This is a family law question with international scope with some specifics. If an American citizen ( female, non-Muslim ) marries in Egypt an Egyptian citizen (Muslim man), certified/sanctified by the Egyptian courts and registered in the American Embassy, does this constitute a legal marriage in the USA? It would be my assumption that it does not since our law is not Sharia law and also that state law comes into play here. My state of residence is Illinois.
A: Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/409) provides: "A marriage which may have been celebrated or had in any foreign state or country, may be proved by the acknowledgment of the parties, their cohabitation
, and other circumstantial testimony." Thus, Illinois law does not require proof of marriage via production of a valid marriage license issued by a foreign jurisdiction. However, the court has discretion to demand additional evidence, which may include a copy of the marriage license, if the evidence required by Section 409 appears insufficient to satisfy the proponent's burden of production/proof.
Concerning Sharia law, an Illinois court will not recognize any marriage that violates the public policy of Illinois. So, for example, if the husband is legally married to multiple wives under Egyptian law, then that would be criminal bigamy in Illinois and the marriage to the U.S. Citizen would be void. To satisfy the Egyptian Sharia law requirement must a valid Egyptian marriage in this situation be registered in the US Embassy or could this step be omitted and still fulfill a legal/Muslim marriage requirement for the man?
A: There is no requirement to register a marriage with the U.S. Embassy. U.S. Immigrations and Naturalization (USCIS) will require a certified copy of the marriage license as part of any immigrant visa application. This is a standard part of any immigrant investigation conducted by USCIS. However, no separate registration with the U.S. Embassy is required.
Please also advise ,if possible, as to further accessible legal counsel in my state of residence ( Chicago) Illinois about this matter for follow-up counsel and unaddressed questions that might arise, someone who specializes in family law of this scope. It is very important that your answer be accurate and fully researched.
A: It seems to me from your facts, that you may need an attorney knowledgeable in immigrations law -- rather than family law. Fortunately, I am both -- unfortunately, I cannot represent the woman. For a competent immigrations law attorney referral in Illinois, see this link
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.