Canadian citizens acquiring French citizenship do not lose their Canadian citizenship. You may apply for French nationality once you have resided in France for five (5) years or after four (4) years of marriage with a French person, and if you live in France. This does not apply if you come from a country where the French language is an official language and if this French language is your mother tong. For an application kit and more complete information, contact the prefecture or sub-prefecture where you are living. In Paris, contact the:
If you are coming to France to get married and reside within France, you must have a long stay visa prior to arrival on French territory. The visa application must be made in Canada at the French consulate nearest to your residence (see the list of consulates in Annex V, Chapter 5, p.119).
Religious marriages cannot be performed until after the civil ceremony. The priest, rabbi or minister will ask for the “certificate of civil ceremony” (certificat de célébration civile) before performing the religious one.
The marriage ceremony takes place in the city hall of the place of residence before a civil registrar, the mayor or a legally authorized substitute (assistant or municipal councillor). Publication of the banns in the city hall where the marriage is to take place is compulsory in France. The publication of the banns at the Embassy of Canada is not compulsory for Canadians marrying abroad.
The following documents must be provided to the city hall (the future spouses will need to have all documents written in a foreign language translated and certified). If one or both spouses are widowed or divorced, they will require the services of a Canadian lawyer in France to obtain the “certificat de coutume”.
Witnesses information (full name, date and place of birth, profession, and residence);
Notary’s certificate, if the couple wishes to make a marriage contract.
Since the information appearing on official Canadian documents will often differ from that which appears on French documents, the Canadian Embassy’s Consular Services will produce the certificates required by the French civil authorities. See “Certification and attestation of your documents” in the “Consular Services” section in Chapter II, p.15. The civil registrar at the city hall will give couples marrying in France a marriage certificate in the form of a Family record book (livret de famille). This book is an official document for proving parentage, the legal relationship between children and parents. It also allows people to obtain civil status records and national identity cards. It contains the extract of the couple’s marriage certificate to be completed later with extracts from children’s birth certificates, death certificates and, conceivably, deeds of divorce and separation.
An extract of the marriage certificate (extrait d’acte de mariage) can be obtained free of charge by writing to the city hall where the ceremony was performed. The application must specify the date and place of the marriage as well as the full names of the bride and groom. A stamped, self-addressed return envelope must be attached.
Pacte civil de solidarité (PACS)
On November 15th, 1999, Bill No. 99-944 on the PACS (Pacte civil de solidarité) was passed, allowing people over eighteen of different or of the same sex to legally commit to a life together. This commitment is not a marriage, but a contract registered with the Registrar of the Tribunal d’instance of the community in which the two partners live together. Therefore, Canadians who wish to make this type of commitment must go to the Tribunal d’instance in their community.
In June 2006, a law modified the rules concerning the “death duties and the liberalities”. Those modifications took place in August 2007. One of them is the surviving partner gains by an exemption on the death duties.
French law requires foreigners who wish to obtain a PACS in France be considered as single, full aged and free of tutelage in their home country.
Valid passport or other piece of identification;
Birth certificate (in French), delivered less than three (3) months, or six (6) months for a foreigner;
Declaration of single status and statement of non-placement under legal guardianship;
Notarized or private agreement;
Declaration of solemnity in which the Canadian citizen states, with his or her partner, that they are in no way related, and that no one opposes the union;
Declaration of solemnity concerning co-habitation.