Civil marriage in France
A couple in which one partner is French must get in touch with the mairie (town hall) of the French partner’s place of residence in France.
A couple in which neither partner is French must contact their own consulate in France.
The material below is for information purposes only.
A minimum stay of one month prior to the marriage in the town in France where the civil marriage will be celebrated => proof of residence required.
The consent of both parties.
No close family ties between future spouses.
Birth certificate: a full certified copy of an entry of birth (the names of the parents must be stated), along with its translation. The French Consulate does not offer translation services (click here for a list of translators). Copies of British documents and their translation must be apostilled according to the following procedure:
After translation, both the original and the translated document must be presented to a solicitor registered with the Law Society in the United Kingdom.
The solicitor must verify the authenticity of the document and certify that the translation is accurate.
It is imperative that he sign his name and that of his firm.
The document is then submitted to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to be apostilled, at the following address (we recommend that you contact the FCO beforehand):
Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Legalisation Office
Old Admiralty Building - The Mall
London SW1A 2LG
Tel : 0207 008 1111
The legalisation can also be done directly in France according to the following procedure:
The original documents must be legalised by a British consulate in France.
They must then be translated by a sworn translator (lists of which are provided by French cour d’appel, or Courts of Appeal).
Solicitor’s certificate: this document is necessary if the parties have entered into a marriage contract. In the absence of such contract, the spouses will be subject to the law of the first state in which they establish legal residency, according to the Hague Convention of 14 March 1978. However, this principle is subject to the varying laws of individual states as well as possible bilateral conventions.
Certificate of custom law (certificat de coutume): this document can be obtained from the:
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Consular Section
Nationality and Passport Section
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH
(by post only)
Tel : 0207 008 0186 (9:30am - 12:30pm)
or in France from:
The Consular Section of the British Embassy
16 rue d’Anjou
Tel : 0033 1 44 51 31 00.
Statement of identity and residence of two witnesses.
For divorcees, a divorce decree: in the case of British nationals, a Decree Absolute, along with its translation in French (which can be legalised as well).
For widows and widowers, a death certificate of the former spouse.
Certificate of celibacy (certificat de célibat): also known as a Certificate of No Impediment, this can be obtained by British nationals from their town hall.