Do You Need to Get Married in the U.S? Navigating the Green Card Process through Marriage

If you are seeking a green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen, it is not necessary to get married in the United States.

You don’t have to be married in the U.S. Your non-U.S. marriage certificate will suffice as long as it is valid and recognized in the country where it was issued.

The non-U.S. marriage certificate will often need to have a proper English translation before it can be used for a green card through marriage filing.

However, there are certain requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for a green card through marriage. First, you must be legally married to a U.S. citizen. This means that the marriage must be recognized as valid under the laws of the country where it was performed and under U.S. immigration laws.

Additionally, the U.S. citizen spouse must petition for the foreign spouse to immigrate to the U.S. by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

  • The foreign spouse who is inside the U.S. will then have to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and attend an interview at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office.
  • The foreign spouse who is outside the U.S. will have to go through a process known as Consular Processing and attend an interview at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad.

The green card through the marriage process can become extremely complex if not carefully planned before the filing of the sponsoring petition. Contact our office to request a consultation with an immigration attorney about your particular matter.


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