KOREA – Military members stationed in the Republic of Korea who want to marry a non-U.S. citizen will now have to take a few extra steps to make it down the aisle.

A new U.S. Forces Korea regulation ensures military members are protected against fraudulent marriage.

“The purpose of the regulation is to ensure there are valid marriages by U.S. military members to non-U.S. citizens, that these spouses are eligible for immigration, and that military members who wish to marry non-U.S. citizens are fully informed of the procedures for a valid marriage,” said Lt. Col. Walter Hudson, the 2nd Infantry Division Staff Judge Advocate.

The new policy is designed to ensure military members have the necessary information to make an informed decision before entering into an international marriage. It also ensures military members and intended spouses comply with both U.S. and ROK laws.

All applicants for marriage must inform their chain of command for counseling. Under the new policy, a military member’s battalion-level commander must counsel the military member and intended spouse in two counseling sessions - one to verify the military member’s financial stability and a second to inform the military member of the possibility of a tour extension. The military member must also sign an affidavit of acknowledgement regarding visa fraud penalties.

After counseling, the military member must meet with the unit security officer, have a premarital counseling session with a chaplain, and have a legal briefing and medical examination done (for both the servicemember and intended spouse).

For those with access to sensitive compartmented information, a background check must be conducted to insure the spouse has no prior felonies or a current spouse.

Military members who violate this policy may be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Hudson said.

The intent of the regulation is to make the verification process as straightforward as possible, Hudson said, adding that the new policy helps prevent the intended spouse from being ineligible for immigration to the U.S.

“Soldiers will be confident that they have met all the requirements for a valid marriage, and those immigration requirements to bring their spouses back to the U.S. are met,” Hudson said.