Marriage by proxy is the term used to describe the civil marriage proceeding that allows for a couple to engage in civil union with one party to the marriage not present. While typically used in situations of incarceration or in situations of active military deployment, there are many United States citizens who are engaging in marriage by proxy for the purpose of marrying non-U.S. citizens.
With a select few U.S. states participating in marriage by proxy proceedings, couples are finding marriage to become more attainable in the 21st century than ever before. Meeting a marriage partner online, and then arranging for marriage by proxy, the non-U.S. citizen can be enjoined in marriage, legally, under U.S. laws. States such as Texas and Montana presently recognize marriage by proxy and allow for proceedings using affidavits and notarized documents and support of the union.
From a religious or non-civil matter, marriage by proxy is not considered valid unless both partners are present and a religious union takes place. Because many countries are strict with regard to marriage laws, couples who are citizens of two countries are often turning to U.S. marriage laws for civil proceedings and then establishing religious marriage within the secondary country using certification and acceptance. In both arranged marriages and non-arranged marriages, couples use marriage by proxy more commonly.
If you are considering the marriage to a non-U.S. citizen, and you are unsure about the laws of the non-U.S. country, you may want to consider marriage by proxy in the United States. In Montana and Texas, residency requirements are not an issue and with a few pieces of certified and notarized documents, your marriage license can be obtained. Typically, a copy of a certified, and translated, birth certificate, or a valid form of identification is all that is required to make the transition. Once these documents are in place, you can obtain a marriage license and then have the ceremony performed by anyone that is licensed in that state to perform the ceremony. In many cases, the couple will ask a religious leader to make the ceremony complete.
The “proxy” in the marriage by proxy ceremony is determined by the couple and can be any adult over the age of 18. Simply standing in the place of the missing partner, the proxy will repeat the vows and confirm the agreement of marriage at which point the ceremony is complete and signed by the marriage official.
Marriage by proxy is a great way to create a civil union between a man and a woman when one party to the marriage is not a citizen of the United States and does not reside in the U.S. The marriage by proxy allows the couple to solidify a marriage and then obtain legal married status in any country where U.S. marriages are recognized.
Sources: Texas Department of Human Services