Proving the authenticity of your marriage as a “bona fide” marriage is a requisite step when seeking a U.S. Green Card through marriage.
What is a bona fide marriage?
A bona fide marriage, according to USCIS, is defined as a marriage that is entered into in good faith and with the genuine intention of establishing a life together as spouses. In the context of immigration, a bona fide marriage is one that is not solely entered into for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits, such as a Green Card.
USCIS scrutinizes marriages during the immigration process to ensure they are bona fide. This is done to prevent fraudulent marriages that are entered into solely for immigration purposes.
Evidence to Prove a Bona Fide Marriage
To establish a bona fide marriage, applicants should provide substantial evidence in their Green Card application to demonstrate that their relationship is genuine, committed, and not entered into for immigration purposes.
In addition to your Marriage Certificate, you should provide documents that clearly establish that you and your spouse have a shared life together from the date of your marriage to present. If you are applying for your Green Card application soon after your marriage and do not have enough documents, provide as much as you can and start compiling more joint documents so that you are prepared if USCIS requests more evidence.
Joint evidence to establish a bona fide marriage should generally include:
1. Residence at Same Address
Provide documents that establish that you have been living together at the same residence since your marriage such as:
- Joint lease agreements or mortgage documents with both names that show you have been living together
- Utility bills, credit card statements, internet bills bearing both spouses' names at same address;
- Copies of drivers licenses with same address;
- Other documents with both spouses’ names at the same address.
2. Shared Financial Assets and Obligations
Provide evidence of shared financial assets and joint financial obligations such as:
- Income tax returns filed as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately”;
- Joint bank accounts, joint investment accounts, 401(k) statements, pension accounts, credit card statements showing both spouses’ names;
- Joint insurance policies for home insurance, medical and dental;
- Insurance policies where one spouse is a dependent of the other;
- Telephone bills, gas bills, electric bills, water bills and other utility bills with both spouses’ names of same address;
- Jointly held assets, such as property or vehicles;
- Air tickets and holiday bookings showing joint travel.
3. Shared Parenting of children
If you are raising children together, you can provide:
- Birth certificate/s of children born to the marriage with both parents names on the certificate;
- Adoption certificates if applicable;
- Hospital or medical records with child’s name and both parents names.
4. Photographic Evidence of Your Wedding and Other Life Events
Provide multiple photos of your life together with friends and family from events spanning time from when you first met to present, such as:
- Wedding and Engagement Celebrations
- Holidays and trips together
- Other joyous occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, festivals etc..
5. Affidavits from Credible Witnesses
Sworn statements from friends and relatives with direct knowledge of your marriage can also
be provided as additional evidence.
These affidavits should provide insights into the nature of the relationship between the spouses, and the authenticity of the marriage.
By assembling comprehensive evidence of a bona fide marriage, you will be able to establish the credibility of your Green Card application with USCIS. Remember, each marriage is unique, so ensure your evidence resonates with the genuine nature of your relationship.
Contact Verma Law Firm to learn how our dedicated team of Attorneys can guide you through the Green Card application process and provide the support you need for a successful outcome.
We look forward to working with you!