Useful Tips

US marriage conditions and procedures


One way to legally immigrate to the United States is to marry an American citizen or resident. We immediately warn that the process is complex, requiring great attention to detail, despite the fact that we are talking about a real marriage, and not fictitious, especially if we talk about marriage with a permanent resident and not a citizen. However, this method has several advantages.

The benefits of immigration through marriage:

A relatively quick process for obtaining an immigrant visa, Green Card, and subsequently citizenship of the United States: after three years of marriage, you can apply for naturalization.
It is possible to apply for an immigrant visa for children, if any.
There is no need to provide evidence of financial security, enough guarantees for the future American spouse.
An immigrant visa request includes a minimum number of documents.

It should be noted that there is a whole range of cases of entering the country through marriage or marriage, each of which has its own characteristics. In addition, marriage unions with foreigners are considered by the officers of the Migration Service as knowingly fictitious, with the aim of entering permanent residence, which means that in order to obtain permanent resident status you will have to prove that your union is real. For these reasons, we recommend that you initially get advice and support from an experienced lawyer at each stage. Consider some of the most common options for moving to the United States through a marriage.

Marriage to a US citizen

Regardless of whether you marry a US citizen or a permanent resident, there are two options for his conclusion: outside of America and in the country. If the first option assumes that the fastest process of legal entry into the States after the wedding will be to file a petition for family reunion, then the second option requires a preliminary entry into the country to formalize marriage.

The obvious disadvantage of the first option is that after marriage and applying for reunification, you will need to wait for a response from the Migration Service without the opportunity to visit your spouse even on a guest visa. The wait may take several months. Such a long separation after the wedding does not always positively affect the relationship, respectively, it is worth recommending the conclusion of a marriage in the United States.

Common stages of immigration through marriage in the United States:

Entry into the United States and marriage.

Obtaining a temporary (conditional) Green Card (Conditional Permanent Resident) immediately after marriage. It is issued for a period of 2 years.

Obtaining a permanent Green Card (Permanent Resident), which gives the right to reside permanently in the United States. Shortly before the expiration of the conditional Green Card, you must again contact the Migration Service with confirmation of the validity of the marriage. Then you will receive the status of permanent resident, or Permanent Resident. If there is insufficient evidence or a migration officer doubts the authenticity of your marriage, you may be facing deportation and a life-time ban on entering the United States.

Applying for citizenship: It is possible after 3 years of marriage with a US citizen. It should be noted that if in the future the authorities find out that the grounds for marriage were illegal, the decision to naturalize may be reversed. In this regard, one should not agree to dubious offers of joining a fictitious union in order to obtain an American passport.

United States Marriage

As in the Russian Federation, the primary conditions for marriage in the United States are:

  • consent of future spouses,
  • age of marriage
  • lack of barriers to entry into marriage.

Adulthood in the US comes at age 21, but this age is usually not related to the right to marry.

Depending on the state, the marriage age can be from 16 to 21 years and even earlier in the presence of special circumstances (mainly pregnancy).

An obstacle to marriage can be close kinship, inability to understand one’s actions, lack of consent of parents (guardians) when the generally established marriage age is not reached. Marriage in the United States between cousins ​​(cousins ​​and cousins) is allowed in about half of the states.

Where to go?

Before registering a marriage, you must obtain a license (Amer. Marriage License).

How you get it depends on the state’s capabilities.

As a rule, the application for registration of a marriage license can be filled out on the Internet or in one of the departments of the municipality (Registrar-Recorder / County Clerk).

The following data shall be indicated on the questionnaire: full name, presence and data of previous marriages (if any), date and place of birth, data of parents (name, place of birth and even mother's maiden name). At this stage, the question of a possible change of premarital surname is also being decided.

The cost of a marriage license depends on its variety and staff. For example, in California there are two types of licenses: public and confidential. Public (Public Marriage License) will cost $ 90, and confidential (Confidential Marriage License) - $ 85. The difference is that confidential license information is removed from public access.

Since receiving a marriage license, future spouses have a certain period of time for the ceremony. Its duration depends on the state: in California it is given 90 days, in Oklahoma - 10 days, in the state of New York - 60 days, in Nevada - exactly one year. Skipping this period will cancel all previously submitted data and the procedure must be repeated. Those who wish to get married in the states of Georgia, New Mexico, Mississippi, the District of Columbia or South Carolina need not worry: on their territory a marriage license is granted indefinitely.

In addition, in some states there is “time for reflection”, i.e. a couple of days after obtaining a license, marriage cannot be registered. For example, in Pennsylvania this period is 3 days.

Upon receipt of a marriage license for the final legalization of relations, you can contact:

  • to the justice of the peace
  • in church,
  • to the city hall
  • to any person who has undergone special courses and received the right to combine people by marriage,
  • to a branch of Registrar-Recorder / County Clerk.

It all depends on the imagination, desire and financial capabilities of future spouses. For example, the “easiest” civil ceremony at Registrar-Recorder / County Clerk will cost an additional $ 35 in California.

At the end of the ceremony (regardless of its type), they enter in Marriage Сertificate: date and place of registration, last name of the minister (in Russian - registrar), signatures of witnesses.

The presence of witnesses is usually required (if there are none, witnesses will be the staff of the minister). The exception is cases of confidential registration of relations. The original certificate is handed over at the place of its receipt, and a copy is issued to newly made spouses (for a fee).

Both spouses are citizens of America

To obtain a Marriage License, U.S. citizens must provide:

  • birth certificate. If this document is of foreign origin, a translation is attached to it with the date, signature and record of compliance of the translation. In other words, a certified translator must translate. Notarization, as in Russia, is not required,
  • any identification card that has a photo (this can be a passport, state or legal identity card). The sailor’s passport, despite his recognition as an identity card, is not suitable for marriage affairs,
  • Social Security Number (SSN). If it’s not there, it’s not scary,
  • documents on the termination of all previous marriages. Moreover, not only a certificate of divorce should be provided, but also a certificate of death or a marriage recognized as fictitious. In some states, an oath of absence of another family is sufficient (California). In New York, the rules are tougher - you must specify where the former spouse lives after a divorce.

One of the spouses is a foreigner

If one of the future spouses has the citizenship of another country and is sent to the United States to register a marriage, the spouse must send an invitation.

The embassy / consulate of the United States draws up a visa of the groom (bride) form K-1.

Since receiving a visa, future spouses have 3 months to legalize their relationship. After the specified period, if the marriage relationship has not been issued, the visa loses its effect and the groom (bride) must leave the country. And, on the contrary, after the marriage, the newly made foreign spouse gets the right to the Green Card.

The package of documents provided for the registration of marriage is identical to that already specified. The only moment - a newlywed foreigner must provide a foreign passport!

About gay marriage in the USA

Before the fateful decision of the Supreme Court for many, which actually legalized same-sex marriages in all 50 states of the United States in 2015, the possibility of same-sex marriage was provided in 35 of the 50 states.

The adoption of such a decision was preceded by a period of a long struggle of LGBT people for their rights.

Back in 1996, Bill Clinton legalized the understanding of marriage exclusively as a heterosexual union (i.e. exclusively men and women).

In 2003, under the influence of public organizations, the authorities were forced to cede and granted the states the right to independently determine the participants in the marriage. The pioneer in this area was the state of Massachusetts, in which the registration of same-sex marriages was the first to be allowed.

To support same-sex marriage ties in the country, innovations were even adopted:

  1. You can contract same-sex marriage during contract service. To exercise this right, you do not need to ask for a leave of absence: marriage will be registered both on the territory of the military base and outside it,
  2. spouses have a statutory right to divorce,
  3. legalized same-sex marriage allows you to solve the migration issues of one of the spouses: he is recognized as being legally in the country,
  4. spouses are guaranteed the right to fatherhood (motherhood). Although traditional couples still have the advantage of deciding on adoption, applications for same-sex couples are also subject to review.

The procedure for concluding same-sex marriage is no different from the generally established order. Spouses have equal rights and obligations, including with regard to the maintenance and upbringing of children.

The American marriage registration system has a wide variety of marriage options. If there are any restrictions in the state of residence, they can easily be overcome by registering the marriage in another, even neighboring state. In general, for lovers in the United States there are many opportunities to legally register their relationship.

Dear readers, the information in the article could be out of date, use the free consultation by calling: Moscow +7 (499) 288-73-46 , St. Petersburg +7 (812) 309-71-92 or ask a lawyer a question through the feedback form below.

California Wedding Procedure

How is going California wedding procedure? In several stages. First, the bride and groom must obtain a marriage license with which they have the right to hold a wedding ceremony within 90 days of receipt. You can get a license after filling out the questionnaire, both people must be 18 years old, the bride and groom should not be in another marriage. Citizenship, gender and religion, as well as place of residence do not matter.

For obtaining licensesboth the bride and groom must personally submit the completed application form to the local office of the county registrar / clerk (County Recorder / Clerk, an analogue of our registry office). In each district, the rules are slightly different, so you should find the site of a particular registrar / clerk and clarify all the details.

I will give a description of the procedure by the example of the district Los Angeles. The questionnaire can be filled out online on the website: - after which it must be printed out and taken personally to one of these offices:

The questions in the questionnaire are simple - name, address and place of birth of the groom, bride and their parents.

Wedding in the USA

Marriage with a US resident

Unlike marriage with a citizen, entering into a family relationship with a permanent resident is not an equally fast and reliable way to legally immigrate. Here, as in the case of a citizen, you can get married on the territory or outside the country. But here it is not possible to enter America precisely for the purpose of marriage with a US resident on an immigrant visa. That is, you can marry an American resident in one of the States in only two ways:

1. You are already in the country on a long-term (work or student) visa.

Since you already have a reason for a long stay in the country, you will not have to leave beyond its borders immediately after registering a marriage. However, since an alliance with a resident is not the same as a citizen, we recommend that you contact a lawyer who will give detailed instructions on how to get a Green Card in the quickest way.

2. Get a short-term tourist or guest visa.

In this case, you must leave the country before the expiration of the short-term visa. Further steps will not differ from the option of concluding a marriage union in any other country; this will not accelerate the process of immigration: a petition is issued to issue an immigrant visa. The reason is family reunion. In the case of a resident, such petitions are categorized as F2 (Second Family Priority). The waiting period for a response to a request can be 3-4 years, since there is an annual quota in this category, and there are many applications. While waiting, most often there is no way to enter the United States in any legal way: you have already declared your immigration intentions, which means that any attempt to enter is considered as a desire to stay in the country.

Fictitious marriage

Some people are tempted to enter into a fictitious alliance in pursuit of the long-awaited relocation to the land of dreams. But the fact is that official services, like legislation, are by no means formally related to the principle of privileges regarding the right to reside in the United States. Moreover, fictitious marriage from the point of view of legislation is a crime. If an officer (and they are experienced psychologists) has even the slightest suspicion that you are willingly or unwittingly tricking, or not telling the whole truth in any of a number of mandatory interviews, or at least one page from numerous supporting documents will cause doubt, the door to this country daydreaming will be closed to you forever.

A quick reading of the instructions and laws governing immigration to the United States through entering into family relations with a citizen, it may seem that this is a trivial procedure that requires only attention to filling out forms and the rules for filing documents. However, among other things, the timing and possibility of obtaining permanent resident status are affected by the place of marriage and the submission of subsequent applications. It’s not so easy to take into account all these nuances, correctly determine the date and place of registration of documents, obtain a visa for entry, correctly prepare for an interview, and collect all the necessary evidence for the migration service. A good solution would be to seek the advice and legal support of an experienced lawyer. If necessary, a lawyer is also present at interviews with an immigration officer.


I plan to marry an American resident and go there for permanent residence. Tell me, is it not better for us to wait until he receives American citizenship?

If the spouse is soon to obtain citizenship, then it is better to wait for this event. The average visa waiting period for a spouse of a permanent resident is 3-4 years. For the spouse of a citizen, their number is not quoted, respectively, will have to wait only a few months. In addition, the bride’s visa, which can only be requested by a citizen, with the subsequent receipt of a Green Card does not imply traveling outside the country with the need to leave after the wedding.

We got married a year ago, and after moving to the United States for some time we were forced to live separately. Will I have problems getting a permanent Green Card?

In this case, you should definitely get advice from an immigration lawyer. To receive a Green Card, you will have to prove that your union is real, go through an interview with questions of a rather intimate nature. If during the year you lived separately, it will be difficult for you to answer questions about habits, individual characteristics and the conduct of your spouse's life.

My fiance has submitted documents for receiving a Green Card and there is every reason to believe that he will receive it. We plan to live together in the United States. When is it best to formalize a relationship - before or after receiving a Green Card by my spouse to expedite my immigration process?

If the spouse will soon receive a Green Card, it is better to hurry up with the registration of the relationship and do this before he receives the status of a permanent resident. Это связано с тем, что в американском законодательстве есть существенная оговорка, позволяющая второй половинке получить иммиграционную визу «вслед за супругом», который въезжает на законных основаниях в страну, в том случае, если брак заключен до получения им Грин-карты.Unlike F2 visas, under which the wife of a permanent resident of the United States can enter, this category does not have a quota, and therefore no waiting queues. This will greatly speed up your relocation process.

I married a US citizen, but the relationship did not work out. I want to get a divorce, but still stay in America. Will my permanent resident status be extended?

This situation belongs to the category of complex cases. The best solution for you would be to contact a lawyer. The presence of joint children and property, the presence of a marriage contract, the duration of the divorce, your personal financial well-being and education - all these nuances must be considered. It is impossible to answer this question in absentia. It is good that he asked before the start of the divorce proceedings: under the guidance of a lawyer, you can correctly execute all the documents, if possible with the support of the current spouse.

Company American corporate services He will provide qualified assistance in all matters related to immigration to the United States through marriage, starting with the choice of the method of entry into the country, the date and place of the wedding, and ending with the preparation of the necessary packages of documents and personal presence at all official interviews.

California Contractor License

In California and, like in any other state, a licensed contractor is required to complete the work, and this company must be a registered contractor. In California, the contractor license is regulated by the State Board of Contractors Licensing Council (CLSB), an organization that protects consumers and regulates the activities of the contractor. In California alone, there are more than 300,000 licensed contractors doing business in more than 40 licensing classifications.

California councils also conduct exams to test future licensed contractors, investigate complaints, and provide full administrative services to contractors and their customers. is responsible for the search for criminal and civil actions against unlicensed contractors. Any California Contractor license may be revoked or suspended if deemed necessary by the Council, and any unlicensed activity must be informed.

California Subcontractor License Basics

Any contractor engaged in construction activities that is $ 500 or more must be licensed by the State Licensing Board of Contractors. The contractor must provide evidence of training, at least four years of experience or education, in order to apply for a license. In addition, each contractor must be fingerprinted, connected and the state council will conduct FBI checks. Contractors should be able to track all licensing requirements, including advertising regulation.

Contractors are encouraged to not offer illegal services and abide by their respective code of ethics to avoid being fined or processed in state law. Contractors may be imprisoned when unlawful acts are discovered, and the state may impose additional restrictions.

California Contractor License: Original License

To register as an active licensed contractor in California, the board will ask for the following:

  • Take and pass an exam for a license. This exam is required if the contractors have not completed the same qualifications that they apply, or if the contractor has not passed the test in the past five years.
  • If you have worked as a licensed contractor and have had a good reputation in the past five years for the same qualifications, or if the contractor has passed the test in the last five years, then verification is not required.
  • The provisions on refusal of examination are set out in section 7065. “Business and professions”. 1 and 7065. 2. You must fulfill all the conditions of the relevant section to provide the Disclaimer. In some cases, only the trade exam may be canceled.
  • The waiver provisions defined in Section 7065 of Code B & P. ​​1 may be provided in accordance with Sections 7065.1 (b) and 7065.1 (c). While 7065. 1 (a) also provides for refusal of the exam, the Registrar used his authority to suspend refusals under this section.

California Contractor License Classification

The California Group Board of Directors brings together contractors in the following categories. A class contractor is one whose main line of business requires specialized and technical technical knowledge. A Class B contractor or general contractor refers to any structure that is being modified or built, and in which at least two different professions are involved. It is important to note that cropping can be performed without any restrictions. Class C contractors are referred to as specialized contractors in accordance with the California Board of State Contractors. There are 44 different specializations, professions or crafts, and sometimes when the supplier is involved as part of the construction work offering their services, they also need to be licensed.

There are 30 other sub-specialties under type C contractor.