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What are the advantages of getting pacsé in France?

The Local France
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What are the advantages of getting pacsé in France?
Photo by Patrick HAMILTON / AFP

Beyond demonstrating love, commitment and all that stuff - entering into a civil partnership (known as pacsé) in France also has important implications for immigration, tax and inheritance.


In France if you want to demonstrate your romantic commitment to a partner you have the choice of either getting married or entering into a Pacte civil de solidarité, commonly known as PACS.

Both marriage and PACS are available on an equal basis to same-sex or opposite-sex couples, but they have different implications when it comes to inheritance, tax and immigration rules.

Here's a look at the advantages and disadvantages of getting pacsé for foreigners in France. 



Overall, getting pacsé is easier to organise than getting married in France - your partnership can either be registered at the mairie, your country's embassy or consulate or with a notaire, unlike weddings which can only be conducted at the mairie.

You will still require a lot of paperwork, however, and if you want to get pacsé at the mairie you will need to demonstrate residency or some other clear connection to the commune.

And if things don't work out, it's also easier to dissolve a PACS then it is to get divorced.

READ ALSO The French divorce law pitfalls that foreigners need to be aware of


The flip side of it being easier to organise, is that being pacsé does not give you the same rights as being married, especially when it comes to immigration paperwork.

If you're married to a French person you're entitled to apply for a spouse visa or a 'vie privée et familiale' residency permit and in most cases this will be granted (subject to you having the correct paperwork).

If you are pacsé with a French person you cannot apply for a spouse visa. You can apply for a family reunification visa but whether it's granted or not is at the discretion of the official. There is also little published guidance on applying as a pacsé partner which makes it hard to understand the logic behind why some applications are granted and some are rejected.

It's also worth checking whether your home country will recognise a French civil partnership if you want to head back and bring your French partner with you. They will almost certainly need a visa, but not all countries recognise civil partnerships when issuing spouse visas.

Employment rights

If you're getting married you are entitled to five days off work (in addition to your annual leave allowance) while if you are getting pacsé you are only entitled to one extra day off.


Otherwise the two states are the same when it comes to things like compassionate leave on the death or a partner or spouse or shared benefits such as mutuelle health cover.


In France couples file a joint tax declaration and this applies whether you are married, pacsé or concubiné (formally living together as a couple).

There are no specific tax breaks for married couples that don't apply to couples who are pacsé or simply living together.

Likewise couples who are either married or pacsé are exempt from inheritance tax on any assets that they leave to each other in the event of their death. Couples who are simply living together, however, would have to pay inheritance tax on assets inherited from a partner when they die. 



One of the biggest differences between marriage and PACS is inheritance - if you die without leaving a will, your assets will automatically go to your spouse. On top of that, the surviving spouse has the automatic right to continue living in the family home.

However for the surviving person in a pacsé union there is no automatic right to any of the above. Instead you would have to have written a will stipulating those conditions if that is what you would like to happen.

That means that if you are pacsé then the surviving partner is not as protected as they would be if you were married however you can easily get around this by writing a will.


A spouse or divorced former spouse is entitled, on a means-tested basis, to a portion of the deceased's pension.

A pacsé partner, however, is not entitled to this in most cases. 


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