asking but I don't even know them yet.

Any info AT ALL will be appreciated, even stuff I didn't know to ask.

Thanks for any help,



As a US citizen, you do not need a visa for a stay of 90 days duration. So the easiest thing is that when you sit on seats with thy darling, you go together to the town hall to regularize your situation.

The American mentality to take whenever a lawyer is very unpopular in Europe. It is considered that if you come with a lawyer is that you have something to hide ...

I do not think we ask you to prove that you have income or money. But it's better ... Especially with the current problems caused by mass arrivals of immigrants ... But anyway, when one starts a family, it is better to have money to meet the needs of everyday life ...

To get a job, it will firstly that you have married your fiancé. Because a PAC is not eligible for anything for a non-European foreign ...

Before you can apply for a job will require recognize your diplomas. The procedure is done via one of these two websites:


You absolutely can work if you are PACsé.  However, the first year you will not be allowed to if you can't prove a year living together prior to your PACs.  I believe that year has to be in France but I'm not sure.  I am an American who is PACsé with a French citizen and have the right to work.

I believe the easiest route though is marriage and that it is best to get married while you're visiting France.  This I'm not 100% sure about so you'll need advice from others with experience.  Marriage means you do not need to prove any income as your spouse will be responsible for you.  You will qualify for free French lessons if you need them and qualify to work.  And of course you will qualify for health insurance.  Marriage is costly to dissolve which is why some prefer to get PACsé first so there's less pressure on the couple in the early years.  A PACs can be dissolved without a lawyer and in terms of what one shares financially, it's up to the couple to decide.

PACsé will give you the right to live in France but as I've mentioned, you will not have the right to work for the first year unless you've already lived together for one year and have the required proof.  You'll qualify for health insurance and you can get free French lessons as well.  I'm not sure what the requirements are for proof of financial support, I don't recall.  I came here on a long stay visa (1 year) then we got Pacsed.  I applied for my visa in the US (required) and had to prove I think 12K in savings as my means to support myself.  I believe your boyfriend will have to provide a letter to prove he has a place where you can live and say he'll be responsible for you.  In my case, my partner was living in the US at the time, so his parents provided this letter.

I recently met another American here who is about to get PACsé and she is basically doing the same, 1 year here as a long stay visitor first, then PACsé.  If you go this route, be sure to IMMEDIATELY get your name on some utility bills and consider opening a joint bank account or whatever may be required to prove your one year together so you can qualify to work in France later. Double check with the tribunal for all requirements to prove your life together and then try to go one step further (have your name on one extra thing) as a back up since rules tend to change.

To get the best info though that will apply to you, your boyfriend should go to the Tribunal in Paris.  They can provide a list of requirements for both marriage & PACs.  Requirements can vary from city to city and year to year and person to person handling your case (!!!), so regardless of advice given here, you really need to get the info for Paris.  It's a hassle but perserverance is the key to dealing with government agencies in France.  The old saying, if first you don't suceed, try try again, needs to be your motto.

Good luck.

Hi !

In 2012 I married my French boyfriend.
We decided on marriage as we were told by a friend in the government that it was the most advantageous for me (I'm american).

We started the process in March to marry in June.

It was my husband who did all the papers on his end here in Paris. He had to go to the mairie and ask for the list of documents. I do remember that he had to "sponser" me. He had to prove the financial means to take care of me for a certain period of time and fill out documents stating that he will be "in charge" of me and my stay I think it was finally with those papers that I was able to apply for a visa for marriage from the embassy in California.

After, we had to furnish my birth certificat translated by a traducteur sermentée par l'état. And also get a certified document from the embassy swearing that I am not already married from the embassy here in Paris (but I think you can do that in California). There was a list of other document, I really can't remember sorry. But if your boyfriend goes to the mairie in his arrondissement they will give him all the info and all the documents for both of you to fournish.

There is a certain timeline to respect. That was really the only stressful thing.

After the marriage I had to then apply at the office of immigration for a change of visa. They will give you your titre de sejour with which you can start working. I had about a 4 month delay before I could start working. It was just the time to wait for the actual appointment. But since then everything has gone smoothly and now I have my resident card which is good for 10 years.

I hope this helps a little. It can seem so overwhelming but it's just about being informed, organized and respecting the timeline.

If you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask !

Good luck !


I am here in Paris with my boyfriend for one year now.  We want to PACS next month because it's our 1 year anniversary of being together.  Do I need to go get a one year visa even after getting PACS ?? I am still in my 3 months of legally being here by the way.  Last year I traveled back and forth between here and the US.  So now, I'm ready to be done with the back and forth thing!  I'm taking French classes and am ready to settle down .  Please let me know if you have info about that. Merci!!

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