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How to File Marriage?

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Filed: Country: Costa Rica
Timeline

Second-time poster with a question about how to file marriage so that no flags are raised with the immigration officers.

I am a US Citizen, my wife-to-be is from Costa Rica. We are going to have our ceremony in Costa Rica. However, at the moment, our plan is to get a marriage license from my state (North Carolina) and file the marriage here.

This saves us from having to go through a multi-step process of getting the documentation translated and transferred from Costa Rica to the offices in the US. Two worries:

  1. Filing here may make it look like my then-wife entered the US on a B1 visa just to get married, rather than entering being married in Costa Rica and entering to visit. This could be considered visa fraud.
  2. I don't know if this is even how marriage licenses work. The NC marriage license documentation is kind of vague and non-explicit about whether or not the ceremony has to take place within the borders of North Carolina. I can't imagine why it should.

We may be able to avoid 1 if we have the pastor marrying us immediately submit the forms when he returns - we won't be in the US until a week after him. If we use certified mail, we can establish that we were married in Costa Rica before she entered the country.

I don't know about 2. Does anyone have more experience with marriage licenses? I naively assumed they were just formal notifications to the state that I got married, and that it doesn't matter where you go to do it, you just hand in a form at a clerk's office where you live. Is that not a correct understanding of marriage licenses? Will filing a marriage license in North Carolina signify or imply that my fiancée was in North Carolina (unannounced) on the day of our wedding? And will this impact the CR-1 process?

Thank you everyone!

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Marriage licences almost always can only be used in the jurisdiction from where you obtain them. If you obtain a North Carolina marriage licence, it can only be used in North Carolina.

http://www.wakegov.com/rod/vitalrecords/marriage/Pages/default.aspx


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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Argentina
Timeline

hi

it is not immigration fraud to marry on a tourist visa, what is immigration fraud is to have immigrant intent, meaning coming to the US to adjust status through a tourist visa

the marriage license is for marrying here,, if you marry in Costa Rica, the marriage is valid, so the only thing you need is to attach the translation into English with it

Edited by aleful

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Filed: Country: Costa Rica
Timeline
If you obtain a North Carolina marriage licence, it can only be used in North Carolina.

Thanks for your response.

Suppose I get the marriage license from NC, have the ceremony in Costa Rica anyway, all witnesses sign, then we turn it in North Carolina anyway.

Regardless of whether NC will be unhappy about it, is that going to affect the the CR-1 process in any way?

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Filed: Country: Costa Rica
Timeline
it is not immigration fraud to marry on a tourist visa, what is immigration fraud is to have immigrant intent, meaning coming to the US to adjust status through a tourist visa

Thanks for your response!

Will marrying here on a tourist visa and applying for a CR-1 qualify as immigrant intent?

You think we'll be safe to file here?

To clarify, we are't doing any kind of documentation in Costa Rica. We won't file anything in Costa Rica, at least until after we've filed in the US. So there won't be anything to translate or transfer over. We're just having a pastor buddy say "man-and-wife" while we're in Costa Rica, but we're going to do all the official paperwork in the US.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Argentina
Timeline

hi

yes, hundreds of people get married in the US on a visitor visa or visa waiver, as long as she returns to her country and you file the i130 for CR1 you'll be fine

Edited by aleful

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You're getting confused here. You cannot use a North Carolina marriage licence to get married anywhere except North Carolina. You can't use it in Texas, the Bahamas Costa Rica or anywhere except North Carolina. If you take a North Carolina licence to Costa Rica and ask a "pastor friend" to fill it out and hear you say "I do" you are not legally married. The pastor or minister or whoever needs to complete the certification that has been issued in the jurisdiction where the marriage took place. USCIS will reject your petition for a CR-1 visa if you do things the way you are proposing, you will have lost your $420 filing fee and be no closer to bringing your wife over.

Your choices are:

- get married in North Carolina while she is visiting you. Doesn't have to be fancy. Just has to be legal. We married in an 8-minute ceremony with us, 2 witnesses and an officiant while I was visiting my husband. No flowers, reception, photographer. No fancy clothes. But we are just as married as George Clooney (who got married the same day as us and who spent hundreds of thousands on his big day).

- get married in Costa Rica as planned. You will need to apply for the licence there and afterwards translate the certificate for the visa petition. You don't have to pay a qualified translator to do that. You can translate it yourself (assuming you speak Spanish well enough to do so). Or your wife can. Or a friend.

Seriously, the wedding is the easy part of this process.

There is nothing fraudulent about marrying on a tourist visa. Thousands do that in Las Vegas alone each year. What's fraudulent is arriving with a non-immigrant status with the plan to stay permanently. Marrying as a tourist, going home and filing the CR-1 is 100% legal and correct.


 

 

 

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Filed: Country: Costa Rica
Timeline

You're getting confused here. You cannot use a North Carolina marriage licence to get married anywhere except North Carolina. You can't use it in Texas, the Bahamas Costa Rica or anywhere except North Carolina. If you take a North Carolina licence to Costa Rica and ask a "pastor friend" to fill it out and hear you say "I do" you are not legally married. The pastor or minister or whoever needs to complete the certification that has been issued in the jurisdiction where the marriage took place.

Thanks for the advice!

USCIS is going to check with NC on the wedding and marriage certificate, I presume. Besides that we filed in NC on either the day after the wedding or the day after we arrive in the US, what else is USCIS going to notice?

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Ah ok I see your confusion. Ok, entering on a tourist visa to just *get married* is fine. Tons of people do it How many Japanese people get married in Hawaii, for example? Or Germans in Las Vegas? That's all a-ok. The key here is are you using that tourist visa to enter *temporarily* (even if you get married on that trip)? Or to enter with the intention of marrying *and staying*? That second one there is fraud. You can file for the CR1 visa while she's still in the US, that's fine too. She just needs to go back to Costa Rica before her legal stay expires and because that's where all the work for the visa will take place).

Plus, as I explained in your other thread, seriously, CR1 is by far your best option. Get legally married (it doesn't matter where) and file for that visa, not for adjustment of status. (Also if you were to apply for adjustment of status, and then she went back to CR for her last year in school before she got her green card, she'd have abandoned AOS and you'd need to start all over again with a CR1). Hands down, your best bet is get married when/wherever you feel like it, and file for the CR1 visa a year or so before she'll be ready to move.

Sidenote: of course USCIS is going to check your marriage certificate. You're going to provide it, and hundreds of pages of other documents, to them.

Edited by CatherineA

Marriage/ AOS Timeline:

23 Dec 2015: Legal marriage

23 Jan 2016: Wedding!

23 Jan 2016: "Blizzard of the Century", wedding canceled/rescheduled (thank goodness we were legally married first or we'd have had a big problem!) :sleepy:

24 Jan 2016: Small "civil ceremony" with friends and family who were snowed in with us. December was a bit of a secret and people had traveled internationally and knew we *had* to get married that weekend, and our December legal marriage was nothing but signing a piece of paper at our priest's kitchen table, without any sort of vows etc so this was actually a very special (if not legally significant) day. (L)

16 Apr 2016: Filed for AOS and EAD/AP (We delayed a bit-- no big rush, enjoying the USCIS break)

23 Apr 2016: Wedding! Finally! :luv:

27 Apr 2016: Electronic NOA1 for all 3 :dancing:
29 Apr 2016: NOA1 Hardcopy for all 3
29 Jul 2016: Online service request for late EAD (Day 104)
29 Jul 2016: EAD/AP Approved ~3 hours after online service request
04 Aug 2016: RFE for Green Card (requested medicals/ vaccination record. They already have it). :ranting:
05 Aug 2016: EAD/AP Combo Card arrived! (Day 111)
08 Aug 2016: Congressional constituent request to get guidance on the RFE. Hoping they see they have the form and approve!

K-1 Visa Timeline:

PLEASE NOTE. This timeline was during the period of time when TSC was working on I-129fs and had a huge backlog. The average processing time was 210+ days. This is in no way predictive of your own timeline if you filed during or after April 2015, unless CSC develops a backlog. A backlog is anything above the 5-month goal time listed on USCIS's site

14 Feb 2015: Mailed I-129f to Dallas Lockbox. (L) (Most expensive Valentine's card I've ever sent!)

17 Feb 2015: NOA1 "Received Date"
19 Feb 2015: NOA1 Notice Date
08 Aug 2015: NOA2 email! :luv: (173 days from NOA1)

17 Aug 2015: Sent to NVC

?? Aug 2015: Arrived at NVC

25 Aug 2015: NVC Case # Assigned

31 Aug 2015: Left NVC for Consulate in San Jose

09 Sep 2015: Consulate received :dancing: (32 days from NOA2)

11 Sep 2015: Packet 3 emailed from embassy to me, the petitioner (34 days from NOA2).

18 Sep 2015: Medicals complete

21 Sep 2015: Packet 3 complete, my boss puts a temporary moratorium on all time off due to work emergency :clock:

02 Oct 2015: Work emergency clears up, interview scheduled (soonest available was 5 business days away--Columbus Day was in there)

13 Oct 2015: Interview

13 Oct 2015: VISA APPROVED :thumbs: (236 days from NOA1)

19 Oct 2015: Visa-in-hand

24 Oct 2015: POE !

15 Dec 2015: Fiance's mother's B-2 visa interview: APPROVED! So happy she will be at the wedding! :thumbs:

!

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Second-time poster with a question about how to file marriage so that no flags are raised with the immigration officers.

I am a US Citizen, my wife-to-be is from Costa Rica. We are going to have our ceremony in Costa Rica. However, at the moment, our plan is to get a marriage license from my state (North Carolina) and file the marriage here.

This saves us from having to go through a multi-step process of getting the documentation translated and transferred from Costa Rica to the offices in the US. Two worries:

  1. Filing here may make it look like my then-wife entered the US on a B1 visa just to get married, rather than entering being married in Costa Rica and entering to visit. This could be considered visa fraud.
  2. I don't know if this is even how marriage licenses work. The NC marriage license documentation is kind of vague and non-explicit about whether or not the ceremony has to take place within the borders of North Carolina. I can't imagine why it should.

We may be able to avoid 1 if we have the pastor marrying us immediately submit the forms when he returns - we won't be in the US until a week after him. If we use certified mail, we can establish that we were married in Costa Rica before she entered the country.

I don't know about 2. Does anyone have more experience with marriage licenses? I naively assumed they were just formal notifications to the state that I got married, and that it doesn't matter where you go to do it, you just hand in a form at a clerk's office where you live. Is that not a correct understanding of marriage licenses? Will filing a marriage license in North Carolina signify or imply that my fiancée was in North Carolina (unannounced) on the day of our wedding? And will this impact the CR-1 process?

Thank you everyone!

Ugh, sorry one more thing. I really cannot stress enough: adjusting status from a B2 is more work than applying for the CR1 and has serious downsides, not the least of which is that planning to do so is fraudulent and because she'll be waiting a year for a green card (whereas with CR1 it is automatic).

There is zero avoiding multi-step processes of getting documents together, no matter which process you choose. But 100% for sure adjustment of status has more paperwork than the CR1. Plus, as I said on your other thread, 100% for sure when you adjust status , you'll have to have things translated (at a minimum, her birth certificate and a police certificate that she's going to have to somehow get from Costa Rica while she's in the US. Any divorce decrees etc). There is a chance (you'd have to check with recent CR1 filers from Costa Rica to verify) that you do NOT have to have translations done if you apply for the visa. We didn't. We got a different visa though.

And on the marriage licences, yes, they have to take place in the borders of the state they're issued in. You can't get an NC marriage licence and get legally married in Costa Rica. You can get legally married in North Carolina while she's visiting on the B2, she goes home within the limits of her B2 while/after/before/whatever you file for the CR1 for her. Simple, easy, legal.

You're making a mountain out of a molehill and by trying to avoid this imaginary mountain, you're creating a giant headache for yourself that is riddled with fraud as well.

Edited by CatherineA

Marriage/ AOS Timeline:

23 Dec 2015: Legal marriage

23 Jan 2016: Wedding!

23 Jan 2016: "Blizzard of the Century", wedding canceled/rescheduled (thank goodness we were legally married first or we'd have had a big problem!) :sleepy:

24 Jan 2016: Small "civil ceremony" with friends and family who were snowed in with us. December was a bit of a secret and people had traveled internationally and knew we *had* to get married that weekend, and our December legal marriage was nothing but signing a piece of paper at our priest's kitchen table, without any sort of vows etc so this was actually a very special (if not legally significant) day. (L)

16 Apr 2016: Filed for AOS and EAD/AP (We delayed a bit-- no big rush, enjoying the USCIS break)

23 Apr 2016: Wedding! Finally! :luv:

27 Apr 2016: Electronic NOA1 for all 3 :dancing:
29 Apr 2016: NOA1 Hardcopy for all 3
29 Jul 2016: Online service request for late EAD (Day 104)
29 Jul 2016: EAD/AP Approved ~3 hours after online service request
04 Aug 2016: RFE for Green Card (requested medicals/ vaccination record. They already have it). :ranting:
05 Aug 2016: EAD/AP Combo Card arrived! (Day 111)
08 Aug 2016: Congressional constituent request to get guidance on the RFE. Hoping they see they have the form and approve!

K-1 Visa Timeline:

PLEASE NOTE. This timeline was during the period of time when TSC was working on I-129fs and had a huge backlog. The average processing time was 210+ days. This is in no way predictive of your own timeline if you filed during or after April 2015, unless CSC develops a backlog. A backlog is anything above the 5-month goal time listed on USCIS's site

14 Feb 2015: Mailed I-129f to Dallas Lockbox. (L) (Most expensive Valentine's card I've ever sent!)

17 Feb 2015: NOA1 "Received Date"
19 Feb 2015: NOA1 Notice Date
08 Aug 2015: NOA2 email! :luv: (173 days from NOA1)

17 Aug 2015: Sent to NVC

?? Aug 2015: Arrived at NVC

25 Aug 2015: NVC Case # Assigned

31 Aug 2015: Left NVC for Consulate in San Jose

09 Sep 2015: Consulate received :dancing: (32 days from NOA2)

11 Sep 2015: Packet 3 emailed from embassy to me, the petitioner (34 days from NOA2).

18 Sep 2015: Medicals complete

21 Sep 2015: Packet 3 complete, my boss puts a temporary moratorium on all time off due to work emergency :clock:

02 Oct 2015: Work emergency clears up, interview scheduled (soonest available was 5 business days away--Columbus Day was in there)

13 Oct 2015: Interview

13 Oct 2015: VISA APPROVED :thumbs: (236 days from NOA1)

19 Oct 2015: Visa-in-hand

24 Oct 2015: POE !

15 Dec 2015: Fiance's mother's B-2 visa interview: APPROVED! So happy she will be at the wedding! :thumbs:

!

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Morocco
Timeline

Thanks for your response.

Suppose I get the marriage license from NC, have the ceremony in Costa Rica anyway, all witnesses sign, then we turn it in North Carolina anyway.

Regardless of whether NC will be unhappy about it, is that going to affect the the CR-1 process in any way?

You CAN NOT use a North Carolina wedding license in Costa Rica even is the President of Costa Rica signs it himself, the paper is useless if you don't marry in North Carolina.

All your going to have is a wedding license issued by the state of North Carolina with a bunch of autographs on it. USELESS


 

Formally known here as , Paris Heart 

 

Sent: 9/12/16: I-130 + I-485 + I-765 (USPS)

Delivered: 09/15/2016 to Chicago Lock Box

Interview Feb  21, 2018 for I-485

Interview  May 13, 2019 for I-130 Stokes interview ( 5 minutes)

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NOID addressed and received by USCIS 06/05/2019   Addressed the NOID myself, No lawyer ever used in case.

07/01/2019  10 YEAR GREEN CARD APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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07/11/2019   Green Card in Hand

     happy tom and jerry GIF

 

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Morocco
Timeline

Thanks for the advice!

USCIS is going to check with NC on the wedding and marriage certificate, I presume. Besides that we filed in NC on either the day after the wedding or the day after we arrive in the US, what else is USCIS going to notice?

Rather USCIS notices little things or not, Just do the process the correct way according to all Federal and state laws, then you wont have any worries about when you file with USCIS.

Play by USCIS rules, not yours.


 

Formally known here as , Paris Heart 

 

Sent: 9/12/16: I-130 + I-485 + I-765 (USPS)

Delivered: 09/15/2016 to Chicago Lock Box

Interview Feb  21, 2018 for I-485

Interview  May 13, 2019 for I-130 Stokes interview ( 5 minutes)

NOID issued 05/17/2019

NOID addressed and received by USCIS 06/05/2019   Addressed the NOID myself, No lawyer ever used in case.

07/01/2019  10 YEAR GREEN CARD APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

07/05/2019   Approval letters for I-130 & I-485 received in the USPS  mail.

07/11/2019   Green Card in Hand

     happy tom and jerry GIF

 

1019 days from receipt to approval, no lawyer involved.

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Filed: Timeline

What you are proposing to do is immigration fraud. For immigration purposes, the marriage must be legal in the country in which it was performed. Having the marriage and filing paperwork in NC does not constitute a legal marriage. A marriage license from NC is not valid to perform a marriage in Costa Rica. You are asking any of your friends that sign as witnesses to join you in committing fraud if you then file the certificate in NC since there was no marriage performed in NC.

Having you "wife" (which she really won't be since it wasn't a valid marriage where it was performed) then travel to the US on a visitor's visa to the adjust status adds to the fraud.

What else will USCIS know? Well, among other things, they will know that your "marriage date" on the certificate occured before your wife entered the US! Or, are you going to ask witnesses to sign a certificate with fraudulent dates?

You are creating a disaster waiting to happen! Why would you want to do that to you, your fiance, and your friends?

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Filed: Country: Costa Rica
Timeline
You CAN NOT use a North Carolina wedding license in Costa Rica even is the President of Costa Rica signs it himself, the paper is useless if you don't marry in North Carolina.

Well, I wasn't planning on having the President of Costa Rica sign it. I was planning on having a minister and two witnesses sign it, then handing it in to the clerk's office, and letting that be that. I highly doubt they're going to send officers to comb through our photo library.

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Well, I wasn't planning on having the President of Costa Rica sign it. I was planning on having a minister and two witnesses sign it, then handing it in to the clerk's office, and letting that be that. I highly doubt they're going to send officers to comb through our photo library.

This would not be a legal marriage and your visa would be denied because you would not be married.


AOS for my husband
8/17/10: INTERVIEW DAY (day 123) APPROVED!!

ROC:
5/23/12: Sent out package
2/06/13: APPROVED!

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