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 proxy marriages, we can now confirm that Utah “Zoom weddings” (conducted via video conferencing) have the same value as in-person weddings 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 civil marriages would not have equal value in Israel to other overseas in-person marriages. Therefore, it would result in a much longer gradual process for international couples than that of “normally” wed couples (2 years on B1 as a 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, 2023. The omission of the clause means that Utah proxy marriages are no longer handled differently in Israeli spouse visa applications than any other type of valid marriages abroad.

Is it confirmed? Utah “Zoom” weddings count?

Yes! International couples in Israel who get married via Utah video conference will now have a gradual process equal in time and conditions to that of other couples who got married in a legal wedding abroad (Cyprus, Georgia, anywhere else…). This means that the couple can physically stay in Israel, but 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 got married via Utah video conference and 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. While registration of the marriage in the home country of the non-Israeli is no longer a prerequisite, you might face complications if Utah “Zoom” weddings are in fact not recognized as valid there. Proceed with caution.

How can I get married in Utah?

We will try to share information about the Utah “Zoom” weddings 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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    • It does, but please make sure the home country of the non-Israeli side also recognizes this type of marriage (proxy marriage via video conference).

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