A mandatory requirement for a person looking to obtain a Green Card (US permanent residency) via marriage to a US citizen includes the legal validity of the wedding as per the relevant state laws. In other words, the marriage should conform to local law provisions, having government recognition. Note, you are required to submit legal proof of marriage when you apply for a green card in such cases.
What are Proxy marriages?
Now, as you may know, the Coronavirus changed life in various ways globally. Marriages are no exception to this rule. To that end, because of worldwide restrictions, virtual weddings or proxy marriages via Skype and Zoom became common.
Well, as far as a proxy marriage goes, the US Immigration law imposes an extra requirement. This includes the consummation of the marriage, which means the couple should have sexual relations post the nuptials.
As a US permanent citizen, if you want to help your spouse obtain a green card, you should know about the legality of such marriages for immigration purposes. So, let us now understand more about proxy marriages in the following details.
Proxy Marriages: A Brief
A marriage ceremony where one of the partners is not physically present at the wedding venue befits the description of a proxy marriage. In such cases, another person replaces the absent partner and says the vows for them. And the absent person getting married connects to the marriage venue through a remote video link.
In some proxy marriage for immigration cases, both partners connect via a video link while the person legally authorized to conduct the marriage rituals is physically present at the wedding venue.
Proxy marriages have become necessary in some situations. For example: if a person who is not a US citizen cannot attend the ceremony physically due to immigration issues, then they can enter into a proxy marriage.
Proxy Marriages: How Do They Work?
You must note that different states vary in the rules for proxy marriage. That is why you must always check and understand the laws of the state before going ahead with such weddings. Some states allow proxy marriages during specific situations, including pandemics. And some states do not recognize proxy marriages under any circumstances.
Normally, one of the partners is physically present at the venue whereas another person stands in for the other marriage partner. And the officials presides over the proxy wedding. Also, the absent marriage partner partakes in the ceremony via a video link. Moreover, similar to other weddings, proxy marriages can include guests at the venue.
In some proxy marriages, apart from the officiant and one wedding partner being physically present at the venue, everybody else joins in via remote links.
Finally, in fully virtual marriage ceremonies, only the officiant is physically present at the marriage venue while the couple and guests connect to the wedding venue through video links.
Why Need for Proxy Marriages and Immigration
Proxy marriages commonly take place when one of the couple partners is not a US resident and they are having immigration troubles.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the US government agency handling immigration and citizenship issues.
For proxy marriages to be considered valid for US Immigration, the couple is required to consummate the wedding (indulge in sexual relations) after the ceremony.
Proxy Marriages: What Proof do you need to Submit to USCIS?
When applying for US or Canada Immigration for Permanent Residency, you are required to prove to the USCIS:
- That the wedding has legal validity in the state where it took place
- That the marriage was consummated post the wedding rituals
As proof of your wedding, you can submit your marriage certificate, which the relevant state authority issues. This legal document mentions the proxy marriage details and the name of the officiant who is legally allowed to conduct the marriage.
On the other hand, proving the consummation of the proxy marriage is not so easy. In legal terms, the consummation of a marriage denotes the couple having sex post the wedding vows. In practice, consummation means proving that both partners were physically present at the given venue at the same time since the proxy marriage. Couples can submit hotel bills, airline tickets, holiday pictures, videos, and written receipts as proof of the consummation of their marriage.
After you are legally married via proxy marriage, the subsequent step is to apply for a green card. However, the Immigration authorities may demand more evidence in cases of proxy marriages. That is because they want to be satisfied that the wedding is bona fide and not a ploy to obtain a green card.