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labloomer

Marriage License Prior to K1 Visa Issuance?

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Hello,

My fiance and I are in the final stages of obtaining a K1 visa. He is a Canadian citizen, and I am the US citizen. His interview date at the Montreal consulate is on January 4th. We would ideally like to get married on January 19th in Pennsylvania. Is it possible to apply for a marriage license prior to him being issued the K1 visa?

In Pennsylvania here is what I know so far...

1) You should apply for your marriage license 2-3 weeks prior to your wedding date. There is a 3 day waiting period between applying for the license and receiving the marriage license, and it is good for 60 days. Both applicants must be present to apply for the marriage license.

Assuming that he gets approved on the 4th, I am estimating that he will not have his visa mailed to him until maybe a week later, perhaps the 11th or 12th. Let's say he moves the 16th of January to the states, we could not apply for a marriage license until maybe the 17th, which would be too late for our date of the 19th. That is why I am hoping there is a way to obtain the marriage license prior to him entering the US. That being said, we do not have a venue or anything like that booked for January 19th. It is just a date that we hold dear and we highly prefer.

I am finding that a lot of counties in Pennsylvania are asking that both parties have a social security number in order to apply for a marriage license, and if they don't have a SSN (like my fiance will not have), then you must have a birth certificate. They do not specify, however, if that birth certificate needs to show that he was born in the U.S. I am assuming that is the point of it, though.

Furthermore, if there is a way to apply for a marriage license prior to visa or SSN issuance, would applying for a marriage license prior to him being issued the K1 visa jeopardize the K1 visa process? Technically a marriage license is not equivalent to being married, so I am thinking not but would like some opinions.

I am hoping someone has first-hand experience on this that could help! We are very excited for our next steps.

Thank you!

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Yeah you can try, but they generally want the person to be there in person. When we did ours, they asked for his passport as identity and we each had to sign a form. They may ask for the birth certificate as proof that he is who he is, something to back up the passport. The problem is, you're going to hope that they take your word that he is who he is.

I could see A LOT of fraud happening if they let people apply for marriage license with only one person present, and therefore can't give any identifying proof themselves.. If you had someone elses information, you could technically marry someone with out them knowing by having someone act as them. I know our officiant didn't ask for proof of who we were, most likely because the marriage license told him who we were.

I really don't see it happening without him present.

  • If you or your significant other is a foreign national, you must present a valid and unexpired passport at the time you apply for the license.

This is from the wikihow page on how to apply for a marriage license in PA. http://www.wikihow.com/Apply-for-a-Marriage-License-in-Pennsylvania


The very first question on the Q&A is:

Is there any way for the couple to apply for the marriage license if only one of them is present?

wikiHow Contributor
No, both parties must be present to sign the appropriate forms.


If he's visiting the US next week, you may just want to go ahead and apply.




But remember, nothing is set until he has the visa in hand. Things can go wrong, so don't plan too hard on a quick date,

Edited by Ash.1101

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Thanks! My question wasn't so much about whether he needs to be present or not. He will for sure be with me when applying for the marriage license. I am just wondering if applying for the marriage license prior to the interview will jeopardize the K1 process at all. I am also seeing if there is a way to apply for a marriage license without a SSN or visa, as some states require one or both of those things.

Thanks again for the reply! I appreciate it!

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I could see A LOT of fraud happening if they let people apply for marriage license with only one person present, and therefore can't give any identifying proof themselves.

I totally agree with you. Although in Texas, and some other states, it's enough for only one person to be present to get the marriage certificate. My husband wasn't present when I got our license.

OP, since the license in your state is valid for such a long term me, I would just go ahead and get it when your fiancé is visiting. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. :)

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1) No US state requires you to have an SSN before you can obtain a marriage licence, but if you have an SSN you must declare it on the application. I didn't have one (at the time) and was able to obtain a marriage licence.

2) I was also able to obtain our marriage licence without my partner there. Since she was terminally ill and unable to travel, she was physically unable to. She had to fill in a form and have it notarized in order to satisfy their requirements.

Much of this, of course, varies from state to state. This was in Texas.

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1) No US state requires you to have an SSN before you can obtain a marriage licence, but if you have an SSN you must declare it on the application. I didn't have one (at the time) and was able to obtain a marriage licence.

2) I was also able to obtain our marriage licence without my partner there. Since she was terminally ill and unable to travel, she was physically unable to. She had to fill in a form and have it notarized in order to satisfy their requirements.

Much of this, of course, varies from state to state. This was in Texas.

To be more specific, it varies from county to county in each state. In fact fees, requirements etc can vary a lot between counties. However a marriage license issued in any county within the same state, should be valid in said state. So in the OP's case any marriage license issued in any county in PA, would be valid anywhere in PA.

labloomer, I would contact a couple of different counties directly to see what their requirements are. Applying for a marriage license in a county with less requirements can save money, time and headaches. I'm sure everything will work out visa wise. But in the small chance it doesn't, reapplying in a county that makes it easy is the way to go.

Congrats and Best Wishes,

Cruise

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Thanks! My question wasn't so much about whether he needs to be present or not. He will for sure be with me when applying for the marriage license. I am just wondering if applying for the marriage license prior to the interview will jeopardize the K1 process at all. I am also seeing if there is a way to apply for a marriage license without a SSN or visa, as some states require one or both of those things.

Thanks again for the reply! I appreciate it!

No, applying for a license before getting the visa shouldn't jeopardize it in any way.

As so many others have said, no need for a social security number. We got legally married in PA; the requirements vary by county but we just each needed to bring a valid government-issued photo ID. There is no requirement to have a particular visa or any visa - even undocumented immigrants can legally get married. You can call your local county's office. I called them to double-check the requirements and they were very helpful. It took us about 10 minutes to get the license on a Friday, which meant it was valid on the following Monday.

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Perhaps it's also possible to apply for the license now and pick it up later (with a later validity). In fact, that's what the county official told us to do when we came in to apply for our license about 3 weeks before our wedding. She verified our information, had the witness sign paperwork, and told my then-fiance to come pick it up a few days before the wedding so it wouldn't lose its validity if for some reason the wedding got delayed. Of course it didn't, but hey. I had no idea this was a possibility.

This was in NJ though, so different requirements. (we had to bring a witness, so had to both take time off from our job and scramble to find a friend with daytime flexibility...)

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I would be careful not to plan anything until your visa is officially in hand. If you're flexible, then great! But be aware that things could stay on someones desk for a while, or get misplaced, or misdelivered.

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I would be careful not to plan anything until your visa is officially in hand. If you're flexible, then great! But be aware that things could stay on someones desk for a while, or get misplaced, or misdelivered.

Agreeing with this. Sometimes peoples papers get legitimately lost, and they won't expedite it getting fixed for the most part even if it's their fault. Sometimes things also don't go as well as planned at the interview, even if your case seems 100% or at least in the high 90%'s.

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