Marriage & Migration


OK, this is an odd question.

My fiancee and I are having real difficulty avoiding temptation. The Biblical answer to this is that we should marry, and as soon as possible.

The only problem with this is that we live in different countries, and have already filed for an immigration visa so that Ican go to her country and become legally married. If we marry in the meantime:
a) we won’t be able to be together right away
b) we will be rejected for our visa, and we won’t be able to live together in her country ever.

I have heard that in the past, couples used to meet the priest at the church doors, and the priest could declare the couple’s union, no need for a big legal ceremony.

My question is, is it still possible to marry in the eyes of the Church without also marrying in the eyes of the state. i.e. could we marry for God now and marry for Uncle Sam in 6 months’ time once the visa’s been processed?

If not, any other advice would be appreciated.


In the US the witness of a religious marriage ceremony is also the official witness for the state, so there is no such thing as a valid Church wedding that is not a valid civil wedding. You would have to research the laws in your jurisdiction. In general, in countries that do not recognize a cleric as a marriage witness and which require a civil ceremony, Catholics are required to exchange vows before a priest after the civil ceremony before they are permitted to live as man and wife.


I agree, find out the laws in her country.

I have a friend (US citizen) who married a german man in Germany. They had to have two ceremonies, one at the courthouse, and one at the Church. However she did not have the issues you have, so they had them both on the same day.

Good Luck!:thumbsup:


She’s in America, I’m in the UK, we could also easily cross over into Canada.

From what you’ve said though, a civil marriage always has to happen at the same time. Is there no provision for the ‘church door’ thing anymore?


How hard is it to “avoid temptation” when you live in different countries? Just wondering…

That would have made it a lot easier when my dh and I were engaged! LOL


No. This is not an option.

As for temptation, distance certainly takes care of most of it. On visits, do not stay in the same place for sleeping, and find an accountablity couple-- a person/married couple to whom you are accountable for your actions together. They can even act as a “chaperone”.


Ok - you need to slooooow down and figure out your priorities here first. Getting married because you can’t control yourself is not the answer. And trying to circumvent the immigration process is a crime that can get you banned from the US for up to 10 years.

My husband immigrated to the US from England on a K-1 fiancé visa last year. It takes a long time to do this and do it right - we are still waiting for some of his paperwork now that he is here. But it can be done. We remained chaste until the day of our wedding, which was about two years after we met. You are thousands of miles apart - use this to your advantage to get to know each other as individuals and don’t focus so much on the sex, or lack thereof. That will all come in time once you are married.

I strongly suggest you start researching your immigration options at - there is no better site out there for excellent information on the subject. We did it all without a lawyer, though that is a personal decision you will have to make.

It is extremely expensive to immigrate. It’s more than just a plane ticket, it will cost at least a few thousand dollars for filing fees, air fare, and shipping your belongings overseas, and this is doing it yourself without a lawyer, which would add many thousands to the final tally.

And finally, but most importantly, you need to consider that if this is the girl you wish to spend the rest of your life with, to make your wife and to bear your children, do you really want to risk the possibility of sin on her immortal soul because you can’t wait till marriage to have sex? If you truly love her that much, you will wait for her.

Please visit the site above, and if you have any questions regarding the process I’ll be happy to help as much as I can.



Liza, thank you very much for your advice. And thanks to all of you. We have talked and talked endlessly, and are as sure as anybody can be that we want to be husband and wife, and start a family together. I was NOT trying to circumvent the immigration process. I realise that we will have to wait for the US government to give me permission to enter the United States in order to have a civil marriage with my fiancee.

The problem we have is that we are dependent on getting the OK from civil authorities before we can marry. As the Church teaches that marriage was initiated by a commandment of God and dictated by Natural Law, surely the civil authorities don’t have the power to forbid two people who are called to the vocation of Christian marriage from receiving that sacrament. I am surprised that the Church doesn’t acknowledge this in these kind of circumstances.


Why do you assume you need to enter the US to marry her?


Basically, what I need is a marriage that is marriage in the eyes of the Church, but that the US government will not consider to be a valid marriage.

This is because we have already applied for a K-1 visa for me to enter the USA in order to marry. If I’m already (legally) married, then the visa application will be rejected.


Looks like you need to wait and see if you get the visa, but you can always marry in a different country if they don’t give that visa to you. There are international treaties for that. Of course (or maybe not of course but still), international treaties don’t support going to a different country to circumvent own country’s regulations of marriage, but just the fact you applied for a visa that wasn’t granted doesn’t mean the US authorities hate your idea of marrying your fiancee. They just don’t want you on their ground, that’s all. You don’t need to give a dime about their perceived approval or lack of it. Just get her married to you in whatever way is legal and be done with it. :wink: If you are to live in a different country with her, you don’t need anything to do with the US (apart maybe from a paper saying she’s fit to marry under her own law) but only the country where you live. If you can afford it, talk to a lawyer.


There is no such thing - give up on this, it’s not going to happen.

This is because we have already applied for a K-1 visa for me to enter the USA in order to marry. If I’m already (legally) married, then the visa application will be rejected.

You will not only be rejected, you can be barred from entering the country for 10 years.

I’m telling you - just follow the rules, stop crabbing about them, and just do it. It takes a long time, it stinks, it’s expensive. No one loves immigration, trust me. But it’s called doing it right, and having patience and faith that everything will work out for you.

With all due respect to those on this site, this is NOT the place to be asking immigration questions. Your questions about the Church have been answered, now it’s time to go to the visa journey site and get your immigration questions answered there. That’s not going to happen here.

You CAN do this!! Just be patient and learn the process. It can and does happen all the time! We are prime examples - he’s here, we are married, and together and happy. But we had to wait, just like everyone else who wants to go through this process.



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