Evidence of a Bona Fide Marriage for Immigration Applications

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires marriage-based green card applicants to demonstrate that their marriage is bona-fide. A bona-fide marriage means that the married couple intends to share a life together. Sometimes people are unsure about what documents are useful or need ideas for what to include. This article reviews some of the most common types of evidence we use to prove a bona-fide marriage.

It is worth mentioning that a marriage certificate on its own is not sufficient. Immigration laws do not simply accept that a valid civil marriage is enough. Immigration cases which are based on marriage must prove that the marriage is bona-fide. Put another way, every applicant must prove that they did not marry for immigration purposes.

Generally speaking, if a couple has children together it is very important to include their birth certificates. In many cases, USCIS will not doubt that a marriage is bona-fide when the couple has children together. Even so, it is better to include diverse types of evidnece. Some of the most common types of evidence are shown below.

Financial Ties: Sharing Your Resources

  • Joint bank accounts: This is a big one. Combining finances shows a long-term commitment.
  • Shared ownership of property: A house, car, or even furniture in both names speaks volumes.
  • Joint tax returns: Filing taxes together is a common sign of a married life.
  • Shared bills and debts: Utility bills, mortgages, or credit cards with both names demonstrate intertwined finances.

Building a Life Together: Shared History

  • Lease agreements or property deeds: If you live together, official documentation proves it.
  • Insurance policies listing each other as beneficiaries: Planning for the future together is a good sign.
  • Medical records or employer documents listing your spouse as an emergency contact: Being there for each other in emergencies matters.

Memories and Moments: Sharing Your Story

  • Photos of you together: Throughout your relationship, at events, and vacations.
  • Affidavits from friends and family: People who know you well can attest to your relationship.
  • Travel itineraries for trips you took together: Shared adventures strengthen bonds.

Remember: USCIS weighs evidence differently. Financial documents are strongest as they’re difficult to fake. Affidavits and photos are considered weaker but can still be helpful.

The Key Takeaway: Be Thorough

The more evidence you submit, the better. Aim to paint a clear picture of your married life together. Don’t forget to include explanations for any gaps or inconsistencies in your documentation.