There’s quite a bit of information regarding PACS (Pacte Civil de Solidarité), the French version of a civil union, floating around the internet; however, there’s not much information relating to PACS and the south of France. Since every tribunal tends to be différent, I was anxious about what to expect at the tribunal in Aix. So, here’s my PACS story:
In March, mon chéri contacted the Tribunal d’Instance (information such as the address and phone number about the tribunal in Aix can be found here). There are 2 tribunals in Aix: the Tribunal d’Instance and the Tribunal de Grand Instance – it’s important not to mix up these two. The Tribunal d’Instance handles all PACS cases. Due to the number of people applying to PACS on a daily basis (and the fact that PACS is only offered on specific days during the week), it’s important to schedule the appointment to PACS early. As with most legal matters, an appointment is required and it can take up to 2 months before being able to book one. Mon chéri and I called the Tribunal at the beginning of March to schedule our appointment. We thought that would give us plenty of time to book an appointment for April. Boy, were we wrong! Our appointment was decided for May 20 and then re-scheduled for June 23 since I hadn’t yet received my birth certificate (which I sent a month before for getting the apostille – my mom finally received it in the middle of June – It took over 2 months!). Since we were scheduled to visit my family in the states on June 18th, we had to make a serious decision: change the flights or find a Notaire. After comparing prices for changing the flights and the price of a Notaire, we decided to go with the Notaire.
After scheduling the appointment, it came time to make sure all of the documents were ready. Required documents for French citoyens vs. US expats are not the same. Of course, expats need more documents as nothing’s ever easy for us.
Here’s a list of required documents for a US expat and a Français/e to PACS at the Tribunal in Aix (it’s important to have all of these documents ready by the time of the appointment & it’s important to note that the tribunal does not accept photo copies of any of these required documents)*:
- 1 US birth certificate (It must be dated less than 6 months from the PACS appointment. The French are very particular about the length of time for important documents, so, make sure to request a copy of your birth certificate within this 6 month time frame, otherwise the tribunal will not accept the birth certificate. Requesting a birth certificate is different depending on the state; however, it seems that most states use Vital Check as an online way to request this document. Also, the cost differs depending on the state. I paid nearly $60 for mine because I had to use UPS to have it shipped overseas.)
- 1 certified French translation of the US birth certificate (A list of certified French translators can be found here. The fee can be as low as 50€. It’s also important that this coincides with the 6 month time frame for the birth certificate.)
- 1 apostille for the birth certificate (This can be attained by finding the appropriate facility that handles apostilles in your state of birth and then sending your birth certificate with the apostille application, a money order, and a self-addressed pre-paid envelopment to the facility. The cost for an apostille varies by state. An apostille is a form that certifies the validity of your document for foreign governments. Here’s an example of an apostille application for Illinois. This also has to coincide with the 6 month time frame for the birth certificate.)
- 1 certified French translation of the apostille (A list of certified French translators can be found here. The fee can be as low as 50€. It’s also important that this coincides with the 6 month time frame for the birth certificate.)
- 1 Certificat de Coutume for the US citoyen (This can be attained by booking an appointment at the Consulat Général des États-Unis d’Amérique in Marseille or in any city that has a US consulat, filling out this form, and bringing it with you to your appointment. A Certificat de Coutume for a US citoyen is a document that states that the US citoyen is not married and is not in a civil union. As of March 2015, the cost for a Certificat de Coutume is $50 or 48€.** The time-frame allowed for this document is 3 months, so, don’t request it too early.)
- 1 Certificat de non Pacte Civil de Solidarité for the US citoyen (fill out the form and submit it online here. As one of the steps in the online application process, you’ll have to submit a scanned PDF of the identity pages in your passeport, your birth certificate, and a certified translation of the birth certificate. This form comes from Paris and states that you are not already PACSé. After submitting the document online, it takes about 2 weeks for it to arrive to the south of France. If you prefer the old fashioned way: the form can also be filled out and post mailed or delivered in-person to the Tribunal de Grand Instance de Paris with a copy of your passeport, a copy of your birth certificate, and a copy of the certified translation of the birth certificate. The time-frame allowed for this document is 3 months, so, don’t request it too early.)
- 3 copies of the Pacte Civil de Solidarité (This is the PACS contract that you and your partner created. This is an example of the contract – simply, copy/paste it into a word document and fill in you and your partner’s information.)***
- 1 Attestation sur l’Honneur de Résidence Commune (This is an example of the contract – simply copy/paste it into a word document and fill in you and your partner’s information. This attestation states that you and your partner will live together.)***
- 2 Attestions sur l’Honneur d’Absence de lien de Parenté (this is an example of the contract – simply copy/paste it into a word document and fill in you and your partner’s information. This attestation states that you and your partner have no blood relation. You need 2, 1 that you sign and 1 that your partner signs.)***
- The US citizen’s passeport
- The Français/e I.D. card
- 1 l’Acte de Naissance for the Français (this can be ordered online from la Mairie. The time-frame for this document is 3 months.)
- 1 Justificatif de Domicile (an EDF bill (electricity bill) is the most likely justificatif to be accepted. This proves that you live in the jurisdiction of your tribunal.)
*Each tribunal tends to demand different documents; however, this post focuses on and speaks only of the tribunal in Aix-en-Provence (and the US consulat in Marseille) and PACSé between a US partner and Français partner.
**This amount is the exact amount one must pay at the Consulat Général des États-Unis d’Amérique in Marseille in 2015.
***The Notaire doesn’t have quite the same requirements as the tribunal because the Notaire makes these contracts for you…and he should since you’re paying about 350€ for his service.
After signing the PACS contract, then the non-french citoyen can head to the Prefecture and demand a carte de séjour. It seems simple… but nothing ever is as it seems. More on this procedure is to come. ♦