Fiancee and I will have to live together prior to Catholic Church marriage


Hey everyone!

I have a somewhat unique situation I’d like input on.

I met my current fiancee about 1 1/2 years ago over facebook, she is Brazilian and we started dating when she came to the States on a tourist visa over a year ago. Now, we’ve never lived together, but we have had pre-marital sex and used contraception (to both of which I’ve admitted in the sacrament of Confession and done penance).

She is baptized Roman Catholic but hasn’t received Confirmation. I fell in love with the Roman Catholic Church when I fell in love with her, and after talking with a minister, turns out I was actually baptized Roman Catholic too! Never raised in it, however. So at this point I’ve gone through RCIA and will receive my Confirmation and first Eucharist this Saturday.

Since I do want to marry her, and her me, and we want to raise a family together, I started a fiancee K-1 visa, which should lead to her coming to the United States later in the Fall/Winter this year. The issue is that this visa requires the beneficiary to marry within 90 days of entering the US, and this is not enough time for Catholic Marriage preparation. As such, my plan is to have a short Civil ceremony immediately just to start the process of her obtaining her permanent residence, and then going to talk to my local Catholic priest with her about marriage.

Another issue is that we will have to live together prior to being married in the eyes of the church. This is because 1. I cannot afford to rent a second place for her to stay, and she cannot work for a while after entering the US, and 2. Her English ability is getting better, but still very limited, and she would be incredibly lonely and without anyone if we were to live separately.

I understand that the Catholic church very much frowns upon co-habitation prior to marriage. How much of a problem would this be, given the circumstances surrounding it? Would it be grounds for refusal of the Sacrament of Matrimony?

Thank you!!



Talk to a priest about it. Could she stay with your family or a family within the parish ? I lived with my fiancé twelve weeks before I got married. This was before I converted tho and I confessed it when I came into the church but try to avoid that if possible



My son and his fiancé were in the same situation when they were planning to marry. They worked with the diocese ( in their case, in the US), and arranged the pre marriage meetings and online or electronic sessions, which were readings, question/answers, and discussion. There were a few meetings with a sponsoring couple. At the same time they and parents were planning a Catholic wedding.

The ultimate stumbling block wasn’t the Church, but the state and final approval of the visa. It worked out fine in the end.



Another poster had recently post about the same visa problem and marriage preparation.
You can look at his post and answers, or contact him here:

Anyway, you should make an apointment with your parish priest /rectory to know how a marriage can be planned in your situation.



Thank you for pointing this thread out to me. The issue with having a marriage in her country is that the longest I could stay due to my work schedule/time permitted off is a week, not enough time for even a civil marriage license (30 days) let alone Catholic marriage prep.

1 Like


While there may be some hurdles to figure out. You do not HAVE to live together before marriage. That is something that you are choosing. Please speak to a priest.



You should actually go make an appointment now to discuss your situation with a priest before you get married. He will be able to advise you on the best course of action.



Yes, go visit with the priest where you are taking RCIA.

No, it won’t be grounds to refuse matrimony.

I have prepared couples before long distance via Skype and such, for example with deployed soldiers. FOCCUS, the marriage prep program used in almost every diocese in the world, is available in Portuguese.

This can all be worked out.

I will pray for you both,
Deacon Christopher



As your priest to check with the Bishop to see if an exception can be made so that you can have a Sacramental Wedding within the 90day time frame mandated by the government.

I’m sure your situation is relatively common - immigration situations, military deployment or one of the partners are off at University, so your Diocese probably already has a plan in place.



Ok, I understand.
The Original poster of this threat have said later in the reply that his parish can organized a marriage within the 90 days licence.

Of course every parish can have his own rules.



Rhetorical question: Is it possible that you are seeking justification for living out a near occasion of sin?
As to living arrangements, there are always alternatives. Do you love your future spouse enough to undergo (temporary) inconvenience? What about the state of her soul?

Just points to ponder.

1 Like


Just thinking outside of the box here, would it be possible to have an older family member, such as a parent or an aunt, to come and live with the two of you temporarily, until the Church marriage can take place? Maybe set up separate sleeping arrangements and establish the kind of modesty proper to two unmarried people (since you are not married in the Eyes of God unless you are married in the Church)? That way you would be “living together” but not alone in a situation where you would have the temptation to be unchaste.

I can tell you, from similar though not identical experiences (i.e., marrying a foreign national and then obtaining a spousal visa), that immigration officials take a dim view of married people not actually living together. They see it as evidence that it is a sham “green card” marriage, and they are entitled to check on you. They told us they would, I said stop by anytime, we’ll be glad to see you, and they never showed up. But they can.

And of course, you need to check with the church to see if, in your circumstances, you are justified in obtaining a civil marriage before being married in the Church. (Technically we did that, but it was in a country that required dual ceremonies, and the civil wedding took place in the morning and the church wedding in the afternoon.)

1 Like


strictly speaking, the two of you living under the same roof isn’t sinful if you stay chaste. but for most people in a relationship, this can present quite aq near occasion of sin

given your history, it would not be advisable to do so since that is a sin you have already fallen in to before, so find an alternative

talk to your priest, I’m sure they can figure something out. I doubt you are the first person who has had this issue



How is 90 days not long enough for catholic marriage preparation?? It took my now husband and I 2-3 weeks ( we also had no preist in our town/district at the time he had to drive an hour away to marry us in the church we chose ) if you really want to marry this woman 90 days is long enough



Based on what I’ve read on Catholic church websites, almost all parishes require 6 months prep time, some as long as a year. The shortest I’ve read is 4 months…



Talk to the Immigration Office at your Diocese AND to your pastor. There are situations where the pre-marital process may be shortened.

MUCH better to start off on the right foot!



This is why an appointment with the pastor is VITAL.



Yes, exactly, make an appointment with your pastor right away. The standard in most places is 6 months, BUT they can make an exception. I know of three different couples in my acquaintance who had engagements significantly shorter than 6 months. (One was because of military assignments; the others I am not sure of the reason. But it shows it that exceptions can be granted.)

1 Like

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit