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Marriage Certificate from Church Enough to File for Green Card for Someone on K1 Visa

Location: Fresno, CA

I came to Fresno, California 2 months ago on a K1 visa. My husband has been delaying the plan to get married since I have only 90 days before my K1 visa expires. After long discussions we have set up marriage date for 8/15/16 in a Church. My to be husband says that we Do Not need to apply for Marriage License or get the Marriage Registered before the ceremony takes place in the church. And he further claims that the Marriage Certificate from the Priest of the church should be sufficient to attach along with the papers when filing for my Temporary Green Card. Please advice and clarify if filling for Marriage License is a must thing before we get married in the church and do we have to obtain the Marriage Certificate from the County Clerks office or the Marriage certificate from Church is sufficient to send with other documents to Immigration when filling for my Green Card.

You require a marriage license and to register the marriage with the county recorder in CA. Below is the statute. here is the link:…

400. Marriage may be solemnized by any of the following who is of the age of 18 years or older:

420. A priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination. No particular form for the ceremony of marriage is required for solemnization of the marriage, but the parties shall declare, in the presence of the person solemnizing the marriage and necessary witnesses, that they take each other as husband and wife.

421. Before solemnizing a marriage, the person solemnizing the marriage shall require the presentation of the marriage license. If the person solemnizing the marriage has reason to doubt the correctness of the statement of facts in the marriage license, the person must be satisfied as to the correctness of the statement of facts before solemnizing the marriage. For this purpose, the person may administer oaths and examine the parties and witnesses in the same manner as the county clerk does before issuing the license.

422. The person solemnizing a marriage shall make, sign, and endorse upon or attach to the marriage license a statement, in the form prescribed by the State Department of Health Services, showing all of the following: (a) The fact, date (month, day, year), and place (city and county) of solemnization. (b) The names and places of residence of one or more witnesses to the ceremony. (c) The official position of the person solemnizing the marriage, or of the denomination of which that person is a priest, minister, rabbi, or member of the clergy. (d) The person solemnizing the marriage shall also type or print the person’s name and address.

423. The person solemnizing the marriage shall return the marriage license, endorsed as required in Section 422, to the county recorder of the county in which the license was issued within 10 days after the ceremony.

424. At the request of, and for, either party to a marriage, the person solemnizing the marriage shall issue a marriage certificate showing the facts specified in Section 422.

Mr. Smith is an attorney with over 25 years of immigration experience with complex immigration issues and successful filings. His response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known to him. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law to review all the facts in your case in order to receive advice specific to your case. Mr. Smith’s statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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