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What if I’m not legally married but I live with my partner - do we still qualify for immigration benefits as a “married” couple?”

You may qualify for immigration benefits if you and your partner have established a “common law” marriage in Texas.

Three elements must be present to form a common law marriage in Texas.

  1. First, you and your partner must have "agreed to be married."
  2. Second, you and your partner must have "held yourselves out" as husband and wife. This means that you must have represented to others that you were married to each other. As an example of this, you may have introduced you partner socially as "my husband," or you may have filed a joint income tax return.
  3. Third, you must have lived together in this state as husband and wife.

Keep in mind that common law marriages are not recognized in every state. The 3-part test described above only applies to Texas. If you move to another state, you and your partner may not be considered “married” for common law purposes.

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