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ledo1611

N400 application question

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Filed: Timeline

I got my green card through work about 4 years ago, have been married to my wife for about 10 years, when we got married we did so in our home country's consulate/embassy here in the US but we didn't do the local US marriage license/certificate, my wife had a green card at the time (through her family), now she has been a citizen for a little over 3 years. so I applied for citizenship on the basis of being married to a US citizen for 3 years, used the original marriage certificate from our embassy with a translation. after passing the English & history test, the officer told me he is not sure that a foreign marriage certificate would work for this purpose since we were physically present in the US and should've gotten a local marriage certificate. anyway he said he will send it for review, they called me a few months later to say the case has been approved, gave me an N-652 approval notice and said to wait for the oath ceremony scheduling. However, a couple of weeks later I received another letter again saying they won't accept this marriage certificate and they need a local US certificate as a proof of our legal marriage to proceed with the case!

I believe part of the problem might be the quality of the translation which probably confused the USCIS because it did state in the translated copy that "this is to certify the marriage certificate" rather than stating that it is simply a translation of the actual marriage certificate. so I guess the USCIS got confused and thought that I submitted a certifying document from the consulate without sending the actual certificate, that is what they mentioned in the last letter they sent me.

should I just go ahead and withdraw my N400 application, then reapply later on the basis of being a permanent resident for 5 years? I would be eligible to apply under the 5-year rule in about 7 months or so. or is it better to let them deny the case then re-apply under the 5-year rule? it seems easier to forget about this N400 then re-apply later but was wondering if there would be any issues that would affect my future N400 if I withdraw my application now after the interview vs. let them deny it?

I thought about sending a new (more accurate) translation of the marriage certificate but to me it seems messy at this point and might be even more confusing for the USCIS to send more documents for this N400. what do you think?

Thank you.

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No, you shouldn't withdraw your application, otherwise you will lose the application fee and have to pay again, not to mention start over. If you have been married to a USC, it does not matter where you got married. They CANNOT discriminate against a valid marriage as long as it's valid where it was performed.

There IS NO such requirement that you have to get remarried in the US in order for your marriage to be recognized in any way by USCIS. If that were the case everyone here who went through the CR1/IR1 or F2A process, would never be able to bring their spouses.

That said, if the issue is with the marriage certificate get that fixed. You need to submit a certified copy of your marriage certificate, that clearly shows when you got married. Make sure it is certified by the civil authority that issues marriage certificates in your country.

If the translation is messed up, you need to have it translated by a competent translator, and you need to check the translation to see if it's accurate. In the following link it says how to get marriage certificates in India for use in immigration related cases. Good luck.

http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/fees/reciprocity-by-country/IN.html#docs

Edited by Ian H.

This does not constitute legal advice.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Egypt
Timeline

Ian is absolutely right. Foreign marriage certificates are valid and recognized in the US. US citizens go abroad to get married all the time and they do not need to get an American marriage certificate when they return. Maybe as you say there was a problem with the quality of the translation or the format of the foreign certificate, there is no requirement for you to get an American marriage certificate.


For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

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Filed: Timeline

Thanks for the replies guys. so as I mentioned in my original post, we didn't get married overseas, we actually got married here in the US but it was done in the embassy/consulate of my home country, simply because I was still not a US resident at the time (was visiting on a tourist visa for some training), while my wife and her family were living here. so we chose to do the marriage certificate in the consulate. the USCIS are questioning that and saying that we were here in the US so should have dobe a "US marriage certificate" not the one we did in the consulate. is this true? should I just send them the original marriage certificate again (they do have it already!) with a new translation?

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Now I'm confused. It wasn't necessary to get married in the consulate. Tourists and even illegal immigrants are allowed to get married here. You just need a piece of government issued ID, which could be a foreign passport.

So basically you got in the embassy of your country and were issued a marriage cert from your home country. Does the marriage certificate reflect that you were married in the embassy here in the US? If this marriage is valid in your home country, it's supposed to be valid for USCIS. It should be valid, otherwise they wouldn't have performed it.

It's possible that USCIS or the IO in question is unfamiliar with someone marrying at an embassy.


This does not constitute legal advice.

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Filed: Timeline

Yes I know it would have been better just to do the US marriage certificate but I didn't know better back then. The marriage certificte is the official one my country issues, just location is in the embassy/consulate. I am working on getting a new certified copy of the certificate from my home country since that is now a computer-generated document (rather than the old hand-written document I originally submitted) then i would get a new translation (hopefully more accurate) for that and will see if that will make a difference!

Now worst case scenario, if they don't accept these documents (or if I can't obtain them) and deny my application, would that have any impact on my new N400 application which would be based on the 5-year rule?

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No. Once you apply based on the 5 year rule, your marriage is irrelevant to the N400 and your LPR status is from work, so you wouldn't have to submit bona fide marital evidence.


This does not constitute legal advice.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Egypt
Timeline

Thanks for the replies guys. so as I mentioned in my original post, we didn't get married overseas, we actually got married here in the US but it was done in the embassy/consulate of my home country, simply because I was still not a US resident at the time (was visiting on a tourist visa for some training), while my wife and her family were living here. so we chose to do the marriage certificate in the consulate. the USCIS are questioning that and saying that we were here in the US so should have dobe a "US marriage certificate" not the one we did in the consulate. is this true? should I just send them the original marriage certificate again (they do have it already!) with a new translation?

Ok, now I'm confused too. The state you are in has jurisdiction in marriage issues, but since you were at a consulate, that's a tricky issue related to sovereignty. You didn't technically get married in the United States since a consulate is the sovereign territory of a foreign government.

For example, the age of consent in Texas is 17, but you could have got to your consulate in Houston and got married when you were 16, which you could not have done outside the consulate.

I think they are confused because you were married in the US but don't have a US marriage certificate. You'll need to explain to them that you were not legally married under US laws, but rather under the laws of your country. It's as if you got married back home.


For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

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Filed: Timeline

Yeah it's a bit tricky. I just got a new "computer-generated" marriage certificate from my home country. working on getting it translated and will send this to the USCIS office with a cover letter stating that this is the "civil marriage certificate or record" that was issued to us. Will see what happens! so I guess worst case scenario they deny the N400 based on ineligbility then I would re-apply under the 5-year rule.

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