Requirements for US recognition of my marriage in Taiwan?

Wow, that’s just beyond ridiculous.

Agreed. Ridiculous. I’ve heard this story before on Forumosa, where a non-Taiwanese presents their Taiwan marriage certificate as proof of marriage, and the Taiwan government tells them to get it “authenticated” in their home country.

You can’t do any such thing in the U.S. No government agency will stamp or otherwise do anything with a foreign marriage certificate.

I guess their intent is to prevent bigamous marriages. They used to take a notarized affidavit from US citizens for that purpose, and the AIT website still says they will, but I’ve been hearing more indications that that’s not true anymore?

In Germany there is a process to register overseas marriage locally and it is called ‘Re-notarization of a marriage’ (Nachbeurkundung einer Eheschließung).

It is quite expensive to translate and get everything properly notarized. Like 300 :euro: expensive…

A lot of requirements are making a marriage in Taiwan unnecessarily expensive. It puts a huge burden on the foreigners who want to marry. I see way too much scrutiny applied to foreigners to prove they are not already married.

1 Like

Without hunting down all the old posts, I do remember one poster on forumosa says they did it this way (affidavit stamped by AIT), and others have said they did something ridiculous such as getting a second marriage license in the United States so they could bring it back to Taiwan. If a US citizen was previously divorced in the US, that can be presented to Taiwan authorities as proof of unmarried status. My frustration is with the standard or requirement being all over the place, and not making much sense.

It could be one of those things where it just depends on which government employee you talk to on whatever day.

But the United States has no central registry of marriages, and no standardized or formal way to have a foreign marriage recognized or authenticated.

A Taiwan or other foreign marriage certificate is recognized in the United States in the following situations / examples. If a person files for divorce in the United States, and the parties disagree as to whether they were legally married, one can use the Taiwan marriage certificate as evidence in their case. A judge will likely recognize that as a valid marriage. Also, if one wishes to gain a benefit from the government such as immigration benefits or a green card, or if a person was to claim a benefit for their spouse such a spousal health insurance coverage, then the Taiwan marriage certificate serves as proof and is accepted by insurance companies and USCIS. In all of these examples the Taiwan marriage certificate is accepted as proof of valid marriage. But in no case is the Taiwan marriage certificate certified, authenticated, or filed with any registry.

EDIT for legal professionals: of course there is a process of “authentication” at trial, when an attorney must “lay the foundation” for introduction of evidence. That’s beyond the scope of this discussion, and has nothing to do with a regular person trying to get their paperwork stamped and organized for a Visa or other administrative process.

That is my understanding, too. The US state department site says,

" Validity of Marriages Abroad

If you get married abroad and need to know if your marriage will be recognized in the United States and what documentation may be needed, contact the office of the Attorney General of your state of residence in the United States."

As fifielt wrote after contacting several state Attorney General offices:

I can confirm. The attorney general does not have authority to declare whether a marriage valid or invalid. At most, the Attorney General is an attorney who can give a legal opinion, but only a judge can make the legal decision that a marriage is either invalidated, or must be recognized as valid.

In the absence of a lawsuit or a judicial decision, a marriage certificate or marriage license issued by another state or country is presumed to be valid unless challenged by someone else in a court of law.

I think the language on the state department website is just a red herring or distraction. That’s the feds telling people “don’t bother us, go look at your state system of laws.”

Just wanted to mention that you’ll want to start the greencard / i-130 process about 1 to 1.5 years before you intend to move back.

We applied for my wife last July and are still waiting for the US part to be completed (estimated 12 - 18 months) before they send it to Taiwan for her to go in and have the interview.

Depends on the purpose of your move. If it’s for a new job or job transfer it is better to get the offer in hand and apply for processing of i-130 at AIT under “exceptional circumstances”. Then there’s certainty the process can be completed within ~2 months by the foreign service posted in Taiwan instead of waiting for USCIS bureaucrats in America.

(see thread I linked to above)

1 Like