Could Utah’s Zoom Marriages Help In Immigration Matters?
Many people know that although marriage does provide a path to citizenship, or entry into the country, it is by no means a guarantee. There are requirements, and proof of authenticity must be shown. But instead of staying in America, or coming here to get married, what if you’re already married? And if your spouse can’t come into the country to get married, what about a virtual marriage?
New Zoom Marriages
COVID-19 gave a lot of states a lot of new ideas on how to do things we once did in person. The state of Utah implemented virtual marriages, and many immigrants saw the new law as a way to get married online, and then have their new spouse enter the country as a family member, as they are already married.
US immigration law actually does not have a requirement that a husband and wife be married in person. But state law still must allow for it, for the marriage to be legal if the couple is not present in person.
Some states are starting to recognize proxy marriages, where one or both parties are not present. Usually, these are used when a spouse is on military duty, when a spouse is in prison, or if one spouse cannot get married because of his or her home country’s local laws.
Immigration Law Allows Proxy and Zoom Weddings
The US immigration law that defines marriage does have a requirement that the marriage be consummated-an act that obviously can’t be done online, even if the ceremony can by state law. Per immigration law, the consummation has to happen after, and not before, the marriage ceremony to be valid.
The law says nothing about whether consummating the marriage must happen in or outside of the United States. Either way, the couple would have to find someplace that they could both be present, in person. If consummated, both parties would have to attest to that fact in an affidavit. The affidavit would have to be accompanied by proof that the couple was, at some point after the marriage, in the same place at the same time, and it should explain (minus details) that the marriage was consummated.
But even if the marriage were consummated, and the marriage legalized through zoom, that still wouldn’t allow the non-US citizen spouse automatic entry into the United States.
In fact, that spouse would likely be denied entry into the United States, as the fact that the spouse is married to a US citizen, could actually hurt their chances for entry. Customs could see that spouse as wanting to remain in the United States permanently, instead of just temporarily, given that person’s tie to the United States (his or her spouse).
Immigration laws are changing all the time. Keep up with the latest developments by contacting us today with your immigration law questions or problems. Contact the Palm Beach County immigration attorneys at Devore Law Group today.