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How to get my Thai Marriage recognized in the USA (IL)


macgt3
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Hey guys,

 

I just got married in Thailand. We’ve been dating for 4 years. After countless visits and stays, I decided that it was time to lock it in. 

 

We just completed the entire process in Thailand, including having the marriage MFA-certified and authenticated by the US embassy in Bangkok. 

 

So my question is, what’s next?

 

I understand that “most states recognize the validity of legal marriages registered in Thailand. If you would like to register your marriage in the United States, you must contact the Attorney General in your state of residence to inquire about their specific documentary requirements.”

 

However, I haven’t been unable to get a straight answer about this from Illinois. What I would like to know is:

 

  1. Am I basically finished with the marriage process?
  2. Is this marriage recognized in IL?
  3. Should I hire a lawyer to start the US marriage visa process to bring her here? - Or is this pretty straightforward and something I can do easily by myself?

 

If anyone can shed some light, I would highly appreciate it. Lots of conflicting information about this all over the internet. 

 

Thanks in advance!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here I’m just thinking out loud……

 

Does the US Embassy authentication process provide adequate documentation for say, the USA Social Security administration?  I wonder if there is any need for state acceptance if the Feds recognize it.  

Edited by Tracyb
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We married in Bkk in 1988. For her visa, the Consulate accepted a photocopy of our Thai marriage certificate, along with a certified translation which I translated and typed myself, then asked a Thai friend in Missouri to "certify." I think, when it came time for her to apply for US citizenship, the same documents were accepted. We never registered with any state or local authority. It never came up in job applications, child birth, mortgage applications. US registration was never an issue. Can anyone in similar circumstances name an instance of a bureaucrat demanding proof of marriage registration? I can't. As far as I know, Missouri and Wisconsin considered us to be in a common law marriage, but married nonetheless. 

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    #1 & 2   Yes    As long as your marriage is legal and registered in the foreign country where you were married, the US Federal government will recognize it. Suppling the IRS with the required documentation, you can apply for a US Tax ID number (ITIN) for your wife. With an IRS ITIN your State will issue a State tax number.  I don't believe you are required to register a foreign marriage in any State unless maybe both parties were residents of that State and were married outside the US.

      

           

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Based on my current knowledge of your situation, the only way to have your marriage registered is to do it in the State where you are considered a resident. To get your wife to the USA to do this, you would need to apply for an 'immediate relative' visa which could take quite some time. Once the both of you are in the US, then you could have your marriage recognized in the State where you reside. The process for this varies from State to State.

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When I married my wife in the Philippines after the two year wait for a visa we came to the US and all I had to do was start listing her as my wife. I had already gotten a tax ID for her and with her green card  she was able to get a Social Security card. From there she went to work and that’s all it took. I never registered the marriage as such. 
I never used an attorney for any action with the immigrations department. The instructions can be a little confusing if you’re doing it yourself but it is quite possible. If you don’t feel comfortable certainly spend the money. At the very least they will make sure that the forms are correct. I wouldn’t look for her to have a visa in less than a year though and having a lawyer won’t speed it up. 

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3 hours ago, Magoo1945 said:

When I married my wife in the Philippines after the two year wait for a visa we came to the US and all I had to do was start listing her as my wife. I had already gotten a tax ID for her and with her green card  she was able to get a Social Security card. From there she went to work and that’s all it took. I never registered the marriage as such. 
I never used an attorney for any action with the immigrations department. The instructions can be a little confusing if you’re doing it yourself but it is quite possible. If you don’t feel comfortable certainly spend the money. At the very least they will make sure that the forms are correct. I wouldn’t look for her to have a visa in less than a year though and having a lawyer won’t speed it up. 

What type of visa did you obtain for your wife to go to the US?  I think you must have processed an 'immediate relative' visa for her to enter -- right? The fact that she has a green card does not mean your marriage is recognized in the US. She is entitled to the green card because of her visa status. You have to register your marriage in the State in which you reside to be legally married in the US. Marriage is regulated by each State not by the federal government.

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9 hours ago, pookiki said:

You have to register your marriage in the State in which you reside to be legally married in the US.

I don't know what you're talking about. That statement is nonsense. No one who moves to another state rushes to register in the new state "in which they reside." In my response above, I asked, "Can anyone in similar circumstances name an instance of a bureaucrat demanding proof of marriage registration? I can't." You're welcome to re-read my whole post. So, name a situation in which "registering" with a state matters. Several of us have pointed out that foreign marriages are recognized in the US, both by states and the US government, e.g. INS. Do you speak from first-hand experience or hearsay? Either way, you have misunderstood. 

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1 hour ago, LawrenceN said:

I don't know what you're talking about. That statement is nonsense. No one who moves to another state rushes to register in the new state "in which they reside." In my response above, I asked, "Can anyone in similar circumstances name an instance of a bureaucrat demanding proof of marriage registration? I can't." You're welcome to re-read my whole post. So, name a situation in which "registering" with a state matters. Several of us have pointed out that foreign marriages are recognized in the US, both by states and the US government, e.g. INS. Do you speak from first-hand experience or hearsay? Either way, you have misunderstood. 

While 'foreign' marriages may be recognized in the US for immigration and visa purposes, a foreign marriage does not constitute being legally married in the US. Each State regulates marriage requirements.  I am speaking from both personal experience and discussions with more than one immigration lawyer.  I am afraid that you don't understand the legal requirements of having a marriage recognized in the US when you marry abroad.  A visa from INS does not create a recognized marriage in the US.  All you have to do is google 'how do I legalize a foreign marriage in ____ State and see what you get.  If you don't want to listen to my opinions and advice, it's no skin off my nose.  Take care,  However, once you are married in one State, this marriage will be recognized by all other States because of reciprocity agreements. Obviously, you don't have to marry, again, just because you move from one State to another.

Edited by pookiki
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4 hours ago, LawrenceN said:

I don't know what you're talking about. That statement is nonsense. No one who moves to another state rushes to register in the new state "in which they reside." In my response above, I asked, "Can anyone in similar circumstances name an instance of a bureaucrat demanding proof of marriage registration? I can't." You're welcome to re-read my whole post. So, name a situation in which "registering" with a state matters. Several of us have pointed out that foreign marriages are recognized in the US, both by states and the US government, e.g. INS. Do you speak from first-hand experience or hearsay? Either way, you have misunderstood. 

Please see the section on validity of marriages abroad. image.thumb.png.54768ac871020c6ea89f9f27e1c0e240.png

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19 hours ago, pookiki said:

OK, and "blah, blah, blah... Contact the Attorney General of your state." Not much of an answer.  So you didn't read my first post, or answer my direct question. Give me one instance in which it would matter. Inheritance? Survivor benefits? Maybe, but being named as beneficiary or even as emergency contact at a workplace would carry some weight if contested. What does "registration" with a state mean? Oh, right, ask my state's Attorney General. And whatever he/she answers means nothing when your career takes you to another state. 

 

To the OP: If you're worried about registering your marriage with local authorities, by all means, go get'r'done at a courthouse. We never did, and never will, being happily retired in Chiang Mai, where I expect to live out my days. 

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