A legal marriage or a marriage on paper alone is not sufficient basis to obtain a green card through marriage. There are several ways to prove a bona fide marriage for US immigration purposes. In addition to a marriage certificate, the following documents are examples of what a petitioner or an immigrant spouse can offer as proof of a bona fide marriage. As each couple is unique the following is not a substitute for legal advice based on a couple’s individual circumstances (prior petitions, pregnancy, age difference, prior removal orders, date of wedding, manner and date of entry into the United States etc).
Documentary proof of a bona fide marriage may include but is not limited to the following:
- Wedding pictures – showing the couple together and with family and friends. Wedding invitations may also be used.
- Invitation and pictures for the wedding shower, if any.
- Pictures of the couple together and with family and friends (holidays, vacation, in hospital etc.). Chose picture that show proper body language between the couple and from family and friends.
- Birth certificate of each child born to the marriage. A child is strong, irrefutable evidence of a shared live. Pictures of the couple with their children (births, birthdays, baptism, or other traditional celebrations )
- Personal statement or self statement of bona fide marriage, in which the petitioner describe, in great detail, how they met, why they got married, who proposed marriage, and the feelings that they had or still have towards each other and why.
- Bona fide marriage affidavits (statements signed before a notary public) from at least two 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.
- Letters received from spouse while dating, apart, or during any other stage of the relationship.
- Letters, cards and invitations to the couple from family and friends
- A rental agreement for house or apartment with the names of the couple on it, or a letter from the building manager or owner proving that the couple occupies the premises.
- Tax returns that show taxes filed jointly.
- Papers with the names of both immigrant and spouse that show joint ownership of a car, a house, furniture, or something else together.
- Insurance papers (health, auto, life and property) – that are either joint insurance papers or that show coverage of each other by insurance plan.
- Joint Utility Bills for a marital home, such as cable TV, internet, electricity, water, gas, cell phone, or others that show both names on it.
- For women, a government issued identification card that shows the use of your spouse’s last name could be persuasive but is not required.
- Joint bank statements – as with having a child, having shared bank accounts is strong, evidence of a bona fide marriage because it indicates trust between the couple.
- Any other documents that show trust, a shared life and shared burden of living.
If you have any questions please consult with a local immigration attorney. You may also email me at via the contact form on this website. Please subscribe to this blog or the RSS feed so you can see when new articles are posted.