If you are trying to get a green card for yourself or your spouse based on your marriage, part of the process will be to prove to USCIS that your marriage is “bona fide.” This goes beyond proving that you are legally married. You must convince USCIS that the two of you are married because you want to have a life together.
Evidence that your relationship is genuine is submitted as part of your I-130 filing or one step filing (concurrent filing of the I-130 and I-485). Examples of supporting evidence, may include:
- Documents, such as a lease agreement, mortgage or copies of your driver’s licenses, that show you live together.
- Statements from a joint bank account or documents showing that one of you has made the other the beneficiary on their retirement account.
- Joint income tax returns.
- Estate planning documents naming each spouse as the other’s heir, beneficiary or power of attorney.
- Evidence of any children you have together, such as their birth certificates and school records.
- Photos of the two of you together that span the course of your relationship.
- Correspondence between the two of you, including letters, emails, birthday cards and social media chat logs.
- Receipts for gifts you have bought each other over the years.
The more you can show that your relationship is loving and committed, the better your chances of proving your marriage (or planned future marriage) is bona fide. This will help to obtain permanent resident status (aka, a “green card”) for the spouse who needs it.