Is my proxy or virtual marriage valid for immigration purposes?
The pandemic has transformed how we have traditionally done things, including marriages. Many states are now allowing marriages to be conducted via Zoom. But how does this all work and will immigration accept my virtual marriage for green card purposes?
What is a Proxy Marriage?
The traditional concept of a proxy marriage happened when one of the couples was not physically present for the marriage. A stand-in person would take the place of the missing spouse where the ceremony was being held. Today, we are seeing entirely virtual weddings, where the officiant is in the place where the ceremony is held and each member of the couple is in a different state or a different country, but virtually present.
How does it work?
Proxy marriages can be done when one person is physically present and the other is remote, but it all depends on state laws and whether the state legally recognizes this type of marriage. These laws are important to check since some of them are only valid while pandemic restrictions are in place and once those restrictions are
Proxy Marriages and Immigration
INA 101(a)(35) explains that in order for a proxy marriage to be deemed legal under U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the marriage must be consummated through sexual relations. This does not include sexual relations prior to the marriage, it must happen after the marriage took place. Yes, even if you have common children, unless they were born after the marriage, it will not work to satisfy this proxy marriage requirement.
Generally, we ask our clients to provide affidavits attesting to the facts of the marriage along with actual proof they were physically together after the marriage. This can include photographs with the date and time stamps, travel itinerary and boarding passes, hotel accommodations, and any other type of paper evidence that can prove the couple was physically together post-marriage.
As previously discussed, before pursuing a proxy marriage, it is important to verify your state laws to ensure the marriage will be deemed legal even after the pandemic accommodations are lifted.
If your partner is outside of the US but is permitted to leave their country and you’d like to get married in the United States, a K-1 Visa, also known as the fiancé visa, may be an option for you. Another option would require that the US Citizen to travel to the foreign country where the partner is, get married there, return to the US and apply for an immediate relative through the US.
How Purdy Law Can Assist
We understand the heartache ache that comes with being separated from your partner for an extended period and we are ready to help you unite with your loved one. Our team has assisted many couples to obtain their green card quickly and efficiently. Schedule your consultation today to speak with our family-based immigration attorney about the best options for you and your family.