How do you register a foreign marriage in the USA?

If you’ve recently gone through the spouse visa process and were married in another country, you might be wondering how to register your foreign marriage in the United States. Once you complete the spouse visa process and obtain your green card, it’s natural to want to ensure that your marriage is recognized by the U.S. government.

Let’s break down the process and shed light on what you need to know.


Step 1: Understand U.S. Recognition of Foreign Marriages

In the United States, there isn’t a National Registry or a formal process for registering foreign marriages. However, the U.S. government does recognize marriages that were legally binding in the country or state where they took place. This recognition applies to marriages conducted in any country around the world, as long as they adhere to the legal marriage laws of that location.

Step 2: Ensure Legal Compliance

Before proceeding with a marriage in another country, it’s crucial to research and understand the marriage laws and requirements of that specific location. Make sure the marriage is legally binding according to the local laws. This step is not only essential for the validity of your marriage but also for the immigration process.

Step 3: Navigating the Immigration Process

When going through the spouse visa process, U.S. immigration authorities will verify that your marriage is legally valid. This involves ensuring that your marriage license and certificate adhere to the marriage laws of the country where the marriage took place. The U.S. Department of State provides a valuable resource called the National Visa Center Reciprocity Table, which outlines the general marriage requirements for various countries.

Step 4: No National Registry Requirement

The good news is that you don’t need to go through a formal process to register your foreign marriage in the United States. Once you’re in the U.S. and possess a legally binding marriage from another country, it will be recognized both by the U.S. government and immigration authorities.

Step 5: Exceptions to Recognition

It’s important to note that while most legally binding marriages will be recognized in the United States, there are exceptions. For instance, marriages that contradict U.S. laws, such as polygamous marriages, won’t be recognized. Ensure that your marriage is in compliance with U.S. legal standards to avoid any potential issues.

Step 6: Additional Resources

For further information and guidance, the U.S. Department of State offers a comprehensive resource that explains the recognition of foreign marriages. If you’re considering recording your foreign marriage in the state where you’re currently residing, you can contact the Attorney General’s office to inquire about the process, although it’s not a formal requirement.


Remember, the goal is to ensure that your foreign marriage is legally binding according to the laws of the country where it occurred. Once this requirement is met, your marriage will be recognized by both the U.S. government and immigration authorities.

For more in-depth guidance on various immigration topics, you can explore the free Resource Center available at our website, Our aim is to provide valuable support to couples navigating the complexities of the immigration journey.

If you found this information helpful, feel free to leave a comment or ask any questions. We’re here to assist you on your immigration journey!


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