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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