Marriage is a very exciting and important life event, but when two people from different countries get married, it is important to know what rules and regulations might impact your future together. Making mistakes about immigration marriage laws can be expensive and even criminal. If you accept money from a foreigner in exchange for marriage in the United States, it can cost you $250,000 and result in a 5-year prison sentence.
If you are thinking about getting married, it is a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney about applicable immigration marriage laws and to make sure that you are eligible to get married under the circumstances you prefer. They will also be able to advise you about where the best place to get married might be for your unique situation and steps you will need to take to protect yourself and your new spouse legally.
It is important to know that for your marriage to be legally recognized in the United States for the purposes of immigration, it must adhere to certain guidelines established in this country for marriages. Even if practices like polygamous marriages, underage marriages and proxy marriages are legal in the country where you were married, these types of marriages will not be recognized in the US as legal.
In general, our immigration marriage laws state that you will need to have proof of the legality of your marriage. You will need to be able to demonstrate that your marriage is bona fide, meaning that you are genuinely establishing a life together and not just married for immigration’s sake. If either spouse has been married before, you will need documentation that shows that the marriage ended legally, through divorce, annulment or death. There is also a special visa (the K1 visa) that may be issued to fiancé(e)s of US citizens intending to get married.