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A marriage must have been valid at the time and place it was performed for it to be recognized as valid by the United States. The validity of a marriage is generally determined by the law of the place where the marriage was performed or celebrated.
The USCIS always takes into account the following requirements when the alien wishes to enjoy the immigration benefits from amarriage:
Each party to the marriage must have been legally able to marry;
Any prior divorces of either party must have been valid; and
The marriage must be legally recognized in the country in which it was performed.
Any marriage not recognized as legal or recognized by civil authorities will not be acceptable for immigration benefits. In a traditional arranged marriage, a marriage organized and decided by the families of the parties involved, those marrying may have little to no interaction or correspondence prior to the actual marriage. Although this would normally be against USCIS policies, traditional arranged marriages are exceptions to the policy due to the traditional and cultural significance of the marriage ceremony. Petitioners must emphasize the ceremony to the USCIS in order to transfer benefits to their new or soon to be spouse.
(Updated 10/8/2012 by AG)
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