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Marriage Visas - Where Should I Get Married?


Question: I want to sponsor my fiancée for US residence.

Should I get married in the United States or abroad?

Answer: You can marry in the US or abroad provided:

  • You are legally able to enter into marriage
    • You must be of the proper age for the jurisdiction
    • If previously married anywhere, you and your spouse must be divorced or widowed
    • If you have received a divorce Decree NISI, you must also have obtained a Decree Absolute by the foreign court
    • You are married by an official with the legal capacity to conduct a marriage
    • Your marriage is recorded and registered in the proper official office
    • Your marriage is not performed by proxy
  • Advantages of marriage abroad
    • Allows family abroad to attend/participate
    • Allows marriage in circumstances where the alien cannot enter the US
    • If a petition is filed immediately thereafter, marriage abroad and consular processing can, in some cases, be a faster route to residency
    • Allows observance of native customs
    • Can avoid a finding of non-immigrant visa fraud
  • Advantages of marriage in the US
    • Allows US family/friends to attend/participate
    • Eliminates or reduces time spent apart
    • Marriage procedures in the US may be simpler and faster
    • US Government readily recognizes marriages conducted in all 50 states
    • Decisions made by DHS within the US are generally reviewable, whereas decisions made by the Department of State are not
  • Considerations in decision-making
    • Where is your fiancée physically located currently?
    • What are the customs and cultural norms of our fiancée’s’ country?
    • Is your fiancée legally in the US?
    • How long has your fiancée been in the US”
    • How much-authorized stay is remaining for your fiancée?
    • Does your fiancée need to spend time abroad to finalize study, work, or family obligations?
    • What will be the impact of physical separation on your relationship?
    • How important is the reduction of time spent apart?
    • How important is it to expedite your fiancée’s ability to work in the US?
    • Advantages/disadvantages of utilizing a K-1 visa and marrying in the US

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