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A bit tricky marriage Certificate vs. Marriage License situation

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Filed: Timeline

My wife and I got married in Japan 10 years ago at the equivalent of a Justice of the Peace (at a kuyakusho, a local ward office). The US embassy provided an affidavit and I was told that this official marriage in Japan is recognized in the US. We have the official Japan paperwork for that.

the name of the document translates to Marriage Registration, a legal and binding document.

A couple years later we got married in a church. From that we have a marriage certificate from the church.

As it was hectic, because we were living overseas at the time, we traveled to the US for our wedding, were only there a short time, etc. we did not file our wedding with the county. Either we forgot or thought we didn't need to. So we do not seem to have a US marriage license.

Our Town Clerk's office said our particular church knows the process very well and would not have married us unless the prior paperwork was in place, that being the Japan Marriage Registration. The Town Clerk's office has no record of our marriage.

In order to submit the CR1 papers, we have the church's marriage certificate, a photocopy of the Japan Marriage Registration, and an English translation of the Marriage Registration.

Question 1:

Do we need a US Marriage license?

Question 2:

If what the US Embassy in Japan, who are quite good, was correct in saying that Japan marriage is recognized in the US, what is the mechanism for that?

Edited by BackWhereIBelong

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Malaysia


1) The US recognizes legal marriages performed abroad. So there's no need for the church license. As long as it's legal, you're good to go. That's what my husband and I researched when we registered our marriage in Kuala Lumpur. VJ'ers please correct me if I'm wrong :)

** We DID get the license certified at the Ministry of Foreign affairs just to be safe though :)

Good luck!

Edited by SophieParker1130

2008 : Met online & became friends

2013 : Started talking more

11/30/2013 : Became a couple

09/28/2014 : First meeting in the MN :idea:

10/14/2014 : I flew back to Malaysia :cry:

05/29/2015 : My second visit to MN :dancing:

07/02/2015 : I flew back to Malaysia again :crying:

12/28/2015 : He flew to Malaysia to visit me! :luv:

12/30/2015 : Village wedding ceremony! (L)

01/13/2016 : Marriage registration at Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur! (F)

01/17/2016 : He returned to the US :cry:

01/22/2016 : Began our CR1 journey!

01/26/2016 : Mailed i-130 Petition

01/28/2016 : NOA 1

05/27/2016 : i-130 Approved !!

06/20/2016 : NVC Received !!

06/20/2016 : Case Number Assigned

06/21//2016 : Received DS-261 / AOS Bill

06/21//2016 : Select Agent & Pay AOS Bill

07/01/2016 : Pay IV Bill

07/09/2016 : Submit DS-261

07/23/2016 : Send AOS & IV package

07/25/2016 : AOS & IV Package received

08/16/2016 : Case Complete!!

08/17/2016 : Interview Scheduled

08/18/2016 : Case left NVC

08/19/2016 : Consulate Received

08/24/2016 : Husband arrived for his 2nd visit !! (L)(L)(L)

08/30/2016 : Medical Exam :clock:

09/02/2016 : Long overdue honeymoon in Osaka, Japan :luv::luv:

09/06/2016 : Flew back to Kuala Lumpur

09/07/2016 : Picked up medical results

09/08/2016 : Interview - APPROVED !!! :goofy:

09/09/2016 : VISA IN HAND! Weeeeeeeeee!~ :wow:

10/13/2016 : POE @ Minneapolis St.Paul International (L)

11/29/2016 : GREEN CARD arrived in the mail! :dance:

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Hungary

You cannot get married in the US (legally, anyway) as you are already married.

Your marriage (the ceremony conducted in Japan) is recognized by the US.

Leave the church marriage out of the equation.

Use the Japanese Marriage Registration and its English translation in your dealings with US immigration.

There is no way to "register" the marriage conducted in Japan in the US.

You are still married, though, in the eyes of the US Government.

Edited by EM_Vandaveer

Entry on VWP to visit then-boyfriend 06/13/2011

Married 06/24/2011

Our first son was born 10/31/2012, our daughter was born 06/30/2014, our second son was born 06/20/2017

AOS Timeline

AOS package mailed 09/06/2011 (Chicago Lockbox)

AOS package signed for by R Mercado 09/07/2011

Priority date for I-485&I-130 09/08/2011

Biometrics done 10/03/2011

Interview letter received 11/18/2011

INTERVIEW DATE!!!! 12/20/2011

Approval e-mail 12/21/2011

Card production e-mail 12/27/2011


Resident since 12/21/2011

ROC Timeline

ROC package mailed to VSC 11/22/2013

NOA1 date 11/26/2013

Biometrics date 12/26/2013

Transfer notice to CSC 03/14/2014

Change of address 03/27/2014

Card production ordered 04/30/2014


N-400 Timeline

N-400 package mailed 09/30/2014

N-400 package delivered 10/01/2014

NOA1 date 10/20/2014

Biometrics date 11/14/2014

Early walk-in biometrics 11/12/2014

In-line for interview 11/23/2014

Interview letter 03/18/2015

Interview date 04/17/2015 ("Decision cannot yet be made.")

In-line for oath scheduling 05/04/2015

Oath ceremony letter dated 05/11/2015

Oath ceremony 06/02/2015

I am a United States citizen!

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