Administrative Conditions to Get Married to a Foreign National

Getting married in the Big Apple can be truly romantic. The first step for any couple looking to get married in New York is to complete an online application to obtain a New York marriage license.

The couple will then receive a confirmation number and further information on the date and time the couple is to meet with the city clerk.  The confirmation also includes a list of documents required by the Clerk to complete the application.

The conditions applicable to all of couples are as follow:

  1. To be over the age of 18 or, at least 17 years old and have the authorization of parents and of a justice of the Supreme Court, or from a judge of the family court having jurisdiction on the town where the marriage is celebrated;
  2. To have a valid New York marriage license. The validity of the marriage license is 60 days from the date it is issued;
  3. Not to be created through your future spouses (Uncle/niece, brother/sister, etc).
  4. To be unmarried. If you are divorced, the Clerk will request a list of all prior spouses, their complete names and the divorce decree of all prior marriages;
  5. In the case of marriage with a foreign national, the Clerk may request an affidavit of law from authorities of the alien spouse’s country of origin, to confirm his/her legal capacity to get married.

However, it is important to note that each Clerk will have his/her specific requirements.  Therefore, the above-mentioned conditions are only indicative.

To get that are more customized list of requirements, contact the Clerk’s office.

Registration of Marriages Celebrated Abroad

Many U.S. citizens and permanent residents get married in exotic places abroad. But there are not always aware that to be legally married there, they need to satisfy the host country legal requirements to get married.

If you get married abroad, the recognition of the marriage in the United States is not automatic. In the State of New York, the Clerk of New York City will not register marriages celebrated in jurisdictions outside of New York City.

However, that does not mean the marriage is invalid, but it will not be registered in New York. Any legally celebrated marriage anywhere in the world is recognized in the United States. That being said, some administrations such as Social Security Number, or the DMB will not accept a foreign marriage certificate.

To ascertain the recognition of your foreign marriage in the United States, contact a specialized family law attorney before getting married.

Most of countries will request from the non-local fiancé an Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry to ensure for example that the foreign fiancé is not already married or has reached the legal age to get married in his own country.

Effects of the Marriage for Non-U.S. Spouse

The marriage of a non-U.S. citizen with a U.S. national or a U.S. resident enables the alien spouse to apply for an adjustment of status and move legally to the United States with the American spouse or the U.S. resident.

Alien spouses belong to the first preference category of applicants in family petitions.