Certificat de coutume for U.S. citizens only

Marriages and PACS between an American and a person legally domiciled in France are authorized and a French certificat de coutume et de célibat may be required

French Certificat de coutume et de célibat

It is quite possible that the local French city hall will include require that the American provide a “Certificat de coutume et de célibat”. 

A Certificat de coutume et de célibat is what Americans call a “legal opinion”. For the purpose of using such a document before a French administrative body in connection with a to-be-celebrated French-American marriage, it should be prepared by an attorney admitted to the practice of the law in France and in the United States. Naturally, the opinion must be in French.

Documents Required

Attorney Polier delivers to his clients “Certificat de coutume et de célibat” only if they hold U.S. nationality and have an American passport. He will normally require the following:

  • Current address and telephone number of the American fiancé(e) 
  • A good (enlarged) photocopy of the signature and identity photo pages of the passport of the American financé(e) 
  • A copy of each divorce decree and/or  PACS or civil union (if any) of the American fiancé(e) 
  • A good copy of the American’s U.S. driver’s license, if the American is domiciled outside the European Union and intends to pay attorney Polier’s professional fee in the form of a $ check drawn on a bank in the United States.  

Normally, a Certificat de coutume et de célibat for an American can be issued within 48 hours after the documents are provided and the American fiancé(e) signs a short attestation prepared by the attorney Polier. A sample attestation with a translation into English is located below.

For information on French-American same sex marriages in France (click here)

Green Cards

 Attorney Polier also assists French spouses in obtaining the a “green card” which would give the French spouse the right to reside and work in the United States.

Author: Jonathon Wise Polier
Avocat aux Barreaux de Paris et de New York
Attorney-at-Law (Paris & New York)

Sample Attestation
Annexe au Certificat de Coutume de Maître POLIER Annex to the Certificat de Coutume of Attorney POLIER
ATTESTATION ATTESTATION
 La soussignée, Judy SMITH, née dans l’État du New York, États-Unis d’Amérique le 22 mai 1964, déclare sur l’honneur que : The undersigned, Judy SMITH, born in the State of New York, United States of American, on 22 May 1964 hereby declares as follows:
  • Je suis célibataire, majeure et capable de me marier ;
  • Je n’ai jamais été marié et je n’ai jamais conclu un PACS (pacte civil de solidarité) ;
  • Je suis de nationalité américaine (numéro de passeport américain 12345678).
  • I am single, of age, and have the legal capacity to be married;’
  • I have never been married and I have never entered into a PACS (a civil union); and
  • I am a citizen of the United States of American and my U.S. passport number is 12345678.
Je délivre la présente attestation à Maître POLIER, Avocat aux Barreaux de NEW-YORK et de PARIS.  I am delivering this attestation to Attorney POLIER, a member of the New York and Paris Bars.
La soussignée est parfaitement consciente que l’article 441-7 du code pénal réprime l’établissement d’attestation faisant état des faits matériellement inexacts.  The undersigned understands that Article 441-7 of the French Penal Code provides for punishment if an attestation states facts that are materially incorrect.
Fait à New York City, le 11 mai 2015.  Executed in New York City on 11 May 2015
 Judy Smith   Judy Smith