Please help! My boyfriend and I are unsure if this is morally acceptable


Hi everyone!

My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over a year and care about each other very much but we are not ready for marriage.

He is from New Zealand and I am from the USA. We want to live in the USA legally without getting married. One option is finding an engineering company to sponsor him, but his chances are very slim because he doesn’t have a lot of work experience and it would cost a lot of money.

Something else that came to our mind today was the possibility of getting married with the Justice of Peace so he could live and work legally in the same city as I. Obviously, this marriage wouldn’t be seen as “valid” in the Catholic Church and we wouldn’t live together and still treat each other as boyfriend and girlfriend. Obviously, we are going to speak with our Priest, but just wanted to ask others opinions as well. Do you think it is morally right and acceptable?

Thanks in advance!


Marriage “in name only” for immigration is totally
against the law. He might not know that - but you need to recognize it.
You are the citizen who would be put at risk.


Are you going to get married to each other at some point? I beleive you could sponsor him to come on a fiance’ visa…then get married in Church.

If you don’t intend on getting married ever, what you are considering would be fraud. The government expects you to get married, and live together for a number of years. You would have to lie.

Here’s some info…


Yes, we will definitely get married in a few years! We just aren’t ready for kids right now.

Thanks for your reply!


Unfortunately, you have to get married within 90 days on the fiance visa.


If we definitely plan on getting married in the Catholic Church in a few years, is it still fraud? We truly want to be with each other!


[quote="JessicaKelly, post:6, topic:253519"]
If we definitely plan on getting married in the Catholic Church in a few years, is it still fraud? We truly want to be with each other!


Defrauding the government is defrauding the government.
It's really really really simple.

Just as any illegal immigrant and his co-conspirator citizen could be arrested ...
the very same applies to you. You really know that, don't you? It's black and white.
Also it is a HUGE issue these days. You should know that too.




A few people have mentioned the legal issue but I thought I would add that, even though intentions can be really good from the start (i.e. really wanting to get married at some point down the road) circumstances can change and sometimes lenghtly living together can put a strain on a relationship, especially where the couple desires marriage but can't get married due to circumstances. Catholic engagement and marriage has a lot of responsiblity (i.e. avoiding cohabitation, being open to life, etc) that isn't often present with the "easy" option of the civil marriage. However, praying about it can really help strengthen your relationship and help you understand that it is worth the wait if you have found the right person. Mabye it would be helpful to talk to a Priest or attend a couple's retreat at some point? It may help bring clarity to some of these issues. :)

I was in a long-distance, long-term relationship like that once where we wanted to get married but just didn't have the means because of work, etc. It was just tempting to elope and then worry about the sacramental marriage later, but looking back I am REALLY glad that it didn't happen that way because it would have been disastrous for us both emotionally!

Hang in there, it's tough but giving in and compromising your values is often tougher in the long run.


You’re very welcome, Jess.

Since you’re living out of the country as a student
and are also studying the Catholic faith, your
life is already jam-packed without worries about
how to accomodate the young man. Yes?

God bless you.


How about a student visa? Doe he have any graduate courses he would like to take?

Or perhaps employment with a New Zealand company with a branch in the US, then he can be transferred to?



I think you’re producing EXTRA brain power
since it’s your birthday today. Good going!!!

Very impressive.



The INS will want proof that you are living has husband as wife for a number of years. You won’t be able to do that.


[quote="catharina, post:12, topic:253519"]

I think you're producing EXTRA brain power
since it's your birthday today. Good going!!!

Very impressive.





Thank you so much for your feedback, everyone! All advice is welcome!!

We certainly agree with speaking with a Priest! We are actually going to a 10 day Catholic Camp in New Zealand in January so that will give us a lot of time to pray and learn :slight_smile:

He isn’t particularly keen on going back to university, but it’s not really an option as international tuition is so expensive :frowning: Good idea, though!!

Will look into companies in NZ and USA :))

Thanks so much again, everyone!


DH and I got married civilly for immigration reasons (but didn’t live together until the church wedding). He was here on a student visa which was about to expire so we got civilly married just to get the paperwork in process, but we got married in the church within five months. And it’s a really good thing because you will not be able to pass the INS exam unless you are living together. They ask very personal questions like “what birthmarks or scars does your partner have and where are they on his/her body?”

Dealing with the U.S. immigration system has been a nightmare for us. I’m so sorry it’s something you have to go through. If you are already sure you want to get married, I would just wait a bit longer and then do the whole thing at once, the right way. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have if you want to send me a private message. Me made our decisions under the guidance of a priest and a lawyer.


Am I wrong that you could marry in the Catholic Church by “pro cura”?


Not entirely - he could be banned from entering the United States if found out.

So is this a sex thing? You are afraid to have sex because of the possibility of pregnancy? Just trying to understand.

When my husband and I did this five years ago it was only 30 days for a K-1 visa. Been there done that. Make sure you know the law.

Yes. It is fraud to “marry” only for the purpose of immigration. The INS does not care what your intentions are down the road.

You need to join and learn about your options. The site, especially the message forum, was invaluable to me while going through this process ourselves when my husband came here from England.



[quote="Schieffelin, post:16, topic:253519"]
They ask very personal questions like "what birthmarks or scars does your partner have and where are they on his/her body?"


Totally off the subject-sort of but struck me as funny. I've been married to my husband for 20 years and I'm pretty sure he doesn't have any birthmarks or scars. Random freckles/moles scattered but I couldn't say exactly where.


Sorry but what is “pro cura”?

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