Marriages Entered Into Abroad and In Other States – Is my marriage valid for immigration purposes?

03 Mar

I have been asked whether marriages entered into in foreign countries and states other than Tennessee are valid for immigration purposes.  Generally, yes.  The United States will recognize marriages entered into in other countries if they are valid in the country where the ceremony was performed.  There are, however, two exceptions to the rule.  The United States does not currently recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions nor does it recognize polygamous marriages as valid marriages for immigration purposes.  Generally, a state in the United States must recognize a valid marriage entered into in another state of the United States, except polygamous marriages.

Also, just as a valid marriage entered into in another country or another state is recognized, so are valid divorces.  The key question is whether the divorce or marriage was valid in the jurisdiction where entered. Again, with the exception of polygamous marriages.

So, for example, if you are waiting to enter as an unmarried son or daughter but then get married outside of the United States, you will be considered married for immigration purposes if the marriage is recognized in the country in which you were married.

The information above is not intended to give legal advice and is only general in nature.  You should seek competent legal advice for your specific situation.  The choice of an attorney is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.  No attorney-client relationship is created by use of this site.

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Posted by on March 3, 2011 in Divorce, Marriage, Uncategorized


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