How to Prove A Bona Fide Marriage
If you are filing for a green card based on Marriage to a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, USCIS requires that you provide evidence that the marriage is bona fide or genuine. The following evidence will be helpful in proving this.
- Valid Marriage – Your marriage must be valid where the marriage took place. In order to document this you should provide a copy of the marriage certificate.
- Living Together – Unless you have a valid excuse for living apart, it is expected that a married couple live together. In order to provide proof of this you should provide a lease agreement that has both of your names on it. If you own the home, the mortgage should include both names. Copies of joint utility bills such as water and electricity should also be included. If you do not have these or you would like to provide more proof, an affidavit of a friend or relative, who is a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, could also state that they know that the two of you live together.
- Romance – If the marriage is genuine it is likely that you have a romantic relationship. You can document this by including copies of love letters, Valentine’s Day cards, photos of the two of you together and affidavits from friends or family. It is more helpful if these items show several different instances throughout the relationship and not just shortly before you filed the application.
- Co-mingling of Finances – Married couples are generally expected to co-mingle their finances. You should include copies of joint bank accounts, joint credit card accounts, and tax returns that have shown that you filed as a married couple.
- Affidavits/ Letters – You should include letters from each of you and from two friends or family that can attest to your relationship. They should explain how they know you, what they know about your relationship and that they believe your relationship to be genuine. It is helpful if they mention specific things they know to support their assertion, such as the fact that they have gone on double dates or that you have met each other’s families. Letters from U.S. Citizens and L.P.R.s are preferable to Foreign Nationals.
- Photos – You should include copies of photos. Do not just include wedding photos. Include photos from different events and time periods throughout the relationship. Include photos of the two of you alone and with each other’s friends and family.
- Previous Marriage – If either one of you have been previously married, you will need to include the divorce decree.