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Tying the Knot?

Find wedding vendor contracts and other legal resources for newlyweds.

How do I marry a non-citizen?

To marry a non-citizen in the U.S., you’ll first need to discover what kind of identification is required to apply for a marriage license in the county you want to get married in. In many cases, a valid passport can be used to prove identity. A birth certificate may also be required to verify that the participants are of legal age to marry. To discover the local marriage requirements contact your local county clerk’s office for specific details.

If you are looking to change legal citizenship status (naturalization), you may benefit from working with an immigration lawyer.

What is a marriage-based visa? What is a fiancé visa?

Marriage or fiancé(e) visas are used to allow a spouse or future spouse to enter the United States with a temporary visa. To obtain a fiancé or marriage visa, you first need to prove that you are a “real” couple who plan on building a life together in the United States. You can apply for and obtain a fiancé visa before you are married. A marriage-based visa can be applied for and obtained after you are married. The marriage must be considered valid and legal in the U.S.

The process to obtain a green card or to become a citizen can be complicated. You will need to provide proof of citizenship, pay fees, and prove income to sponsor a person in the U.S. Visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website to learn more about the current requirements for a fiancé(e) visa.

How do I bring a non-citizen spouse to the U.S.?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can help guide you through the process of bringing your spouse to the United States. Generally, you need to file the forms listed below.

If you are a U.S. citizen lawfully inside the U.S.:

  • Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)
  • Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status)

If you are a U.S. citizen lawfully located outside of the U.S.:

If you are a green card holder or permanent resident legally inside the U.S.:

If you are a green card holder or permanent resident located outside the U.S.:

Can two non-citizens marry in the U.S.?

Yes, non-citizens can marry within the U.S. Keep in mind that marriage does not change your immigration status and the marriage may not be recognized in your home country. To get married in the U.S., you simply need the proper identification to apply for a marriage license in the county in which you are to be married. In most cases, you’ll need to provide a valid passport. You may also need to prove that you are old enough to be legally married and that you are not already married. Your country may have additional requirements to validate your marriage abroad.

With the proper valid identification, it is not difficult to get married in the United States. If you need to change your citizenship status, you’ll benefit from consulting with an immigration lawyer. If you ever need a copy of your marriage certificate, you can always request a copy from the county or state where you were married. 

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.


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