Marriage-based green card petitions are some of the most heavily scrutinized immigration applications. USCIS is greatly concerned about marriage fraud, in which a foreigner marries a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident solely to obtain an immigration benefit. As such, the process requires every applicant to submit substantial evidence, defend their marriage in an interview, and even obtain a conditional green card if they haven’t been married for long enough.
If you or your spouse are applying for permanent residence based on your marriage, you will need to know exactly what USCIS looks for when verifying your marriage. The following is an overview of what you will need to present to USCIS to obtain a marriage-based green card for yourself or your partner.
Proving the validity of your marriage requires more than simply presenting your marriage certificate to the adjudicating officer. You and your spouse must prove your intention to remain married for the rest of your lives.
You can demonstrate this intention with all the following:
- Children. People who have entered a fraudulent marriage will not likely have children together. If you aren’t parents yet, you may be able to prove your intent to have kids by showing evidence of fertility treatments, financial moves designed to help you start a family, and more.
- Financial commitments. Do you and your spouse jointly own real estate? Do you have joint investments or bank accounts? Have you designated each other as retirement account beneficiaries? These are just a few examples of shared, long-term financial responsibilities that can help you prove the validity of your marriage. Spouses in a fraudulent marriage are highly unlikely to combine financial assets and liabilities.
- Estate planning decisions. Have you named each other as beneficiaries in your wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents? This can help you prove that you and your spouse plan to care for each other even after death.
Evidence of Your Relationship
Love is harder to prove than combined financial responsibilities, but USCIS will need to see evidence of a love-based relationship before verifying your marriage.
Evidence of your shared relationship can include:
- Wedding expenses
- Evidence of shared vacations (e.g. hotel reservations, plane tickets, car rentals, etc.)
- Consistent communication between spouses
- Gift receipts (e.g. for birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)
- Photographs of time spent together through the course of your relationship
- Affidavits (written testimony) from third parties explaining why your marriage is bonafide
Consistent Answers During Your Interview
During your green card interview, the adjudicating officer will ask you and your spouse a wide range of questions about your relationship. Some of these will be highly personal, such as whether you use birth control (if applicable). Ultimately, the officer will use their discretion to determine whether your answers prove the validity of your marriage.
Preparing for this interview, therefore, is key. If the officer has reason to believe your marriage is a sham, they may question you and your spouse separately, and any conflicting details between each of your responses may further persuade the officer to deny your application.
Let Our Team Help You File a Successful Application
If you or your spouse are pursuing a marriage-based green card, you will need to be fully prepared to prove to USCIS that your marriage is bona fide. Gambacorta Law can help you accomplish this goal. We are well aware of the red flags that may lead to a green card denial, and we can help you steer clear of these issues and gather overwhelming evidence of your marriage’s validity. When your family’s future is at stake, put a legal team with decades of combined experience on your side.