Some people opt for an online ceremonial wedding with friends and family. Then, the foreign fiancé travels to the United States to contract the formal marriage and adjust the status to permanent residence. For some couples, traditional marriage is no longer practical. Virtual weddings are becoming more common. This can apply to arranged marriages and some long-distance relationships. It can also be requested by U.S. military personnel abroad. The need for proxy marriages has received additional attention during the pandemic. Many couples simply couldn`t get together in person for a wedding due to international flight restrictions. For U.S. citizens and permanent residents who want to help a spouse get a green card, it`s important to understand the legality of these virtual marriages for immigration purposes. A proxy marriage works by asking someone (with authority) to defend the person who is not physically present and to take vows on their behalf.
If none of the people can be present, this is considered a dual power marriage, and the celebrant will be the place where the wedding takes place. The other people will be present virtually. In the early 1900s, proxy marriages increased dramatically in the United States, as many Japanese brides arrived on Angel Island, California. Since the beginning of the 20th century, it has been most commonly used in the United States for weddings where one of the partners is a member of the military on active duty.  In California, proxy marriage is only possible for deployed military personnel. In Montana, a double marriage by proxy is possible if at least one partner is on active military service or resides in Montana.  In the United States, if a proxy marriage was entered into in a state that allows it, many states will fully recognize it or recognize it as a common-law marriage. An exception is the state of Iowa, where it is not recognized at all.
 This practice has been in effect in America since 1924, when a resident of Portugal and a resident of Pennsylvania married common-law. The marriage took place in the United States without the Portuguese woman, who later immigrated to the country. She would not have been allowed to enter the United States for any other reason, as she could not read what was needed to enter America at the time. However, there is a list of marriages that USCIS does not recognize at all. In 1924, a federal court recognized the proxy marriage of a man residing in Portugal, where proxy marriages were recognized at the time, and a resident of Pennsylvania, where common-law marriages could be contracted at the time.  The Portuguese woman was allowed to immigrate to the United States because of marriage, when otherwise she would have been inadmissible as illiterate.  The best way to prove a genuine marriage is an affidavit and proof of personal unity after marriage through things like written statements, shared photos, airline tickets, and hotel receipts. Tourist destinations can be a good meeting place during the pandemic to provide proof that you meet after marriage. If both people cannot be present, one officiant will be present where the wedding takes place and the other people will be present virtually.
A common child or evidence of an already existing relationship helps to establish credibility, but does not meet the essential condition for enforcement. For a proxy marriage to be legal – at least for immigration purposes – union members must always provide evidence indicating consummation of the marriage AFTER the union. Once the couple consummates the marriage, they can also begin the process of obtaining a green card for the foreign spouse. The consular process begins with the filing of Form I-130, the petition for a foreign parent, and the completion of Form I-130A by the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. This petition tells the U.S. government that you have an eligible relationship and are booking an immigrant visa. In general, U.S.
immigration law recognizes proxy marriages. However, it is important to understand the specific requirements. The marriage must be valid in the jurisdiction in which it was contracted, and the couple must consummate the union after the marriage. In particular, the couple must have had sexual intercourse after marriage. Therefore, it is important that the couple is in the same physical space at some point after the wedding. Premarital consumption does not meet the criteria. From the Middle Ages, European monarchs and nobles sometimes married by proxy. Here are some examples: These types of marriages, known as proxy marriages, are a bit confusing to understand, but can they work for immigration purposes? Here`s what we know. Utah was the first state to issue a marriage license to a couple who had an entirely virtual Zoom wedding ceremony due to the pandemic. A proxy marriage is a marriage in which one member of the couple is not physically present at the wedding. A Member of Parliament takes his place where the ceremony takes place.
In purely virtual weddings, the officiant is at the place where the ceremony takes place, and each member of the couple is separated but practically present. In Italy, between 1945 and 1976, 12,000 women were married vicariously to Italian-Australian men; They would then travel to Australia to meet their new husbands.  In addition, applicants should obtain a written report from third parties who are aware of the couple`s relationship. Individuals can write an affidavit confirming the fact of the relationship. The person who wrote the affidavit should have witnessed the marriage by proxy and the couple`s face-to-face meeting after the marriage. People writing an affidavit may include: Once you are married and can prove that the marriage is legal and legitimate, the next step is to apply for a green card. Boundless has helped thousands of couples get their green cards. Learn more about how to get started today! For immigration purposes, the validity of a marriage depends on the law of the jurisdiction in which the marriage is contracted. For example, if a same-sex couple marries in a country that does not recognize same-sex marriage, they are not considered a valid marriage for immigration purposes. The same applies to all other forms of marriage. As a reminder, a marriage by proxy is not considered a legal union for the purposes of citizenship, unless the couple celebrates it after the matrimonial union.
Therefore, you do not have to show photos of yourself “consummating” the marriage, but rather file an affidavit confirming that it was with proof that you were in the same place.