How to get PACS in France


PACS or Pacte civil de solidarité, is a concubinage agreement that offers the benefits of a married couple but with fewer obligations. Initially developed at the request of gay couples to declare themselves a family unit, it has become very popular among hetero couples and a popular method used by immigrants and refugees to obtain a visa or residence permit.

In France, there is a well-thought-out and subtle tactic to encourage marriage and punish unmarried young people, regardless of their sexual orientation. If you are around 30-years-old and you are still alone, you are prone to being refused having social and professional benefits, you are prone to pay much higher taxes to the state (the celibate member can have 30% of his income taxed versus 14% if you are in a couple) and at any bank you you go will have lower chances to get a credit if you are single, so many young people choose to compromise by making a PACS contract with their partners.

The procedure is very similar to marriage, if not identical, and because we are in France,  it is very complicated and involves a lot of bureaucracy. Although it practically takes 5 minutes to sign the papers, it takes months to get to that point. The starting point is the government site, where you will find a list of what documents you need if you are a foreigner or you can go directly to the town hall that you belong to and ask for the PACS dossier, which also contains the list of everything you need:

– Copy of your identity card, passport. I am not sure if the passport is absolutely necessary for us as EU citizens, but it appears in the official list of documents necessary for foreigners. We had them with us and we had no problems.

-The standard contract form PACS CERFA n ° 15726 * 02 (02 comes from second revision, very important not to come with the old one), which you can find online here

-The standardized common declaration form stating on your own responsibility that you live in the same house, that you are not related or affiliated in any way, named form CERFA n ° 15725 * 02 (attestations sur l’honneur de non-parenté, non-alliance et résidence commune)

-The birth certificate of both partners, legalized copy and translated into French at a notary or authorized translation firm and with all the necessary mentions. Here’s where the fun part starts, if you did not make this copy home, it will cost you about EUR 60 per person for a copy and legalized translation.  You probably have the old model of birth certificate, which does not come in different languages and is not renewable. The French bureaucrats do not accept an official act to be issued once and to be valid for a lifetime, so you must go with the certificates and the translated copies to the nearest consulate or the Embassy of your country to obtain an attestation that this act (birth certificate) is only issued once and is valid for life. Fortunately for us, there is a consulate of Romania right in the city where we are, Marseilles. The translation must not be older than 3 months at the time of submission of the PACS dossier.

– Cutume and celibacy certificate: if you’re going anyway to the embassy or consulate, might as well ask for this certificate as well. This paper certifies that you are not married in your home country. It is released only by the country of origin and can not be equated here. The certificate must not be older than 3 months at the time of submission of the PACS dossier.

– NON-PACS certificate for citizens born in a country other than France. This certifies that you do not have a PACS contract already made with someone else in France. It is only obtained from the “Service central d’état civil” in Paris, but fortunately it can be done online. Take the form Cerfa n ° 12819 * 05 from HERE, complete it and send the application for each partner to with the subject: “Demande de certificat de non-Pacs

BE CAREFUL! The request should be sent by each partner separately, not from the same email address. If you’ve done this the right way, you’ll get an automated reply to confirm your application for a certificate. After about two weeks you will receive the required certificates. The NON PACS certificate must not be older than 3 months at the time of submission of the PACS dossier.

-If you have been living in France for more than a year, you will need to obtain a certificate stating that you are not registered in the civil registry and do not have a guardian or tutor that is legally obliged to give you approval to enter the PACS agreement (attestation de non-inscription au répertoire civil pour vérifier l’absence de tutelle ou curatelle). We did not need it so I can not tell you more.

With all these papers you made a pretty thick dossier, put them nicely in the folder that you received from the town hall and bring it back to them. Depending on how bad or good is going the day for the lady at the counter , she will either accept the file directly, or she will start to investigate each paper and make your life complicated. Since our French speaking skills was almost zero, it was hard to explain that she was not right and that we had everything we needed, so we ended up making quite a few visits to the local Mairie. After the folder submission, it takes about one month for you to be scheduled to sign the papers. The waiting period depends from city to city and of the year period you submit. In small towns you will probably be told from the time you submit the folder when you have to come to sign. For the signing, you need only your IDs and after a few signatures, in 5 minutes later you will go out with the paper in your hand. Simple no? I hope this article is useful and if I missed something or have a question, do not hesitate to ask. 

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