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warning for international couples


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#1 KJT1985

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    Posted 07 January 2010 - 10:13 PM

    It's 47 days until our wedding. We just found out that *most Jamaican resorts won't do a symbolic ceremony. You MUST either do a legal wedding or provide proof of a marriage license for a vow renewal.

    My fiance is Canadian, i'm American and we both live in the states (he has a work visa). He is going to get a green card once we get married. After we booked my fiance talked to an immigration lawyer and found out that we can't get married outside of the states if he wants a green card (looks like a scam or something) AND once we apply for a marriage license he can't LEAVE the states for 6-9 months (some family emergency/event exceptions you have to apply for). So like I said, we're 47 days out from our wedding and i'm just now finding out we have no options for a ceremony at the resort (Breezes Runaway Bay). I'm calling the wedding coordinator in the morning to talk to her. I don't care if they pull a waiter off duty and tell him to read the script I wrote. We have 30 other people going down there and something needs to be worked out! Even if they still let us use the WC, chairs, and get the free cake (which is all we were getting out of the deal anyway) - or heck, I don't even need the WC!

    So this is our fault for not checking into green card requirements BEFORE making wedding plans. I saw alot of resorts offering symbolic ceremonies and I assumed this was something all resorts offered (seems silly not to). But apparently this isn't the case in Jamaica, not just BRB.

    I just wanted to warn other international couples so they can be checking into things themselves and avoiding this conflict right before their wedding. I'm so panicked right now.

    #2 SuzyQ76

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      Posted 07 January 2010 - 10:33 PM

      OMG, I'm so sorry to hear about this added stress to you!
      Hopefully once you talk to your WC in the morning they'll be able to work something out for you considering your circumstances! I'll keep my fingers and toes crossed for you!
      Make sure you let us know how everything went, keep positive, right now there is nothing you can do, and like you said if it has to be a waiter, then so be it...or pick a close member of your family, that will make it really intimate.
      I'm hoping everything works out for you guys! Sending lots of positive thoughts from Canada!! :o)
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      #3 Tifany

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        Posted 07 January 2010 - 10:58 PM

        I think that's an odd thing he was told by the immigration lawyer. I think an organized affair with friends and family, despite the location, would make it appear a bona fide ceremony. Also, I think the policy is once you apply for the green card (NOT the marriage license) you are unable to leave the states unless special permission is granted. My fiance isn't from the US, but we have been through this with many of his friends.

        How will the resort know if it is a legal ceremony or not? Don't they just hand you a certificate there? I swear friends of ours were married in another country and just kept the certificate they were given.

        #4 KJT1985

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          Posted 07 January 2010 - 11:06 PM

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by Tifany
          I think that's an odd thing he was told by the immigration lawyer. I think an organized affair with friends and family, despite the location, would make it appear a bona fide ceremony. Also, I think the policy is once you apply for the green card (NOT the marriage license) you are unable to leave the states unless special permission is granted. My fiance isn't from the US, but we have been through this with many of his friends.

          How will the resort know if it is a legal ceremony or not? Don't they just hand you a certificate there? I swear friends of ours were married in another country and just kept the certificate they were given.
          I don't know, my fiance said the immigration lawyer said he couldn't cross the border after applying for a marriage license but the applying for a green card part makes much more sense to me. Logicaly progression of things would be for us to legally get married here, go there with our marriage license, "renew vows" (honeymoon as far as the US government is concerned), return home and apply for the green card. But I didn't talk to the lawyer so all I know is heresay. And the resort won't let you have a ceremony unless they apply for the license for you (at which time the country files it with the US on your behalf) or you prove you're already married and renew your vows. My fiance suggested we act like we'll go through with the legal part and just not sign the license (he thought it'd be funny to draw a house). But the resort draws all that up for you and they'd already have our ss numbers and birth certificates....

          #5 Tifany

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            Posted 08 January 2010 - 12:24 AM

            Interesting. I'd definitely err on the side of the immigration lawyer. He does this for a living anyway!

            I wonder what the resort could really say if you said that you were advised legally to have a wedding in the US, but a ceremony there. They couldn't deny you that, especially if you're bringing them so much business. My fiance and I have spoken about doing a JOP "wedding" to make it official before going and I didn't think the resort would have an issue with this... I'm really glad you brought this up.

            #6 Tifany

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              Posted 08 January 2010 - 12:37 AM

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by TA Maureen
              They wouldn't have an issue with that because technically your ceremony would be a vow renewal. You would be able to show them proof that you got married in the US. The problem is with having a "symbolic ceremony" with no proof of marriage.
              That makes enough sense then. I just don't want it to feel like less of a wedding because it would, to us anyway, be our real wedding. You know?

              #7 KJT1985

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                Posted 08 January 2010 - 12:41 AM

                Quote:
                Originally Posted by Tifany
                That makes enough sense then. I just don't want it to feel like less of a wedding because it would, to us anyway, be our real wedding. You know?
                I know. It was previous brought up that some of our guests might be upset by us not doing the legal part there. But the other is just signing a paper. Jamaica is, or what I thought would be, the only time we would actually exchange vows. THAT would be our anniversary, not the day we signed the papers.


                Anyway, it just still boggles my mind why they can't go "oh, your situation is different...at your request we just won't file the paper work." or "you're exempt from needing a previous marriage license". I don't see any legal ramifications for them Oh well. I'm calling in the morning and hopefully we can figure it out.

                #8 teshy1

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                  Posted 08 January 2010 - 01:41 AM

                  Quote:
                  Originally Posted by KJT1985
                  It's 47 days until our wedding. We just found out that *most Jamaican resorts won't do a symbolic ceremony. You MUST either do a legal wedding or provide proof of a marriage license for a vow renewal.

                  My fiance is Canadian, i'm American and we both live in the states (he has a work visa). He is going to get a green card once we get married. After we booked my fiance talked to an immigration lawyer and found out that we can't get married outside of the states if he wants a green card (looks like a scam or something) AND once we apply for a marriage license he can't LEAVE the states for 6-9 months (some family emergency/event exceptions you have to apply for). So like I said, we're 47 days out from our wedding and i'm just now finding out we have no options for a ceremony at the resort (Breezes Runaway Bay). I'm calling the wedding coordinator in the morning to talk to her. I don't care if they pull a waiter off duty and tell him to read the script I wrote. We have 30 other people going down there and something needs to be worked out! Even if they still let us use the WC, chairs, and get the free cake (which is all we were getting out of the deal anyway) - or heck, I don't even need the WC!

                  So this is our fault for not checking into green card requirements BEFORE making wedding plans. I saw alot of resorts offering symbolic ceremonies and I assumed this was something all resorts offered (seems silly not to). But apparently this isn't the case in Jamaica, not just BRB.

                  I just wanted to warn other international couples so they can be checking into things themselves and avoiding this conflict right before their wedding. I'm so panicked right now.
                  I totally sympathize with you. I am an American bride marrying a Canadian, so I understand all the crap regarding immigration. I'm legally in Canada under a work visa, and I've applied for permanent resident status in Canada with my fiance/common-law partner as my sponsor. We decided to do the legal stuff for the marriage in Canada. We didn't want the hassle of doing a legal ceremony in Mexico, so we're having a "vow renewal" (symbolic) there. Our parents were very understanding about this.

                  As for the immigration lawyer, I would be careful with the information they give you. In my experience, there is a lot of misinformation out there about immigration procedures. If you're able to talk to someone directly from U.S. Immigration, you're more likely to get accurate info. Also, I agree with the member who posted that it seems more likely you can't leave the country once you apply for a green card, NOT a marriage license. The marriage license would be a state-issued document. Green cards are federal documents, and federal law usually supercedes state law. I would double-check with someone reliable. By the way, I was advised by Citizenship and Immigration Canada against leaving Canada while my application was in process, but their reasoning was that if I committed a crime while outside of Canada, my application would be thrown out and I could be refused re-entry to Canada...

                  I really hope everything works out for you. You've find the guy you're meant to be with, and I'm sure in the end, all will be well!

                  #9 misstrae76

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                    Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:11 AM

                    OMG im totally stressing right now!! Im Canadian and have been working in the US for 5 years now on a TN visa my Finance is a US citizen and we are about to get married in about 4 months! I have no intentions of becoming a US citizen and once he retires with the Navy(3 yrs) we are headed back up to Canada to settle, which then at that time I will sponsor him to become a Canadian Citizen

                    From what I have been reading the marriage is legal in the United States as long as it is legally performed in Jamaica. If it isn't then we are screwed!

                    He is overseas right now and once he does get back we are going to go to Navy legal to straighten things out and try and get real answers. Gawd!!

                    It really does irritate me that stuff like this is so damn complicated and sooo sooo time consuming!

                    I guess I need to start researching AGAIN!!

                    #10 bholthof

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                      Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:34 AM

                      Our resort also didn't offer symbolic ceremonies, but when we spoke to them we were able to get them to offer one. Hopefully your resort will be able to work something out for you!! Good luck!
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