If you plan to apply for a marriage visa with the USCIS, it is crucial to have solid proofs of marriage to support the authenticity of your marital relationship. Demonstrating through the evidence that USCIS requires for marriage that your union was entered into in good faith, and not for immigration purposes, is a complex process.
In these cases, it is essential to prepare adequately with convincing proofs of marriage and comply with the requirements demanded by USCIS. Find out in this article how to present a solid and convincing application to achieve success in your immigration process.
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Evidence requested by USCIS for marriage
To prove that your marriage is bona fide, it is not sufficient to provide a marriage certificate when applying for your green card. USCIS understands how easy it is to marry for legal reasons. Therefore, they require proofs of marriage to show that the couple is committed to building a life together.
There are two moments in which it will be possible for you to check the authenticity of your marriage:
- Through the documents submitted with your I-130 application.
- At your personal interview to obtain your Green Card.
Find a reliable and experienced family immigration lawyer to help you gather the evidence that USCIS requests for marriage to prove the authenticity of your case. Contact us for expert legal advice and personalized support throughout the whole process of applying for a green card by marriage.
Documents required when submitting your application
Lack of proofs of marriage proving the bona fides of the union is the most frequent reason for USCIS denial of I-130 petitions. Including the following documents in your I-130 application will help prove the authenticity of your marriage.
It is important to mention that, while it is not necessary to include all documents in each category, USCIS generally wants to see evidence that covers as many categories as possible.
At Urbina Immigration Law we are prepared to provide you with personalized advice and assistance in the preparation of your immigration application. We are here to provide you with the necessary legal support in your process. You can consult us if you wish to know the requirements for applying for U.S. citizenship.
Portrait of their relationship over time
In preparing your I-130 application, it is crucial to present a portrait of your relationship over time. For example, providing five photographs from five years ago carries more weight as evidence USCIS requests for genuine marriage than showing ten photographs from the past month. Remember to select evidence that demonstrates the duration and strength of your union.
In addition to photographs, consider including other documents and evidence, such as love letters , joint bank statements, shared travel records, or any other items that can strengthen the validity of your marriage. By selecting the right evidence, you will be presenting a strong and convincing picture of your relationship to USCIS.
Evidence that your finances are combined
Demonstrating that you and your spouse share assets and debts can be a solid way to establish the authenticity of your marriage.
By combining your financial assets and liabilities, such as joint bank accounts, shared property or joint loans, you will be providing concrete evidence of the genuine bond that exists between you.
There are several examples of documents that can support the combination of assets and debts in a bona fide marriage, such as:
- Joint bank accounts: Providing copies of bank statements of shared bank accounts, where both spouses are account holders, shows the combination of economic resources and joint management of finances.
- Joint tax returns: Filing copies of tax returns where both spouses have filed jointly can be strong evidence of financial union.
- Joint life or health insurance policies: Showing insurance policies in which both spouses are listed as mutual beneficiaries demonstrates financial commitment and mutual protection.
- Joint loans: Demonstrating that both spouses are co-responsible for loans, such as mortgages or personal loans, reaffirms mutual financial commitment.
- Shared bills and receipts: Including bills or receipts showing the division of joint expenses, such as joint utilities, rent or loan payments, supports the existence of a joint economic relationship.
These additional financial proofs meet the USCIS evidence requirements for marriage and will strengthen your application by demonstrating the economic interdependence and sincere financial relationship you share with your spouse.
Evidence of living together
In addition to financial proof of marriage, they can provide proofs that they are living together as a married couple. In common cases, there are several documents that can serve as proof that you and your spouse are living together, such as:
- Lease, mortgage or deed of joint ownership showing that you share the same residence.
- Utility bills in both of your names (such as electricity, water or gas) showing that you share a common address.
- Bank statements reflecting the same address for both spouses.
- Driver’s license, insurance statements and other documents reflecting the same address.
- Official correspondence addressed to both spouses at the same address.
These documents are examples of evidence that can support the fact that you and your spouse are living together as a married couple, thus reinforcing the authenticity of your marriage.
What happens if a couple does not live together?
If a couple does not live together, they may present an additional challenge when trying to prove the authenticity of their marriage to USCIS. Although cohabitation is important evidence, it is not the only way to prove that your marriage is genuine. In this case, it is essential to collect other solid evidence.
In these cases, it is crucial that you include a convincing explanation as to why you are living apart. This will require a letter signed by both spouses explaining why they live separately, when they plan to live together and the address where they plan to live together (if available).
The letter should be addressed to “USCIS” or “To Whom It May Concern”. This letter will help provide context and clarify the situation with the immigration authorities. It is also important to work with a family immigration attorney who can help you gather the right evidence and present a strong case to USCIS. If all other proofs of marriage are strong, the cohabitation arrangement should not preclude obtaining a green card.
Proofs that they have children
In the event that the couple has one or more children, proving that you and your spouse have been raising a child together, either from your current marriage or from previous relationships, is one of the strongest pieces of evidence you can present. Here are some ways to support this evidence:
- Birth certificates: Include copies of the child’s birth certificates showing that both spouses are the legal parents of the child.
- Legal custody documents: Provide legal documents confirming joint or shared custody of the child, such as court orders or custody agreements.
- Child expense statements: Submit bank statements or receipts for payments related to the child’s expenses, such as education, medical care or extracurricular activities, showing the joint contribution of both spouses.
- Family photographs: Include family photographs that show both spouses interacting and sharing moments with the child, such as celebrations, vacations or school events.
- Third-party testimonials: Obtain letters from family members, friends, or professionals (such as teachers or doctors) who can attest to your relationship as parents and the active involvement of both of you in the child’s upbringing.
This strong evidence of joint parenting will help strengthen your case by demonstrating that you and your spouse are committed to the child’s upbringing and well-being, which is strong evidence that USCIS asks for by marriage to prove that it is genuine.
In addition to the evidence mentioned above, you may also present evidence of joint travel as evidence of your genuine marriage. Here are some ways to support this evidence:
- Passports with entry and exit stamps.
- Airline tickets or hotel reservations in both of your names.
- Joint travel itineraries .
- Travel photographs .
This evidence of joint travel will further support the authenticity of your marriage by demonstrating that you have shared experiences and adventures as a couple. Remember to include a variety of evidence to cover different aspects of your relationship and strengthen your case before USCIS.
Affidavits can be a powerful tool to support the authenticity of your marriage. Here are some ways to use affidavits as proof of marriage:
- Close relatives: Ask your parents, siblings or other close relatives to provide affidavits explaining how they have witnessed and are aware of your spousal relationship. They may mention family events, reunions, interactions and their continued support of your marriage.
- Close friends: Request affidavits from close friends who can describe their knowledge of your marriage, how they have witnessed your relationship, the times you have shared, and the mutual support they have provided over time.
- Colleagues or co-workers: If you have worked or shared a work environment with people who know your spouse, ask them to provide affidavits describing their knowledge of your marriage and the relationship they have observed between you and your spouse in a professional setting.
Make sure the affidavits are signed and notarized. They must also include the contact information of the persons issuing them.
In addition to the evidence listed above, there are other forms of evidence requested by USCIS for marriage that you can submit to support the authenticity of your marriage:
- Communications: Provide records of communications that demonstrate an ongoing and active relationship between you and your spouse. These records can include emails, text messages, letters, greeting cards, etc.
- Social event records: Include photographs, invitations, tickets or receipts from social events you have attended as a couple, such as weddings, birthdays, graduations or other family or social celebrations.
- Medical history: If you have received joint medical care or if you have been involved in your spouse’s health care, you may submit medical records that demonstrate the relationship and mutual concern for each other’s well-being.
- Joint activities: If you have common interests or participate in joint activities, such as sports, volunteering, club or group memberships, include documents that support your active participation and collaboration.
Strong and weak proofs of marriage
When evaluating the authenticity of a marriage, the USCIS considers certain documents to be stronger evidence than others. The following is a hierarchical order of evidence ranked according to its strength:
- Strong evidence: Joint bank accounts, life insurance policies, wills, joint leases, and utility bills in the names of both spouses.
- Average evidence: Joint travel itineraries, utility bill splits, text messages and phone records.
- Weak evidence: Cards, affidavits from friends or relatives, individual travel itineraries and show tickets.
Having a combination of strong and average proofs of marriage in your petition can strengthen your case, while weak evidence may be less convincing in proving the authenticity of your marriage. Remember to include strong evidence that shows a genuine, shared relationship in various aspects of your life as a couple.
If you don’t have all these documents on hand, don’t worry! The good news is that you can start your application now while you gather the supporting documents. With Boundless, you know which documents you need and can securely collect them online. Learn more about how we can help you or start now!
If you don’t have all these documents yet, don’t worry! You can begin your application while you gather the necessary documents. The experts at Urbina Immigration Law will provide you with step-by-step guidance on the required documents so that you can collect them safely. Find out how we can help you. Act now and take the first step towards your future together!
Marriage Green Card Interview
The green card interview is a crucial step in proving the authenticity of your marriage. However, the process may vary depending on the current location of the green card applicant spouse.
- If the spouse resides abroad, he/she must attend an interview at the embassy or consulate of his/her country of origin. In this interview, it will be conducted without the presence of the sponsoring spouse and will be conducted by a consular officer.
- If the spouseresides in the United States, he/she must attend an interview at the local USCIS office along with his/her sponsoring spouse. In this interview, you will be conducted by a USCIS officer.
Usually, but not always, when the couple is interviewed separately it may indicate that the USCIS officer has suspicions about the authenticity of the marriage. Relax, if you have gathered solid and authentic proofs of marriage, you have every reason to be confident in your application.
Whether the interview is conducted jointly or separately, the immigration officer will ask questions that a married couple is expected to be able to answer without difficulty. They will start with simple and predictable questions, such as where they met and how their relationship developed.
However, agents have some flexibility in their choice of questions in pursuit of proving the authenticity of your marriage, becoming increasingly intimate and personal. You may be asked:
- Who sleeps on which side of the bed
- Whether your spouse has tattoos or birthmarks and what they look like
- How was the marriage ceremony
- If they know the family and friends of the other spouse
- What kind of marital difficulties have you had, and how have you overcome them?
- What are your future plans as a couple
- And much more
Our team of immigration experts is here to help you prepare for the interview by providing guidance and advice on how to respond appropriately and confidently. We are committed to making sure you are ready to address any questions that may arise during the interview process and to demonstrate the authenticity of your marriage. Call us today for an evaluation of your case.
In some cases, a spouse seeking a green card may not have a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) because of his or her irregular status in the United States. In these cases, other documents that do not require an SSN to be processed may be presented to provide the evidence requested by USCIS for marriage. This list includes those already mentioned:
- Travel documents together
- Photographs of the couple
- Affidavits from friends and family attesting to knowledge of your marriage
We understand that each case is unique and we are prepared to provide you with the necessary guidance. Our goal is to help you prove the genuineness of your marriage and overcome any obstacles in the green card application process. Rely on us to provide you with the necessary support and advice throughout the process.
USCIS – I AM MARRIED TO A U.S. CITIZEN I am married to a U.S. Citizen