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Save our wedding!

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enochtaylor31
11/11/2018 20:02 EST

My fiancé and I are running into a frustrating catch 22. Anyone willing to act as our wedding officiant, real or not, please let me know. I'll explain.

I applied for a fiance visa through USCIS back in April 2018. I dont anticipate the visa approval to wrap up for several more months. The stipulation for this sort of Visa is that we must marry within 90 days of here arrival here in the US. The issue is we want to have a wedding ceremony in December there in Guatemala for her friends and family, but no pastor or priest is willing to marry us without having an official civil wedding certificate.

So why not just marry her and change the visa from a fiance visa to a spouse visa? Well apparently changing the checked block on that form is just too much work. USCIS told me I would have to reinitiate the process completly. This means a whole other year of waiting to be together.

I am under contract with my job and wont be eligible to make the move there for 3 more years.

If anyone is willing to officiate our wedding, idealy in spanish, you would be saving a beautiful wedding. It wouldnt be official in any capacity but for our 60 guests, we want it to meet normal ceremony expectations.

Or if someone has experience with this and can offer up some good advice, I am all ears. Thank you so much!

kgriff
11/11/2018 22:04 EST

Hello enochtaylor31,

Yes, you have to have a civil wedding ceremony performed by an attorney in order for Guatemala to recognize the marriage as a valid one (Guatemala does not recognize church weddings as official weddings). It really is not hard to do; simply contact an attorney and present him/her with the necessary paperwork, usually both parties' birth certificates, police records, divorce decrees (if applicable), and copy of passports - all of which have to be certified by the secretary of state of the state in which they were issued if coming from the US. The civil wedding ceremony is pretty quick and can be arranged from the US if need be (I was able to arrange it while I was still in the US). If you'd like the name and number for the attorney I used, send me a private message and I'll forward you the information.

As far as USCIS goes, yeah, it's an entirely different visa so it's an entirely new application and process. If I were you, I'd get legally married in Guatemala through an attorney, then do the church wedding. Then I'd go back to the US with her and register the marriage there. But, as you said, her visa application would take some months to process. It's definitely not an easy process on the US side.

Good luck!

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enochtaylor31
11/12/2018 08:58 EST

Yeah, that's the only official option I can see as well. Getting married there and then reapplying would put us back an additional 9 months of waiting due to USCIS and NVS processing on the US side.

If anyone knows of a pastor or anyone well spoken and willing to conduct our ceremony without paperwork, that would be a life saver. Even if it is just someone who has seen a lot of weddings and knows all the right words. I'll take whatever I can get to give her a wedding ceremony that isn't lacking such a critical piece.

I just need someone to stand up front in a suit and say do you? you do. do you? you do. with this ring I thee wed. now kiss. hahaha.

Paulo69
11/14/2018 01:01 EST

I would get legally married in Guatemala (done by a lawyer or justice, not a priest or pastor), then legally married in the US after you are joined in the United States.

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