Marriage Procedures and Registration for Foreigners in the USA - TranslateSwift - Certified Translation Services

Marriage Procedures and Registration for Foreigners in the USA

Published:   |  Updated:   |  Posted in: Getting Married
Marriage Procedures and Registration for Foreigners in the USA

The United States Of America permits marriage with a foreigner who is already residing in the States. Because in the eyes of the American government, the cordial commitment was sealed keeping the State Law in mind and not the U.S. Federal Immigration Law. For instance, two non-US Citizens like Italians are eligible to marry in Las Vegas and can return to their homeland after entering the cherished bond.

If you are planning to marry a non-US citizen in the United States of America then the procedure is no rocket science as you and your spouse-to-be will be asked to provide your identification evidence like a driver’s license, ID card for immigrants issued by the state, or a passport of the county to show that as the venue of marriage. The state encourages non-US citizens to walk on this path through a proper and official marriage procedure and registration, which if overlooked will result in heavy penalties and you would be left with no option other than having to face the music.

Therefore the blog will provide you with detailed insights regarding marriage registration in the USA, especially in the case of foreigners. If you plan to go back abroad as a newly married couple then you will need certified translation services to help translate your marriage certificate. Let’s find out the best marriage license translation and go into the nuances of marriage registration in the USA.

Getting Married as a Foreigner in the USA

U.S. citizens and green card holders can enjoy the freedom of getting married to a non-U.S. person. The American Government opens the platform of furnishing the green card to your foreign spouse and you are allowed to share the same roof in the country. However, the procedure of application largely varies, as it’s based on where you and your future better half reside and what are your updated immigrant statuses.

Let’s delve into the details to see which of the cases is applicable to your situation and then you can resume ahead:

Are Both The Partners Living In The United States of America?

If both the partners are living in the United States of America then how will they tackle the marriage procedure and registration? In order to initiate marriage registration procedure, both of you should be equipped with either a visitor visa or a U.S. work visa. Your spouse will be qualified to become a legal permanent resident via adjustment of status. This is a procedure where the work visa or visit visa is upgraded into a green card.

For that to occur, you and your immigrant spouse are required to marry and have marriage registration in the USA, meaning the state or officials representing the county and mention where your wedding took place. Once you have ticked that off, then you will move ahead to file the Petition for Alien Relative, also referred to as Form I-130. This is done to initiate the procedure of granting a green card to your non-US citizen spouse. While the green card is in its processing, your title is temporarily changed as you become your partner’s petitioner or sponsor and they receive the entitlement of a beneficiary.

The next steps unlock the doors to confirm whether you are a U.S. citizen or a lawful resident who is permanent in the States.

In Case Of A U.S. Citizen

If you fall under the category of being a U.S. citizen then the good news is that you and your spouse will be exempted from the laborious processing of marriage registration when you will use the concurrent filing method. The concurrent filing method comprises filing Form I-485 which surfaces as an Application for Adjustment of Status accompanying your Form I-130. USCIS will take over the responsibility of processing your application, inviting you for a biometric visit and a physical interview before giving your spouse a green card.

Are You A Lawful Permanent Resident?

In the situation where you are a green card holder then it is critical for your partner that while waiting for the legal permanent residence address, they should have their valid immigration status in the USA. In order to maintain proper immigration status, your spouse needs to have a valid work or visitor visa. When a visa number is available then your spouse can conveniently move on to achieving the next milestone of the process which is filing Form I-485.

90 Day Rule

The 90-day rule is a rule by the U.S. government to check for marriages that might not be real. Here’s how it works:

Imagine you come to the U.S. on a visitor visa, like a tourist visa. This visa lets you visit, but not stay permanently. The 90-day rule says that if you marry a U.S. citizen within 3 months (90 days) of arriving, the U.S. government (USCIS) might suspect you lied about why you came. They might think you really came to get a green card (permanent residency) through marriage, not for tourism.

Are You In The United States But Your Future Spouse Isn’t?

Are you in the United States but your future spouse isn’t? Then you have two solutions: K-1 visa status or consular processing. Here, you will be separated from your spouse for a temporary period of time. Why? Because they are required to go through the visa process outside the country.

Do remember that avoiding abiding by any of the methods told up til now will bring about extreme consequences for marriage fraud or immigrating to the United States under the section of fake marriage for whatever reason you committed the criminal offence for.

Consular Processing

Getting married in the United States is not as rocket science as it seems.

If you get married outside the U.S., your spouse can apply for a green card through Consular Processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

There are steps involved:

  • You (the U.S. citizen) need to file Form I-130, petitioning for your spouse as a relative.
  • Your spouse needs to fill out Form DS-160, an online application for a nonimmigrant visa (this might seem like a mistake, but it’s part of the process).
  • Your spouse will need a medical exam and an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate.

K-1 Visa Processing

The K-1 visa is a type of nonimmigrant visa exclusively for foreign fiancés(ées) of U.S. citizens making marriage in the USA for foreigners easier to handle and after that they can apply for permanent residency (green card).

How to Register Marriage in the US?

Congratulations to the new couple! Now that you’re married as a foreigner, you have to get your marriage license in the USAto prove your marital status. Here’s why this is important:

  • Applying for Social Security benefits for your spouse
  • Changing your name on legal documents (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
  • Filing joint tax returns
  • Obtaining health insurance coverage for your spouse
  • Establishing inheritance rights

In short, a certified marriage certificate USA acts as official recognition of your marriage for legal and financial matters.


Setting on the path of marriage as a foreigner in the USA is both exciting and filled with practical considerations. By understanding the legal procedures and requirements, couples can navigate this process smoothly. Remember, attention to detail, proper documentation, and seeking assistance when needed are key to a successful marriage registration experience.

Whether it’s obtaining certified translations or understanding state laws, TranslateSwift is here to support you every step of the way. Here’s to love conquering all borders and creating unforgettable moments, no matter where in the world you say “I do”.

FAQs – Marriage Procedures for Foreigners in the USA

Can a green card holder get married to a foreigner?

Yes, absolutely! A green card holder (lawful permanent resident) can get married to a foreigner. There are no restrictions on who a green card holder can marry.

What if I need my marriage certificate for legal or financial purposes?

A certified copy of your marriage certificate is the official document you’ll need for most situations.

Do I need a visa to get married in the US if I’m not a citizen?

No, a visa specifically for getting married doesn’t exist. However, you’ll need to be in the US with a valid visa status that allows for marriage.