Evidence of Bona Fide Marriage
One of the most common green card marriage questions is about evidence of bona fide marriage. What evidence do you use to show that your marriage to a US citizen or permanent resident is real and genuine?
It is not enough that you are in love, and you believe the marriage is real. You have the burden of proving to an immigration officer who may be skeptical that your relationship is genuine. A legal marriage to a United States citizen or permanent resident alone does not entitle foreign nationals to get or keep permanent residence. The marriage must be a bona fide marriage. A bona fide marriage for immigration is a marriage for love and a shared life.
There are several ways to prove a bona fide marriage. In addition to a wedding certificate and marriage termination documents, the list below contains examples of what an immigrant spouse or petitioner may offer as proof of a good faith marriage. The list is a general and not a substitute for legal advice. Even a good faith marriage alone may not be enough if you are inadmissible, and an immigration waiver is unavailable.
Failure to prove that your marriage is in good faith can have serious immigration and financial consequences for you and your spouse. As a result, we firmly recommend that you consult an experienced immigration attorney for legal advice about your case to avoid a denial or delay of your spousal petition or green card.
Bona fide marriage evidence for a green card through marriage
The documents you can offer as evidence of a bona fide marriage include but are not limited to:
1. Wedding pictures – showing the couple together and with family and friends. You may also use wedding invitations as well. It is a common mistake to include only photos of the wedding.
2. Notices and pictures for the wedding shower, if any.
3. Photos of you together and with family and friends (holidays, vacation, in a hospital, etc.). Chose pictures that show proper body language between the two of you and from family and friends.
4. Birth Certificate of each child born to the marriage. A child is irrefutable and persuasive evidence of a shared life. Pictures of the couple with their children (births, birthdays, baptism, or other traditional celebrations )
5. Personal statements in which petitioning spouse describe, in great detail, how you met, why you got married, and the feelings that you had or still have towards each other and why.
6. Bona Fide Marriage Affidavits (statements signed before a notary public) from people with personal knowledge of the marriage and who can give details of the relationship between the immigrant spouse and the U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident petitioner. You should accompany the affidavit with a photo ID of the person making the statement.
7. Letters received from spouse while dating, apart, or during any other stage of the relationship.
8. Letters, cards, and invitations to the couple from family and friends. You may even use the letters you received at the same residence. The letter does not always have to be addressed to both parties.
9. A rental agreement for a house or an apartment with both names, rent receipts or a letter from the building manager or owner proving that both of you occupy the premises.
10. Jointly filed Federal and State tax returns.
11. Receipts showing the names of both immigrant and spouse that reflect joint purchase of a car, real estate, furniture, or other assets together or joint liabilities.
12. Insurance documents that show coverage of each other by spouse’s insurance plan.
13. Utility bills, such as cable TV, internet, electricity, water, gas, cell phone, or others that show both names on it.
14. For women, a government-issued ID card that indicates the use of a spouse’s last name. A woman does not, however, have to use her husband’s last name.
15. Joint bank statements – as with having a child, having shared bank accounts is robust, evidence of a bona fide marriage because it indicates trust between the couple. The bank account statement (the entire statement, not just the first page) should have activity relating to both parties. A joint checking account with no funds, no activity or activity that refers merely to one spouse may not be persuasive.
16. Email and phone records showing the frequency and duration of communication between the couple before or after the marriage
17. Any other documents that demonstrate trust, a shared life and the burden of living.
Get legal advice before the marriage
As each marital relationship is unique, please consult an experienced immigration lawyer for legal advice in your marriage immigration case. Need help? Contact Goodin Law P.A., immigration lawyers in Las Vegas at 702-423-2721 or via the Contact Us form to request a confidential immigration consultation.