Immigrants: "We Want To Wed
From Ruskaya Reklama (Russian Advertising)
16-22nd August 2002
By: Nosiv Sobolevski
I am a citizen of the United States. My girlfriend came here
on a tourist Visa B-2 a year ago. After much deliberation we decided
to wed here. My friends are discouraging us from doing this. They
showed me an article published in a Russian paper which said that
after we get married, my girlfriend would have to return to her
homeland, in which she would need to process the K-3 visa form to
return to America.
If we dont wed here because of the strict background checks
of place of marriage, then I, as a citizen of the Unites States,
can go to my girlfriends homeland and marry her there. Then
I will return to the United States and submit documents to be reunited
Is this correct? Please help.
And please answer a second question. Here in Brooklyn we hear
a lot of talk about a new law that will forbid illegals to wed U.S.
citizens. How correct are these rumors?
* * * * * * *
First of all I should say that any foreigner has the right to marry
a citizen, whether the foreigner be a guest whose allotted time
to stay has expired or not, named in form I-94 distributed upon
entry to the U.S. In addition, citizens are allowed to wed those
foreigners who arrived in the U.S. legally or illegally, for example,
through an illegal border crossing in Mexico or Canada.
It is important to point out that the length of an illegal immigrants
stay in the United States. in no way impedes his or her right to
wed a U.S. citizen. The most important requirement to have for the
foreigner is current (not expired) proof of identity. This could
be a passport or a driver's license/ non-driver ID. Those who have
been married before must bring notarized divorce papers that have
been translated into English.
Lets pay attention to those "guests" of the U.S. who at one
time were single but, wanting to gain permission to enter the U.S.,
gave evidence of a marriage (obviously, a fake one). After finding
themselves in the U.S., they try to married a U.S. citizen. They
submit their documents to the proper authorities, completely forgetting
about their "other marriage." The scam is easily revealed with unpleasant
results for the foreigner bride or groom.
The process itself of getting married is a simple one, and consists
of two steps. First, both future spouses fill out forms to obtain
a marriage license. They then receive the go ahead to wed. This
document is given out with an expiration date, which is 60 days
in New York. In this way, the couple is given 60 days to think through
everything, although they are free to wed the day after they receive
the license. During the ceremony, both sides must have a witness
and then receive a certificate of marriage.
The whole process costs the parties no more than 60 dollars. A
foreigner may get married who is no younger than 18 years of age,
who is not disabled, and who is not wed to another personeven
if that person is located in another country. Oftentimes because
of ignorance about American immigration laws, a foreigner falsely
weds a U.S. citizen thinking that this act will automatically grant
him a green card. Obviously, this is far from the truth. The simple
fact of being married to a U.S. citizen does not entitle a foreigner
to permanent resident status.
Marriages solely for the purpose of obtaining a greencard were
regulated in 1986 by the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendment.
It sought to eradicate false marriages between U.S. citizens and
foreigners. Below are some important facts that are useful for those
seeking to marry should know:
- After a U.S. citizen weds, his foreign wife/husband who is located
in the U.S. either legally or illegally does not have to leave
the country in order to get an interview in the U.S. consulate
in his/her homeland connected to the business of the marriage.
- To speed up processing the documents at the INS, here are a
few helpful hints: instead of mailing the Petition Form I-130
to the regional INS center, this form along with form I-485 and
others can be sent to your local INS office.
A foreign husband/wife does not have to pay the $1000 fee for living
illegally in the country at time of marriage or at the day of his
or her interview with the INS. There is no reason for your girlfriend
to leave for her homeland in order to wed you there, nor submit
form K-1 if she has not wed you yet. She neither needs to submit
the K-3 visa if she has already wed you in her homeland, or a third
I also need to add that the right to leave the U.S., no matter
how one entered the country, is shared with other close members
of a citizens family, like his parents and unwed, dependent
children. These close relatives pass an interview to be reunited
here, and furthermore dont pay the $1000 fine for their illegal
residency in the U.S.
Lastly, concerning your second question about rumors of a possible
bill outlawing marriages between U.S. citizens and illegal immigrants
in this country. In short, the answer is this: certain "matchmakers"
trick people into thinking that such a law will go into effect soon,
urging illegal immigrants to wed citizens for a minor
In reality Congress has no plans to forbid foreigners, whether
they be legal aliens or not, from wedding citizens. That said,
- A foreigner may wed a citizen here, in this country, without
having to go to a third country awaiting an interview in relation
to the marriage.
- A foreigner should not be rushed into a marriage of convenience
because this will lead him to lose quite a large sum of money,
and will hinder his attempts at getting a green card.
In conclusion, here are the addresses and hours of operation
of places in New York where one may get married:
Mahattan: 1 Center St., New York, NY 10007 rm# 262. (212)
Brooklyn: 210 Joralemon St. rm#205, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (718)
Queens:120-55 Queens Blvd. rm#NX 001, Queens, NY (718)590-5307
Bronx: 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10451 (718) 590-5307
Staten Island: 10 Richmond Terr. Staten Island, NY 10301 (718)
Hours of operation: Mon-Fri, 8:30AM-4:30PM. In Staten Island:
Translated from Russian by Nina Kryuk