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How do you show your marriage is a bona fide one?

 Posted on September 01, 2021 in family-based immigration

If you are a U.S. citizen and plan to sponsor a non-citizen for legal permanent residency, your marriage is likely to be relevant. After all, U.S. immigration law streamlines the process for those who marry U.S. citizens, often allowing them to apply for immigrant visas and green cards simultaneously.

You want the sponsorship of your husband or wife to go as smoothly as possible. Still, if officers with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services question the legitimacy of your marriage, you may receive a request for evidence or even an outright denial.

Your initial application

When filing your Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, you may want to provide comprehensive documentation to prove your marriage is bona fide. That is, your marriage is for a legitimate reason and not only to help someone obtain a green card.

The following pieces of evidence are likely to be persuasive:

  • Proof of joint ownership of housing, such as a deed, mortgage or rental contract
  • Identification documents for you and your spouse that list a shared address
  • Bank and credit card statements that document a joint financial life
  • Photographs of your wedding ceremony, birthdays and other special events
  • Signed affidavits or letters from your relatives, friends, employers or others who can attest to the validity of your marriage.

Your immigration interview

Before obtaining a green card, a process known as adjustment of status, most individuals must attend an in-person interview with a USCIS officer. As the sponsor, you should attend the interview with your spouse. During the interview, the officer may ask you and your spouse questions that married spouses should know, such as the following:

  • When is your spouse’s birthday?
  • How did you meet your spouse?
  • Who is responsible for different types of household duties?
  • What are your spouse’s parents’ names?
  • Where did your spouse grow up?

Ultimately, showing your marriage is bona fide during your application and interview increases your chances of receiving prompt approval of your immigrant visa petition and your spouse’s green card application.

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