Entering Into a Legally Valid Marriage and obtaining the documents

Obtaining Documentation of a Valid Marriage in Haiti

No matter where you marry, you will need to obtain a certificate that convinces the U.S. immigration authorities that it was legally recognized in the state or country where it took place. Below are some tips on doing that.


If you have married, or plan to get married in your fiancé or spouse's home country, you will first need to look into Haiti's requirements for legal marriage.

According to information provided by the U.S. consulate, Haitian marriages require that you first visit the Civil Registrar in the area where you plan to hold the wedding, in order to present the appropriate documents and materials and make an appointment for the marriage ceremony. You will need to bring:

  • proof of identity, such as a passport
  • a list of at least two potential witnesses
  • the results of a blood test performed at the "Institut du Bien Etre Social" (this is sometimes waived for U.S. citizens)
  • an "Acte de Marriage Civil," which you've bought from the Bureau des Contributions
  • your birth Certificates
  • if either of you has been previously married, certified copies of the relevant divorce or death certificates.

The appointment for the marriage ceremony will be set within approximately 15 days (two Sundays must pass before the ceremony).

The Acte de Marriage Civil may be authenticated by the U.S. Consular Section after the civil ceremony for a fee. This will help make sure that USCIS accepts the document as genuine.

Obtaining a valid certificate of your marriage is critical for purposes of U.S. immigration. The U.S. government keeps track of what documents are considered legally valid from each country, Haiti included, and will reject yours if it doesn't come from the proper source. Check the State Department's "Country Reciprocity Schedule" to get further details on what documents from Haiti it considers valid. (Choose Haiti from the menu, then scroll down the page to the section on "Marriage Certificates.")

Obtaining Documentation of a Valid Marriage in the United StatesIf you will hold your wedding in the U.S., you need to follow the laws of the state where you marry. For a summary, see "Marriage Laws in Your State." You will need to obtain a marriage certificate from a local government office. A church certificate, for example, is not enough.

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At Which U.S. Consulate in Haiti the Interview Will Be Held

The U.S. currently has only one embassy in Haiti, which is located in Port au Prince and handles both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas.

You will be given instructions (and eventually, an appointment notice) when your case is transferred to the embassy in Port au Prince, and can also check the embassy's website for information.

If your spouse happens to be living in a different country, other than Haiti, the consulate there would likely be the one to handle the case.

Procedures If Your Spouse Is Already in the U.S.

If your spouse initially came to the U.S. on a nonimmigrant (such as on a fiancé, student, or tourist visa), and either you are a U.S. citizen or your spouse is still in valid status, he or she can apply to adjust status in the United States. The main form for this is an I-485. The two of you will attend an interview at one of USCIS's field offices.

Information about USCIS locations or service centers can be found at its website, www.uscis.gov.

Just be sure your spouse didn't commit visa fraud by using the nonimmigrant visa specifically to enter the U.S. and apply for a green card – see "Risks of Entering the U.S. as a Tourist, Then Applying for Marriage- Based Green Card" for details.)

If, however, your spouse entered the U.S. without inspection or by using a fake visa, or you are a permanent resident rather than a citizen, your situation is more complicated than this article can address. You may have difficulty obtaining a green card for your spouse, though it is not impossible. See an immigration attorney for details or if you have any questions about whether you qualify to adjust status.

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