PACS Paperwork

Will it ever end? Probably not!

I may have mentioned that E and I are getting PACS’d. That means we plan to enter into “un pacte civil de solidarité,” which officially does very little other than legally defining our relationship as a household when filing taxes and taking on debt. We couldn’t adopt a child together, for example.

Considering neither of us has debt at the moment, the PACS will do three main things for us.

First, it will make it easier to rent an apartment if we decide to move. As an international couples, agencies would often ask us why we weren’t PACS’d. This gives us the impression of more stability, and reassures any potential landlords that we aren’t just young, dumb, and in love. Instead, we’re young, dumb, in love, and legally, a very tiny household.

Second, it will cut E’s taxes in half. Neither of us are making tons of money, but we still file our declarations of revenue completely separately. As E plans to leave his job and as France switches over to an automatic tax-withholding system, now is the time to get this done. We’d piddled around the idea in 2015, having decided to do it but never getting around to it, but life is giving us the hint that our PACS is overdue.

Third, it may help with my visa. As I’ve gushed, I love my immigration lawyer. She’s helped me figure out several paths for legal residency and naturalisation. One of our back-ups includes a visa that you generally must be PACS’d or married to receive. With any luck, I will not require that particular visa, but still, if worst comes to worst, we want to be ready.

But before we can get to any of those benefits, we have to go through the bureaucracy of it all. I started this process back in late February and things were going so well but my birth certificate might delay us.

I’ve used my original birth certificate twice in France, once when originally applying for my visa, and once when renewing it. I want to use it again, despite the famous French penchant for demanding a birth certificate that is less than 6 months old.

I chatted with a friend who is PACS’d (and engaged!) to a French girl, and he warned me that they take your birth certificate and do not return it when you PACS. So… That’s probably out.

Now what?

I have an amendment on my birth certificate (my father’s middle name was written in the feminine, not the masculine, form) and so I will likely have to request about $50 worth of paperwork, plus some untold amount of shipping expense.

Then, I will have to go back to my translator and get both pages translated. She and I discussed this re-translation issue before, and she may give me a deal on the stamp and the signature, but I’ll still have to call to ask.

My state requires a notary public to certify my demand for a birth certificate, adding an additional expense and possibly a trip to the consulate, as it’s not clear if they will accept a French notary’s stamp… I considered using a legitimate but apparently horrid service in order to order my certificate and amendment online, but because of my state’s regulations, I’m not able to get a certified copy online. Instead, I’ll have to call the county office to ask them what can be done to get the copy.

I want to help E with his taxes, and protect my residency status in the future, but the upfront costs are so frustrating.

We’re looking at about $60 for both pages of my birth certificate, the cost of a notary and possibly a translation before I can send the document, the cost of the translator (around $90, possibly as high as $120 if I need to translate the notarisation), plus the cost of shipping (up to $30) plus (!) the month it will take for my state to send my documents.

We had really wanted to get the PACS finished up before the election next weekend, and thought we would be able to. We may try, despite everything, to get it done anyway. Still, I’m guessing that I’ll just have to pay the $200+ but hope, even in French bureaucracy, springs eternal!


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