Is Online Marriage Legal for Immigration?
Legality of Online Virtual Marriage
In the USA, online marriage has been legal since 2020 and there are respective marriage laws to govern how a legal online wedding should be performed. In brief, there are 3 important steps for every online wedding to become legally valid:
1. The wedding couple has legally applied for and been issued a marriage license
2. A valid wedding ceremony has taken place in accordance with the legal requirements
3. The marriage has been registered properly with the authorities for proper records
Having gone through these steps, the couple is legally married according to the laws of the United States and the marriage should be legal and recognised in every state of the USA. Please note that the Marriage Certificate of an Online Virtual Wedding (web-conference wedding) is the exact SAME certificate for all couples who get their license in person. It does NOT say “Online Wedding” in the Marriage Certificate even if the wedding is held through a video conference online.
Online Marriage for Immigration Purpose
As we worked with many international couples, most of them had immigration plans after their weddings. If the marriage certificate is used within the USA, there will be no issue because your online wedding has been registered legally under the laws of the USA. If necessary, we can apply for a certified copy of your marriage certificate on your behalf and send it to you to facilitate your visa application.
If you have to do so outside the USA, it will depend on the immigration policy of individual countries. Generally speaking, we notice that most countries recognize marriages solemnized in other countries. While we are not a law firm and are unable to provide legal advice, our experience is that a marriage is generally accepted as a legal marriage if it was performed in the manner required by the laws of the country in which the marriage was solemnised and it is similar in nature to the marriage conducted in respective countries. Feel free to contact us and we are happy to discuss your situation and share our experience with you.
International Authentication for Online Marriage Certificate
For using your marriage certificate in countries outside the USA, as far as we know additional authentication or document may be required by the local civil registry or immigration office. A common form of additional certification is called an apostille. To facilitate the use of public documents among the contracting countries, the Apostille Convention (an international treaty) specifies how a document issued in one of the contracting countries can be certified for legal purposes in all other contracting countries. This international certification should be sufficient to certify a document’s validity and removes the need for double-certification in both countries (i.e. the country where the marriage certificate was issued and the country where the marriage certificate is used).
Given the legal status of the online marriage, your marriage certificate received after your online wedding is eligible for getting the apostille certification. We are able to apply a marriage certificate certified with an apostille for you whenever necessary. If you wish to know more about apostille convention, please contact us or visit Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) or Apostille Convention.
Note: Finally we hope you find the above general information helpful. Since not every situation is the same and how individual countries assess an immigration application is beyond anyone’s control, you may wish to contact suitable officials in your jurisdiction or an immigration/family law attorney for their professional advice and any additional steps or documents you may need for your application. We appreciate your understanding that we are not a law firm and unable to give you any legal advice.
Please go to how to get married legally through an online virtual wedding for further information about the nature, requirements and legality of Online Marriages.