Official: Utah “Zoom Marriages” Fully Recognized for Spouse Visa Procedures

Following the publication on our Facebook Page last week, about a recent legal development on the subject of Utah “Zoom marriages”, we can now confirm that Utah proxy marraiges (conducted via video confernecing) have the same value as in-person marriages abroad, for the sake of the naturalization process of partners of Israelis.

A supreme court petition submitted by Adv. Vlad Finkelshtein challenged PIBA’s recent decision to equalize the value of Utah proxy marriages to that of El Salvador proxy marriages. Their decision originally meant that Utah marriages would not have equal value to other oversea in-person marriages, and that it would result in a much longer gradual process for international couples than that of “normally” wed couples (2 years on B1 as minimum instead of up to 6 months, among other discriminatory procedural differences).

In response to the petition, PIBA decided to omit the new clause they added about Utah marriages in protocol 5.2.0008. This happened directly because of the petition and the change went into effect on July 16th. The omission of the clause means that Utah proxy marriages are not handled differently anymore in spouse visa applications than any other type of valid marriage abroad.

Is it confirmed? Utah marriages count?

Yes! Couples who married via Utah video conference will now have a gradual process equal in time and conditions to that of other couples who married in any other valid marriages abroad (Cyprus, Georgia, anywhere else…). This means the couple can stay physically in Israel, but still marry in a civil ceremony from afar.

Last week it was still unclear how PIBA would handle the applications of Utah-married couples after the petition and the change to the procedure. Yesterday, Adv. Finkelstein has shared a confirmation from the legal department of PIBA, and we also got a confirmation about the policy change directly from PIBA headquarters. Today, we can confirm that couples who have had pending applications at PIBA were summoned to continue their proceedings under the married procedure (5.2.0008).

IMPORTANT! Please pay attention that the marriage certificate is not the only requirement for marriage-based immigration to Israel. A non-Israeli who apply for a spouse visa will have to prove and show certifications that their marriage was registered in their home country. If you/your partner plan to immigrate to Israel based on this marriage, please first confirm that the non-Israeli side is able to register themselves as “married” in their home country and prove it with documents.

How can I marry in Utah?

We will try to share information about the procedure of Utah video conference marraiges and the available options as soon as we can! Stay tuned.

We would like to congratulate Adv. Vlad Finkelstein for his success in challenging PIBA’s initial policy and thank him for sharing the information with AIC!

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Adv. Lior Beres
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