Fiancé Visa: Is Religious Ceremony Risky?

“Is it okay for my fiancé and I to have a religious ceremony?”

We encourage all of our clients when we’re talking about this topic to think about the risks of doing a religious ceremony. The first risk is that in some countries, the religious ceremony is a legally binding ceremony that would make you a married couple. If that is the case, you would not be eligible to receive your fiancé visa.

With the fiancé visa, you’re engaged with the intent of coming to the United States. The requirement with a fiancé visa is that you get married in the United States within 90 days. If you have a religious ceremony that’s legally binding in another country, then you basically lose your eligibility. You can’t receive that fiancé visa.

If you did research and you see that it’s not legally binding so you want to go ahead and move forward with it anyway, there are still risks because there might be a country where it’s not entirely clear that it wasn’t legally binding. Immigration would investigate and might find out this was a religious ceremony that counts as a legally binding ceremony. So even if you are sure or you think that it’s not legally binding, those risks still exist.

It’s happened before and there have been cases where that happened. Some individuals have tried this and they ultimately had issues with immigration having to look into that.

When you’re thinking about that and you’re thinking about the risks that are involved, you really have to decide if it’s worth it.

The other thing that we talk to our clients about is if there is something else that you can do to celebrate with family. Instead of having a religious ceremony, can you celebrate in some other way with your family once you come to the United States? Can you get married and go back to your country of origin or any other country to have another religious ceremony to celebrate with your family?

That would be the safest path and the safest way to ensure that you’re not jeopardizing your fiancé visa process. There are risks involved and so, you’ll want to make sure you’re weighing those and really asking yourself if that’s something that you’re able to do.

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