French-American Marriages in the United States

Dear Mr. Smith,

You have informed me that you intend to marry in the United States your French fiancée and that at some time in the future you may wish to move to and work in France

In order that your future marriage in the United states be recognized in France and to provide a sound basis for subsequently obtaining a French visa, it is very important that, prior to the marriage, in the couple obtains from the French Consulate a Certificate of Marriage Capacity (“Certificat de capacité à mariage” also called a “certificat de coputume“)

In the absence of such Certificate of Marriage Capacity (Certificat de capacité à mariage) from the French consulate prior to the marriage, the marriage would not be recognized in France in the absence of a French court order, a time consuming and needless complication.

Unfortunately, the basic documents to guide you are in French and either your fiancée AND/OR a French attorney (presumably in NY or in Paris) will need to carefully review the check list and the documents before they are submitted to the French Consulate.

Your fiancée’s and will wish to review the Consulate’s guidelines at the nearest of the 10 French Consulate in the United States. For example I suggest that your fiancée consult.

In addition, it is helpful that your fiancée review Articles 171-2 and 171-3 of the French Civil Code which provides the legal context to the above-referenced Consular requirements.

While the Consulate’s web site mentions 8 weeks to process the papers, I assume that will take a number of weeks of gather the necessary information and to deal with the eventual follow-up questions of the Consulate.

If you wish, I can assists French spouses in obtaining a “green card” which would give her the right to reside and work in the United States.


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