Courthouse wedding

Should We Have A Courthouse K1 Visa Wedding?

Planning a wedding is hard enough but try doing it on a strict time limit of 90 days! This is the requirement for the K1 fiance(e) visa and many couples opt to go the courthouse route. Having a quick ceremony and then dinner at a nice restaurant can be a great option for you. You may also want to plan a big wedding at a later date when time isn’t an issue.

What ever you decide, make sure that you both are happy with it. Remember, the wedding doesn’t make a good marriage; it’s what you do after that matters.

Does a Courthouse Wedding Affect Adjustment of Status?

You may be wondering whether a courthouse wedding can affect your chances of approval for a green card. The answer is no. Whether you decide to elope or have a lavish wedding, your chances of approval are the same. The most important factor to ensure approval is the amount of evidence you submit. So it’s really up to you which way you go with your wedding plans.

When you are ready to apply for adjustment of status, you should include a copy of your marriage certificate and some photos from your wedding day. Photos aren’t required and I know a few couples who were approved with no photos at all at this stage. If you are concerned that a simple courthouse wedding will look like you aren’t putting in the effort, don’t be! The adjudicator is trained to only consider if your marriage is legal.

In some cases you may not even need a witness to be present! Your actual wedding can be very flexible and the only requirement is that it is legal in your state. The hard part comes when you have to provide evidence of a bona fide marriage. Start gather leases, mortgage papers, utilities and cable bills now and put them in a folder. So when the time comes to apply for adjustment of status, you will be prepared.

Benefits of a Courthouse Wedding

So why do couples get married at the courthouse? It’s simple: time and money! USCIS gives K1 fiance’s 90 days to marry their US partner and that isn’t a lot of time.

Planning as big wedding can take up to a year or more so it makes sense that you may opt for a courthouse wedding instead. There is a good chance that the family of the K1 holder won’t be able to make it to the US for the wedding too. This can make the wedding one sided if you decide on a large wedding with all of your family and friends there.

Benefits of a courthouse wedding:

Save money

You will only need to pay the application fee which is very small. Then once you are approved for your green card and are able to work, you can save for your big lavish wedding. Some couples decide to not spend money on the wedding and instead save to buy their own home. It really depends on what is really important to you as a couple.

Think about it, you have already spend thousands of dollars during the immigration process – it’s nice when you can reduce your cost as much as possible. Of course, this may not sit well with all bride-to-be so make sure she is also on board before you make the decision to forgo a traditional wedding.

Save time

You can get married the day after you land in the US and then apply for AOS immediately. Doing so will allow you to obtain your green card faster and start participating in society (such as work and school). In my case, I wanted to apply for adjustment of status as soon as I could because I knew there were would a waiting period of 3-6 months. Luckily, my case was approved within 4 months and I had my green card shortly after my interview.

Time to plan the wedding

By getting married at the courthouse, there is no rush to plan the big wedding later. Trying to plan a big wedding in 90 days can be very stressful, so why not get married at the courthouse and plan the wedding over the next year? There are many couples who opt for this plan. Additionally, the extra time allows you to save enough money to fund your wedding and honeymoon – that is, if your parents aren’t able to help pay for it.

Starting Your Marriage on Solid Ground

The wedding is just one aspect of your future with your new spouse. Now the hard part begins. You have probably heard of the statistic that over half of all marriages will end in a divorce, but you can avoid this. Marriage is not always easy and it takes a lot of open communication to resolve disputes. What is important is that both of you are willing to work through any issues that might arise.

Your marriage is doomed if either of you have given up and that is why communication is so important. Add immigration paperwork into this situation and it’s surprising that long distance marriages actually work!

There will be problems down the road: job loss, an illness, having a family, money troubles. This is a normal part of life, however, your reaction to them will shape your marriage. You have been through so much to get here. Remind yourself that there is a reason that you and your spouse are finally together. It was due to your determination and love.

Of course, not all marriages will be happy forever and sometimes you have to call it quits. In these situations you may not be able to just walk away. There will be consequences for the US citizen and the immigration pertaining to immigration. Learn about your obligations under the affidavit of support to your immigrant spouse. If you are the green card holder, you must continue to file to removal of conditions as soon as the divorce is final.

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