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thetruefinale

Is it legal to get married to my foreign first cousin in IL with the marriage license from TN, meaning the officiant is from IL?

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I am a natural-born US citizen who is a resident of TX, and I want to marry my first cousin from a foreign country (not a US citizen). If I get a marriage license from TN (allowed to be executed in other states), can I have the marriage ceremony in IL with the officiant from IL signing the TN marriage license? Would there be any issue with the CR-1 visa process, if we intend to live in TX (where cousin marriages in other states are not void)?

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I am a natural-born US citizen who is a resident of TX, and I want to marry my first cousin from a foreign country (not a US citizen). If I get a marriage license from TN (allowed to be executed in other states), can I have the marriage ceremony in IL with the officiant from IL signing the TN marriage license? Would there be any issue with the CR-1 visa process, if we intend to live in TX (where cousin marriages in other states are not void)?

I understand that you are the citizen petitioner residing in Texas and intending to remain in Texas, wishing to marry and sponsor your first cousin. You want the marriage ceremony to be held in Illinois, with an celebrant licensed in Illinois, with a marriage license from Tennessee?

Per the USCIS Manual: "...the legal validity of a marriage is determined by the law of the place where the marriage was celebrated​ (“place-of-celebration rule”)​. ​Under this rule, a​ marriage is valid for immigration purposes in cases where​ t​he marriage is valid under the law of the jurisdiction in which it is performed​.​" My layman's reading of this with 750 ILCS 5/212 suggests that it would be invalid for immigration purposes.

I assume you have your reasons for wanting your wedding in Illinois, but you are complicating a situation that is already out of the norm. I would strongly suggest that you consult with an immigration attorney in Texas with specific experience with your situation, as the link above states: "...USCIS does not recognize the following relationships as marriages​, even if valid in the place of celebration​:​ ...•Certain marriages that violate the strong public policy of the state of residence of the couple..."

Edited by pandainamerica

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I don't know how credible this site is, but my search shows that first cousin marriage in IL is prohibited.(unless you're both over 50) which is weird.

http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/state-laws-regarding-marriages-between-first-cousi.aspx

-further research shows TN is legal, why not just marry there?

Also this might interest you -http://www.cousincouples.com/?page=states

Edited by Cody and Daisy

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So it appears that even if the marriage is valid and recognized in TN (and hence would then be recognized by all other states after TN registration), just because the ceremony is in IL, the marriage will not be recognized for immigration purposes?

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Did they already switch to the USCIS Policy Manual or are they still using the Adjuncticator's Field manual? I ask because, according to the field manual, when it comes to marriage to close relatives, the marriage is recognized for immigration purposes based upon the marriage laws of where the couple intends to reside...in which case TX would recognize the out-of-state cousin marriage. That's what I was going off of. If they are using the Policy Manual, then things have gotten more complicated...

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This is what I was referencing:

http://www.uscis.gov/iframe/ilink/docView/AFM/HTML/AFM/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-3481/0-0-0-4484.html

Section 101(a)(35):

C) Marriage between close relatives

In some foreign countries, and some states in the United States, marriages between close relatives (e.g., cousins) are permitted under certain circumstances. In cases where such marriages do not offend the laws of the state where the parties reside, the marriage will be recognized for immigration purposes.

Now that I think about it, would the above refer to TX law where cousin marriages are not allowed or the law that allows marriages from other states (in which case I am okay)?

Okay guys, it appears the above is valid. The USCIS Policy manual has only replaced chapters 71-76 so far, so the "marriage between close relatives" policy is still in effect. I would hope that relates to my situation rather than the general "place-of-celebration" rule.

Edited by thetruefinale

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All right, it seems the "place of celebration" rule means that states recognize a marriage from another state or foreign country even if that marriage would not have been allowed in the domiciary state. Hence, if first-cousins married in one state, they could move across state lines without fear their new home state would not recognize their marriae-depite the fact they could not have legally married in their new home state due to conanguinity problems.

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Did they already switch to the USCIS Policy Manual or are they still using the Adjuncticator's Field manual? I ask because, according to the field manual, when it comes to marriage to close relatives, the marriage is recognized for immigration purposes based upon the marriage laws of where the couple intends to reside...in which case TX would recognize the out-of-state cousin marriage. That's what I was going off of. If they are using the Policy Manual, then things have gotten more complicated...

My mistake, they are still using the AFM for AoS.

I just did a little more digging, and your much bigger problem is in the Texas Penal Code:

Sec. 25.02. PROHIBITED SEXUAL CONDUCT. (a) A person commits an offense if the person engages in sexual intercourse...with another person the actor knows to be, without regard to legitimacy:
...
(3) the actor's parent's brother or sister of the whole or half blood;
(4) the actor's brother or sister of the whole or half blood or by adoption;
(5) the children of the actor's brother or sister of the whole or half blood or by adoption; or
(6) the son or daughter of the actor's aunt or uncle of the whole or half blood or by adoption.
(b) For purposes of this section:
...
(2) "Sexual intercourse" means any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.
© An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree...
Edited by pandainamerica

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Well you can't get married in Texas because they don't allow cousins to get married. I assume that's why you want to get married in TN?! As far as I know, the person performing the marriage ceremony must be licensed in the state of which the marriage takes place. How else will the county clerk be able to check that the person marrying you is actually ordained?!

Something else for you to consider. I believe you will get a tough time proving to US immigrations that your marriage is "real" and not just for your close cousin to get a green card and be able to move to the US. You're probably gonna need some pretty strong proof to get that green card.


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By the way, in Texas, marriage, cohabitation and sexual relations with your first cousin is actually a criminal offence, so you will not be able to live as a married couple in Texas.


Met online October 2010


Engaged December 31st 2011


heart.gifMarried May 14th 2013 heart.gif



USCIS Stage


September 8th 2014 - Filed I-130 with Nebraska Service Center


September 16th 2014 - NOA1 received


March 2nd 2015 - NOA2 received :dancing:



NVC Stage


March 28th 2015 - Choice of agent complete & AOS fee paid


April 17th 2015 - IV fee paid


May 1st 2015 - Sent in IV application


May 12th 2015 - Sent in AOS and IV documents


May 18th 2015 - Scan Date


June 18th 2015 - Checklist received


June 22nd 2015 - Checklist response sent to NVC


June 25th 2015 - Put for Supervisor Review


Sept 15th 2015 - Request help from Texas US Senator Cornyn and his team


Sept 23rd 2015 - Our case is moved from supervisor review to NVC's team for dealing with Senator requests


Nov 4th 2015 - CASE COMPLETE!!!! :dancing:



Embassy Stage


Dec 16th 2015 - Medical exam


Dec 21st 2015 - Interview


Dec 21st 2015 - 221(g) issued at interview for updated forms


Jan 13th 2016 - Mailed our reply to the 221(g) to the US Embassy, received and CEAC updated the next morning


Jan 20th 2016 - Embassy require more in-depth info on asset for i-864


Feb 1st 2016 - Sent more in-depth info on assets as requested. Received the next morning


Feb 16th 2016 - Visa has been issued :dancing: :dancing: :dancing: :dancing: :dancing:



In the US


April 5th 2016 - POE Newark. No questions asked.


April 14th 2016 - SSN received


May 10th 2016 - First day at my new job :dancing:


May 27th 2016 - Green Card received


June 7th 2016 - Got my Texas driver's license

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By the way, in Texas, marriage, cohabitation and sexual relations with your first cousin is actually a criminal offence, so you will not be able to live as a married couple in Texas.

I concur. Also, think very carefully about why you are marrying her, and read up on your obligations in the assurance of support contract (i-864), it is not just a formality. You are going to have to spend untold thousands and thousands of dollars in fees, expenses and time off work. You're going to worry for many months whether you've made some silly mistake in the paperwork that might derail the whole thing, along with being grilled by a skeptical IO (be prepared for a stokes interview). You are going to convince the IO that you are doing this for yourself and not out of some sort familial obligation.

I know your cousin is probably in a desperate situation, and your parents and relatives are breathing down your back and saying that it's some kind of familial duty, but if you say yes to her, how can you say no to sponsoring some other relative later down the line?

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Unlike LGBT rights, you cannot live in a state that does not allow for first cousin marriage. So you would have to move to another state to be married and live together.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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Okay, here are some of the facts that I've learned from my hours of reading state law and a few phone calls to state offices:

1. in TX, as in all other states, due to a federal law (I believe it's the "place of celebration" rule), if one is legally married out-of-state or out-of-country, and then returns to a location where that marriage would have been illegal, the marriage is considered valid and legal. Texas does not void out-of-state marriages. Does it make sense that if I was married in TN and moved to another state, my marriage would suddenly be considered invalid and illegal? Fortunately, that is not how it works, or hundreds of thousands of couples would be screwed every year. Yes, first-cousin marriages are much more common here than you would think if you were otherwise unaware.

2. TN allows first cousin marriages, and it has no restrictions as to non-residents such as myself obtaining a license. The license can be utilized out-of-state.

I won't exactly be marrying in IL; it's just that the ceremony and signing of the license will occur there. The registration will be in TN. The "place of celebration" has a few components as well:

the determination status of a "spouce" in an uncle-niece or a first-cousin marriage involves three variables:

(1) Laws of the place where the marriage took place;

(2) Laws of the State of proposed residence in the United States; and

(3) Facts that vary each individual case

Here is a legal interpretation of the above I found online by a law group:

To satisfy the first component, the underlying principle is that the law of the place of marriage celebration controls. If the law of the place of marriage is complied with and the marriage is recognized, then the marriage is deemed to be valid for immigration purposes. Immigration officials and federal courts insist that a marriage meets the procedural and substantive requirements of the state or country where the marriage was "celebrated," whether those requirements involve state licensing, religious recognition or even no "celebration" at all in the case of "common law" marriage (marriages based on cohabitation without an official ceremony or registration). Thus, a religious marriage, uncle-niece marriage or first-cousin marriage is considered valid for immigration purpose if it is recognized by the sovereign authority in the country or state as valid provided that it satisfies the requirement of the other two components of the framework.

Once a marriage passes the threshold inquiry regarding its validity where celebrated, the BIA and Federal Courts generally proceed with the presumption that the marriage is valid everywhere unless it violates the public policy of the couple's state of domicile or intended state of domicile, "distinctly expressed" in state legislation. To be valid for U.S. immigration purposes, the marriage should not violate the strong public policy expressed in the criminal law of its state of domicile. To comply with the second component of the framework, it is pertinent to check whether the state's criminal law expressly forbids the couple from both marrying and living together or just the later. For instance, if the law of state of proposed residence only forbids certain type of the marriage such as uncle-niece marriage or first-cousin marriage but does not expressly prohibits the couple living together, the marriage will be held valid for the immigration purpose provided the marriage meets the procedural and substantive requirements of the state or country it was celebrated. It is also important to determine whether the couple domicile state or intended state of domicile expressly prohibits evading the state's law by leaving the state for the purpose of being married, and with the intention of returning after the celebration of marriage. If that is the case, the couple can be held criminally liable for evading the state law.

There is no familial obligation, and my cousin is not in a desperate situation; it will be a legitimate marriage with supporting evidence (I know we have to prove that it's bonafide at the interview). We are actually both still students, and money is not really an issue. If family needs to be sponsored down the line, I don't have a problem with that.

My real concern is with if immigration will consider the marriage valid (different from bonafide) according to their own policies, which have been recently influenced by same sex marriage. It seems sometimes even if the marriage is legal here, then it might not be considered valid by immigration.

Another consideration is if TX allows couples to leave the state for the purpose of getting married (where it would be illegal in the state). In some states that is not allowed, and in others it is allowed, sometimes with conditions (such as having to live where one got married for a period of time).

Edited by thetruefinale

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What I am saying is on my time on VJ, I have seen first cousin marriages denied because they were going to live in Texas. First cousin marriage is NOT a federal issue, it is a state issue. It is different than LGBT issues.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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