Proxy Marriage for U.S. Immigration

Even though most see a Marriage as a church ceremony or a courthouse wedding, some have the question of whether a “Proxy Marriage” is a convenient option. There is no straight, Yes or No, answer for this question.

A proxy marriage occurs where one or both of the marrying couple are not present at the physical location of the ceremony. If you need an example of how this could be, imagine a computer screen where the spouse or spouses should be. Programs like Skype and FaceTime help make the experience a real-time occurrence.

Does USCIS Recognize Proxy Marriage?

Surprisingly, USCIS does recognize Proxy Marriage under INA § 101(a)(35), but only if two elements are present.

  • First, the Proxy Marriage must observe the “place-of-celebration” rule. Meaning, a marriage is valid for immigration purposes in cases where the marriage is valid under the law of the jurisdiction in which it is performed.
  • Second, the proxy marriage is only recognized by USCIS after the couple (married by proxy) consummate the relationship. Note: “Consummation” would require both spouses to be physically together after marrying by proxy.

How do I prove a Proxy Marriage?

The burden is on the Couple to prove that the proxy marriage is valid and that consummation occurred. The couple should attest in the immigration petition and application that the proxy marriage is a “recognized marriage” for immigration purposes. However, if the couple is deemed to have failed to successfully prove a valid marriage, the immigrant would be ineligible for further marriage-based green card processing, unless a USCIS recognizable marriage occurs.

Should I do a traditional marriage or a proxy marriage?

From a immigration attorney’s perspective, the easier path is to physically marry abroad or to have the marriage in the US. If a Proxy Marriage requires both couples to be together to consummate the relationship, then a church wedding or a courthouse, justice of the peace wedding, would be possible.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call Fickey Martinez Law Firm at (910) 526-0066 or email us at to set up a Consultation.


Notice: Our Law Firm does not assist in performing Proxy Marriages, nor can we refer you to a company that assists with proxy marriages. Our Immigration Law Firm only assists with Immigration filings to the United States.



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Tag: Proxy Marriage Immigration