I'm U.S. citizen (my only citizenship). I'm a temporary resident of BC while I'm here for school.

I'm just wondering, what happens if I get married in BC or Canada to a fellow U.S. citizen, or really anywhere else in the world.

How does the U.S. find out, for tax or insurance purposes? Am I legally required to report it when I return? Obviously there's a little box that says [] Married but how would they know if I lied if I'm not registered in the United States? Would the Canadian/provincial government inform the U.S./state government?

I know that's a lot of questions so it boils down to I get married in Canada, return to the States. What do I (have to) do next?

I would like answers to be generalizable to any country without residence requirements for marriage.

  • If you marry a non-U.S. citizen spouse, getting your spouse into the U.S. to live with your could be a very serious issue. Marriage to a Canadian could also change your student visa status in Canada. If the spouse is a U.S. citizen, however, it has little effect. – ohwilleke Apr 11 at 18:55
  • @ohwilleke Oh good, point. The partner I had in mind was the same status as me. I'll add it to my questino. – Azor Ahai Apr 11 at 19:28
up vote 7 down vote accepted

You don't need to "report" it to anyone in the US or do anything else. The US doesn't have any national registry of marriage. Any marriage or divorce conducted anywhere in the world is automatically recognized anywhere in the US (with some exceptions like polygamous marriages); the same is true in many other countries.

How does the U.S. find out, for tax or insurance purposes? Obviously there's a little box that says [] Married but how would they know if I lied if I'm not registered in the United States?

They don't, and don't need to. (The same is true for marriages in the US -- they don't directly "know".) You are required to use an appropriate filing status for your marriage status at the end of the year for each year's tax returns. If you don't, you are committing fraud. There are lots of things that you can intentionally lie about on tax returns, and they may not immediately "find out"; but when they do, you are in big trouble.

Am I legally required to report it when I return?

No.

Would the Canadian/provincial government inform the U.S./state government?

No.

  • If border patrol asks, you are required to give them a truthful answer. You don't have to volunteer the fact. – ohwilleke Apr 11 at 18:56

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