To Marry for a Green Card Marriage of Convenience
To get a green card marriage you must truly be in love. It is illegal to marry for a green card to a total stranger or just a friend. That person may then face can deportation. Their immigration visa would, obviously, be revoked. Plus, the American would face a jail sentence. When you do that, it ruins it for those couples who are in love. It makes it harder for those who want to be married through proper steps in the immigration laws. The process of legalization then becomes more and more difficult.
Tourist visas have an expiration. Call us if you are in love. We can help you get married. Many couples wish to elope to avoid the expiration date on their visas. They usually a more formal wedding ceremony later. As ceremony officiants, we can be there for you to provide a legal marriage ceremony. For green card marriage convenience it can be done quickly. The CA confidential marriage license is legal and private.
We are often called by many couples in love or their attorney. Officiant Guy can provide a marriage license and wedding ceremony, often on a moment’s notice. Please go to our marriage license requirements page for the proper information on how to get married with a confidential marriage license. It lists the proper documentation that is needed.
When is a Marriage Valid for Immigration?
- The spouse who is not a United States citizen must establish the legal validity of his or her marriage for immigration purposes. The legal validity of a marriage is determined by the governing law in the place where the marriage was celebrated. That rule is called the “Place-of-Celebration Rule” and it dictates that a marriage is valid for purposes of immigration on if the marriage is legally valid under the law of jurisdiction where the marriage ceremony was performed.
- It is always the burden of the non-United State citizen applicant to prove that his or her marriage to a U.S. citizen spouse burden is valid. In most cases, a certified marriage certificate is most simple and clear evidence that the marriage was properly and legally performed.
- Even if a certified marriage certificate is provided, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will not recognize the following relationships as marriages , even if those marriages are considered valid in the place of celebration :
- No Polygamous marriages (marriage to more than one person at a time)
- No incestuous marriages or marriages when one spouse is not an adult
- Unions that are not considered marriages in the jurisdiction where they took place, such as civil unions, domestic partnerships, or other such relationships
- Relationships where one party was not present during the marriage ceremony (proxy marriages)
- Relationships that were entered into specifically for purposes of taking advantage of the United States immigration laws.
Importantly, these rules apply to same sex marriages to the same extent that they apply to opposite sex marriages. Thus, as long as the jurisdiction where the marriage ceremony took place respects same sex marriages the marriage is valid as long as it satisfies all other requirements of proof.
Validity of Foreign Divorces and Subsequent Remarriage
A divorce that has taken place in another country is valid in the United States as long as it is valid in under the laws of the country where it took place and, importantly, as long as the United States recognized and respects the laws of divorce in the country. If the divorce is not final under the foreign law, the remarriage by the spouse who was not validly divorced is not valid for U.S. immigration purposes.
The primary focus of the USCIS in determining whether a foreign divorce is valid is whether the court issuing the divorce had jurisdiction to do so.
Evidence of a Valid Marriage
The burden is on the non-United States citizen applicant to establish that he or she is in a valid marriage with his or her U.S. citizen spouse for the required period of time. A spouse of a U.S. citizen must provide an official civil record to establish that the marriage is legal and valid. If an official civil record cannot be produced, secondary evidence may be accepted on a case-by-case basis but much more difficult to show proof a valid marriage with secondary evidence than it is with an original.
Common Law Marriage
In those jurisdictions that recognize common law marriage, an honest good-faith intention on the part of two persons , who have the right to marry each other , to live together as spouses from the inception of the relationship as spouses can result in a legal marriage after that relationship has taken place for a specific period of time without interruption. In order for a common law marriage to be valid for immigration purposes :
•The parties must live in a jurisdiction that recognizes common law marriage; and
•The parties must meet the qualifications for common law marriage for that jurisdiction.
Other states may recognize a common law marriage contracted in another state even if the recognizing state does not accept common law marriage as a means for its own residents to contract marriage.
USCIS recognizes common law marriages only if the marriage was valid and recognized by the state in which the marriage was established . This is true whether the naturalization application is filed in a jurisdiction where the marriage took place or in a jurisdiction that does not recognize or has never recognized the principle of common law marriage.
U.S. Citizenship from Time of Filing until Oath
It is required that the spouse of the applicant remain a U.S. citizen at all times prior to the application. In order to take advantage of the special naturalization provisions for spouses of U.S. citizens, the applicant’s spouse must be and remain a U.S. citizen from the time of filing until the time the applicant takes the Oath of Allegiance. An applicant is ineligible for naturalization under these provisions if his or her spouse is not a U.S. citizen or loses U.S. citizenship status by denaturalization or expatriation prior to the applicant taking the Oath of Allegiance.
Marital Union and Living in Marital Union
1. Married and Living in Marital Union
As a rule, a ll naturalization applicants filing on the basis of marriage to a U.S. citizen must be the spouse of a U .S. citizen from the time of filing the Application for Naturalization until the applicant takes the Oath of A llegiance. That applicant must “ live in marital union” with his or her citizen spouse prior to filing the Application for Naturalization . This requirement is satisfied as long as the applicant and the citizen actually reside together .
An applicant for naturalization is not eligible for naturalization if:
•He or she is not residing with his or her United States citizen spouse at the time of filing or during the time in which the applicant is required to be living in marital union with the citizen spouse; or
•If at any time prior to taking the Oath of Allegiance, any events take place that may lead to the conclusion that the applicant nor the United States citizen spouse can be considered to be residing together as spouses. There are only limited circumstances that may permit an applicant to avoid this rule.
2. Loss of Marital Union due to Death , Divorce , or Expatriation
Death of U.S. Citizen Spouse
An applicant is not eligible to naturalize as the spouse of a U.S. citizen if the U.S. citizen dies at any time before to the applicant takes the Oath of A llegiance . This rule may not apply if the applicant is the surviving spouse of a U.S. citizen who died during a period of honorable service in an active- duty status in the U.S. armed forces.
Divorce or Annulment
A person’s marital status may be terminated by a judicial divorce or by an annulment. In either case, the marriage is no longer a legal marriage for purposes of immigration or naturalization.
USCIS determines the validity of a divorce by examining whether the state or country which granted the divorce properly assumed jurisdiction over the divorce proceeding and whether the parties follow ed the proper legal formalities required by the state or country in which the divorce was obtained to determine if the divorce is legally binding.
Expatriation of U.S. Citizen Spouse
An applicant may not naturalize as the spouse of a U.S. citizen if the U.S. citizen has expatriated any time prior to the applicant taking the Oath of Allegiance for naturalization .
3. Failure to be Living in Marital Union due to Separation
A legal separation take place when the rights of a married couple are altered by a judicial decree does not terminate the marital relationship. In nearly all such cases, the applicant will no longer be actually residing with his or her U.S. citizen spouse, and therefore w ill not be living in marital union with the U.S. citizen spouse. This may be the result even if the couple continues to live at the same residence.
With few exceptions, an applicant who is legally separated from his or her spouse during the time period in which he or she must be living in marital union is ineligible to naturalize as the spouse of a U.S. citizen.
Even if a formal separation is not decreed, an applicant who is no longer actually residing with his or her U.S. citizen spouse following an informal separation is not living in marital union with the U.S. citizen spouse.
However, even in the case of an informal separation, a USCIS officer must determine on a case-by-case basis whether an informal separation before the filing of the naturalization application renders an applicant ineligible for naturalization as the spouse of a U.S. citizen .
Factors to consider in making this determination may include :
•The length of separation;
•Whether the applicant and his or her spouse continue to support each other and their children (if any) during the separation;
•Whether the spouses intend to separate permanently; and
•Whether either spouse becomes involved in a relationship with others during the separation.
Under very limited circumstances and where there is no indication that the spouses encountered marital disunity , an applicant may be able to show that he or she is living in marital union with his or her U.S. citizen spouse even though the applicant does not actually reside with citizen spouse. Separation from one’s spouse does not invalidate naturalization if the separation is due to circumstances beyond his or her control, such as
•Service in the U.S. armed forces ; or
•Required travel or relocation for employment .
USCIS does not consider incarceration during the time of required living in marital union to be a n involuntary separation
Officiant Guy is a California nondenominational minister for weddings. He has been officiating weddings for over several decades. He has been on TV. He has married many celebrities. He issues Los Angeles confidential marriage licenses. Call the most popular officiant in Los Angeles County. Planning to get married anywhere in LA or OC Counties? Then call (310) 882-5039 or (562) 547-3255. Or fill out the contact form.