Marriage License- For U.S. K-1 Fiance Visa Holders
About Marriage Licence in the U.S. for K-1 Fiance Visa Holders
Today, we talk about how to get a marriage license in the U.S. for K-1 Fiance Visa holders.
When you first arrive to the United States, your main priority, after you get temporary health insurance and apply for your social security card, is to marry your petitioner. In fact, as a condition of your K-1 Fiance Visa, it is a requirement to marry your petitioner within 90 days of entry into the United States.
In the event that you do not marry your petitioner within the 90 days after arrival, you may risk being sent back to your home country.
However, before you get married, you and your finace must first get a marriage license.
In the same way, the marriage license allows you marry in either a religious or civil ceremony. However, you are not legally married until the completed marriage license is sent back to the vital records office and duly recorded. Usually, the officiant and a witness or two at your ceremony must sign the marriage license.
Marriage license requirements specifically depend on where you live and where you plan to marry. In fact, each state has its own laws and regulations. By the same token, you must follow the law for the state in which you plan to marry.
Use the information in this post to find your State’s marriage license requirements. Also, follow the proper procedures to obtain a marriage license successfully.
Prior to Applying for A Marriage License
Find out Where to Get Your Marriage License
The marriage license process in the U.S. is specifically done at your local government that is the official vital records office.
The office that is in charge of vital statistics varies by State. For example, in some states, the county government overseas the vital records. In these cases, it is usually the county courthouse where you get your marriage license. However, in other states, the individual city or town municipal office overseas the vital records.
With this in mind, find out where to apply for your marriage license at the proper local government office by:
- Asking your fiance
- Calling the local city, town or county office for information
- Searching the local city, town or county website for information
- Asking the religious or other official that is going to perform your wedding.
- Discussing with family, friends or neighbors
After you find out where to get your marriage license, find out the following information about the office:
- Days that are open
- Business hours
- What do you need to bring
Bring Documents and Proof of Identity
Again, check with your local vital statistics office to see what specifically are the requirements for documents to bring. Typically, you and your fiance will have to provide personal information on the application for a marriage license. For example, the documentation and information generally includes:
- Birth Certificates
- Government issued Identification. Your passport will suffice. Also, a new driver’s license also works if you have one.
- Be ready to give your full legal name and any other names used
- Place of birth
- Parents’ full names and places of birth
- Whether either party has been divorced, and the date of divorce if applicable
- Who will be performing the marriage ceremony
- Social Security Numbers
- Date of wedding
Terminate any Prior Marriages
Overall, termination of any prior relationships is typically not an issue for K-1 Fiance Visa holders and their fiance. Typically, this is done do to the fact that termination of any prior marriages is a requirement of both parties to get the K-1 Fiance Visa.
Decide on Your Surname
If you want to change your legal surname once you marry, it’s easier to do so when you are applying for the marriage license. Once you marry, the name you provide on the license application becomes your legal surname.
Also, it is important to note that:
- Neither partner must change his or her surname.
- Surnames do not automatically change with other government agencies upon marriage.
- The Social Security Administration accepts marriage documents to legally change your name on Social Security records. If you decide to legally change your surname upon marriage, you must notify Social Security. Social Security does not automatically change your surname.
- Some states have specific restrictions on what surnames may be adopted, and some states have no restrictions at all. Check with your county clerk’s office to determine what restrictions (if any) apply in your state.
Find out if there is a Waiting Period
Many states have waiting periods before you can obtain your license, or before you can use that license to get married.
- In many states, you can receive your marriage license immediately. Some states, however, have a waiting period between one and six days between when you apply for your license and when you receive it.
- In some states, there is also a waiting period between the time you receive your marriage license and when you can legally marry.
- If you do not observe these waiting periods, your marriage may not be legally valid.
- Waivers from the waiting period may be available under certain circumstances. For this purpose, check with the issuing government authority.
- If you are in a big hurry, marry in a state where there is no waiting period, or marry in Las Vegas which is the easiest place to get married.
Apply for Marriage License
Most government entities require that both of you apply for a marriage license in person together. Alternatively, an increasing number of places are allowing people to apply for a marriage license on-line.counties. However, you must still bring your documentation to the appropriate office in person to complete your application.
If you want to do a civil ceremony, you may want to schedule that while you are in the office.
The fee to apply for a marriage license varies by state, county or municipal district. Typically, the marriage license fee is between $25 to $100. Check with your location to determine what the fee is. Also, many places post the application fee on their website.
Receive Marriage License
If you have done the research as recommended in this article, you will know whether you can expect to receive your marriage license immediately, or whether you will have a waiting period. Also, find out if you need pick it up in person or if it will be mailed to you.
Next, bring the marriage license to your wedding officiant.
Now it is Time to Marry
For some states’m marriage licenses have no expiration date. However, in other states, marriage licenses can expire. However, most marriage licenses are valid for between 30 and 90 days.
Therefore, know the duration period of your marriage license and marry before it expires. If you do not use your marriage license before it expires, you may need to re-apply for another marriage license. In addition you may need to pay another fee.
More importantly, as a K-1 Fiance Visa holder, you need to marry within 90 days of entering the U.S.
Importantly, make sure that an eligible person performs the marriage ceremony.
In fact, many states have requirements about who is eligible to perform weddings. Make certain that your officiant is eligible to legally perform weddings in your town, county or state.
Marriage License Signatures
Many states require the spouses, at least one witness, and the eligible officiant to sign the marriage license for it to be valid. Check with your issuing office to determine what signatures must be given.
Therefore, verify the required signatures are on the marriage license after the wedding ceremony.
File the Marriage License
In most cases, the officiant must sign and return the marriage license to the issuing office.
After, the office will send you a marriage certificate. The marriage certificate is your proof that the marriage took place. Your marriage is now legal once the license is received and filed.
For some foreign nationals, your home country may keep records of marriages. Therefore, you may want to send your marriage certificate to the office in your home country for records there.
What to do Next
After you get married, it is time to do the following:
- Adjust your Status with USCIS
- Apply for your Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
- Apply for Advanced Parole (AP) if you plan to leave and re-enter the USA
Go to our “K-1 Now that You Are in the USA” webpage on how to do these three things.