Transnational Marriage

An international marriage, or transnational marriage, is a marriage between two people from different countries. A variety of special issues arise in marriages between people from different countries, including those related to citizenship and culture, which add complexity and challenges to these kinds of relationships.

In an age of increasing globalization, where a growing number of people have ties to networks of people and places across the globe, rather than to a current geographic location, people are increasingly marrying across national boundaries. Transnational marriage is a by-product of the movement and migration of people.

Transnational marriage may occur when someone from one country visits or lives in another country for school, work, political asylum, refuge, or due to their family relocating. In general terms, reasons for transnational marriage are:

  • Becoming attracted to a citizen of one's host country and marrying them. This is usually a cross-cultural marriage, although there are times in which that citizen may be from the same culture. Marrying a citizen of the host country may help in becoming a citizen of that land and staying there permanently. Sometimes the host culture is the one with which the person identifies, and thus desires to marry someone of that culture rather than someone from their "home" culture.
  • Becoming attracted to and marrying a citizen of yet another country who is also visiting or living in the host country.
  • Having become a citizen of the host country, the person may go back to their homeland, marry a person from their home country, sometimes through arranged marriage, and then return to the country in which they are a citizen. This may come as a result of missing home, family, and culture, and desiring to have such in one's life. One may then bring one's spouse to their new country of citizenship through family reunification provisions in immigration law.
  • Being a seasoned traveler, a person might marry someone who has the shared experience of living amidst different cultures, regardless of citizenship. One term used to label such people is third culture kid.

Obstacles to transnational marriages:

  • Citizenship of two or more nations - one or both spouses must change citizenship or become a dual citizen or permanent resident. Changing one's citizenship can be a long process, and for some it is an ordeal of negotiating the laws and language of a new country.
  • Culture - Learning how to live with a new spouse where cultural assumptions and norms may vary greatly.
  • Language

Read more about Transnational MarriageHistory, Historical Attitudes, Modern Attitudes, Third Culture Kids, One Debate: Should National Laws Discourage or Encourage Transnational Marriage?, See Also

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Transnational Marriage - See Also
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