My girlfriend and I want to get married. But we are not sure exactly the best way to go about it. We are wondering if we get married in her country if it will be legal here or do we need to sign a marriage contract in both places? Also, is it legal for her to apply for a tourist visa to come back and get married or will that mess us up when we go to get her residence? We were looking at a fiance visa but it seemed it is harder to get accepted for is that true?
If we get married in Paraguay will it take a long time until she can come to the US? Will it be until she actually gets her residency or will she be able to come sooner?
Where to get married is a personal decision, but if you marry her in Paraguay, it will take about 6 months to bring her to the US.
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Carl Shusterman, Esq.
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(213) 394-4554 x0 Mr. Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 35 years of immigration experience. 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. Shusterman's statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.
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My colleague is correct. You would be better off getting married in Colorado first through a civil ceremony conducted at one of the courts and then have another marriage late on in Paraguay to help stave off some of the immigration consequences. There is really no such thing as a marriage contract. There is the marriage license, which you can actually authenticate yourselves in Colorado without even having a judge or minister preside or even declare yourselves common law married. However, you will have better proof for immigration if you have an actual ceremony in the more traditional way.
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You can get married in either place - you do not need to do both. The question is if you do get married abroad - how long are you prepared to be apart. The process for permanent residence and obtaining an immigrant visa can take 8 months or longer. You may also want to talk to an immigration attorney prior to her departure to ensure she we will have no issues of admission and the risk of applying for a B-2 visitor visa once you are both married. Your options are essentially if you get married in the USshe may be eligible to adjust her status in the US or if you get married abroad and bring her to the US on an immigrant visa.