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How to Get Married in the United States
United States citizens and non-US citizens, including temporary visitors, as well as legal and illegal immigrants, have the right to get married in the United States. There are no limitations for foreigners to get married in the United States. However, there are several steps that must be followed in order for the marriage to be valid. The requirements for marriage can differ substantially from state to state. One important prerequisite is the residency requirement, as some states require U.S. residency and others do not. Other factors that must be taken into consideration include other requirements that can vary depending on the state such as blood tests, Identification documentation, types of legal marriages, and age restrictions.
Important: This information guide contains marriage procedures only. It does not include information on how to apply for a Green Card based on the marriage. For detailed information on how to receive a Green Card based on a marriage to a U.S. citizen, please download the Green Card through Marriage Application Guide.
Download How to Get Married in the United States Application Guide for more information.
Once a marriage has taken place between a foreigner and a U.S. citizen (or permanent resident), the foreign citizen can apply for a Green Card and later apply for U.S. citizenship. There are a number of different requirements that must be fulfilled before a Green Card is issued or U.S. citizenship can be obtained. Getting married can be a very stressful experience, especially for non-U.S. citizens. In addition to the usual marriage procedures and planning a wedding, foreigners need to take into consideration the immigration requirements. For detailed information on how to receive a Green Card based on a marriage to a United States citizen, please refer to the Green Card through Marriage Application Guide.
Possible Marriage Scenarios:
- If the spouse is a US citizen, the foreign citizen may apply for a green card based on the marriage.
- If the spouse is a green card holder, the foreign citizen can apply for a green card but it may take longer until it is issued due to immigration quotas (only a certain number of Green Cards are issued to spouses of Green Card holders).
- If the marriage is between two non-US citizens, the marriage must be officially recognized in the home country in order for it to be valid. Foreigners (non-U.S. citizens) that get married to each other in the United States do not obtain a Green Card, U.S. citizenship, or any kind of immigration status or benefit.
- If the marriage is between two U.S. citizens, no immigration application is required or needed.