To get married in the United States, you need to fulfil requirements and abide by the legal process. There’s nothing more frustrating than failure to marry on American soil just because of technicalities. So before you plan for your dream wedding and honeymoon, you must first ensure that you fulfil all the necessary paperwork and comply with the right procedure for a hassle-free marriage in the USA.
To ensure that you marry in the USA, you must first get a marriage license, celebrate your wedding, and obtain your marriage certificate. You should take note that each state has a unique set of marital laws. So remember to check the state’s regulations before applying for a marriage license.
In most American states, the legal age for marriage is 18. If you’re below legal age, you must secure additional requirements like parental consent and approval from a local judge. If you were previously married, you should present documents proving that you’re divorced. Read on to find out about the process to get married in the USA as a Filipino.
How Can Filipinos Get Married In The USA?
Marriage of Non-US Citizens or Permanent Residents
All states allow couples to get married in their jurisdictions even if both of them are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. If this is your case, you only need to secure the required documents that indicate your place of birth, address, and education level for identification. Once you have fulfilled the needed paperwork, you can get a license according to normal procedure.
You can apply for a marriage license at a county courthouse. You should take note that licenses are valid only for a given period. If you fail to get married within this period, you must apply for a new license.
Non-citizens who wish to marry in the U.S. don’t need exclusive immigration rights.
Marriage to a U.S. Citizen
Things get a little more complicated when you want to marry a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. In most cases, Immigration procedures vary depending on whether one party is a U.S. citizen or only a green card holder.
U.S. citizens who want to marry a non-citizen without a green card or visa must get a K-1 nonimmigrant fiancé(e) visa. The non-citizen partner can apply for this document at the U.S. consulate in the Philippines (or your country of residence). After complying with this requirement, you will be invited for an interview. One of the questions that the immigration officer will ask you is to provide proof that you and your partner are indeed in a genuine relationship.
Once you get your K-1 nonimmigrant fiancé(e) visa, you only have 90 days to marry in the U.S. before it expires.
Marriage to a Green Card Holder
If a U.S. green card holder wants to marry a non-citizen, the couple should apply independently for a U.S. visa, which may take a while to get approved. Certain types of visas (such as L-1 and H-1 worker visas) allow a new spouse to apply for a dependent visa immediately after he or she gets legally married to a green card holder.
After marrying a U.S. citizen, obtaining a green card and living in the country for three years, you can file for citizenship.
If you are planning to marry in the USA, these are the steps you need to take depending on your situation. As you can see, it is possible, whether you plan to marry a non-US citizen, a US citizen or a US green card holder. Before you start planning your dream wedding, take some time to read through the requirements and apply for a visa if needed. Good luck!