Do You Have To Have A Social Security Number To Marry In The United States If You’re From A Foreign Country?


If you’re from a foreign country and planning on marrying someone in the United States you’re not required to have a social security number in order to marry, however, if you plan to reside in the United States after your marriage, you’re going to want to become a United States citizen and thus you’ll need to apply for a social security number.

There are many contributing factors regarding visas and applications for marriage. While there is no requirement for the social security number, the visa and immigration status must be in proper order for the marriage to be valid. If the couple desire to reside in the United States they will want to have this proper documentation so that the foreign resident spouse can apply for their social security number as soon as possible. This entire process may take as few as three years or as long as ten years depending on the contributing factors.

Immigration Laws

According to immigration laws, there are several factors that will be used to determine United States Citizenship. These include the length of time you’ve been in the United States. As a spouse of a United States citizen, you become “an immediate relative”. This makes you eligible for an immigration visa (also referred to as a “green card”).

When a foreign citizen marries a United States resident or citizen, they are now referred to as a “preference relative”. This makes them eligible for their citizenship, however, this doesn’t take effect immediately. The new spouse will have to wait for a specified length of time which may be as long as three to five years depending on the specific laws and the dates from the beginning of the marriage to the date of filing for citizenship.

It’s also important to recognize that same-sex marriages are also allowed as long as the marriage is legal in the region that it took place. Not all countries recognize same-sex marriage so it’s important to ensure that if there is a same-sex marriage the couple has gone through all of the legal channels for the particular country that they reside in.

The Application Process

The entire social security card application process is long and very complex. It starts when the petitioner submits their petition for a visa to the United States. They must show the marriage is valid and request approval to proceed with their application. Sometimes this is done in one step other times it may require two separate steps with the accompanying documentation.

The case will be reviewed and the petitioner will have to attend an interview at the United States embassy or the consulate if they are still in their own country. It’s wise to have the United States spouse in attendance as well. This can help to determine the expedition of the process.

If the petitioner was in the country illegally, there are going to be some details that must be examined. This could be as simple as the person stayed beyond their visa time or that they were in the country illegally with no visa whatsoever. If this is the situation, even the fact that the petitioner is married to a United States citizen isn’t going to help their cause. They may be penalized and barred from entering the country from anywhere from three to ten years depending on the specific individual circumstances. It’s always wise to contact an attorney and do things right the first time in lieu of having to go through any penalty phases.

Hiring an immigration attorney can go far in helping to reduce any penalty phases and to ensure that the person can legally marry and reside in the United States with their spouse. There are many special circumstances regarding these immigration laws and the immigration attorney will understand these and be able to assist the couple in the validity of their marriage and residency.

It’s also worthy of note that entering the country with the specific intent of marrying to become a legal resident is considered to be fraud unless the process has been started ahead of time. It won’t help the cause to simply marry and hope that it will all work out. The laws in the United States are very strict on immigration and with good reason, the United States is trying to reduce the number of illegal aliens in residency in the country.

Spousal Rights Of United States Citizens

Applying for and receiving a green card in order to marry a United States citizen will help to expedite the process and allow the person to apply for their citizenship within three years after the time that the green card was approved. As long as the couple remain married and live together during that period of time.

Since the social security number cannot be given out until the person is a United States citizen, the couple won’t be required for the foreign citizen to have that social security number prior to the marriage, however, understanding the laws and regulations will go far in helping them to proceed in a lawful manner to ensure that the visa allows them to be married and reside together as husband and wife.

There are many different circumstances wherein a foreign citizen and a United States citizen marry. Often, these marriages are done outside of the United States and upon arrival to the United States the couple “renew” their vows before friends and family in the United States. Again, there is no need for the social security number as of yet, as long as the proper visas are obtained and the immigration authorities have approved all of the required paperwork for the marriage to be legal and valid.

Since immigration laws change it’s best to seek out the counsel of an immigration attorney if there are any questions regarding the legalities of marrying a foreign citizen. All of the proper visas and paperwork must be in order and the laws must be adhered to if the couple plan on residing in the United States.

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