In order to obtain U.S. Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card) based on marriage, you will have to prove to the USCIS that the marriage is bona fide. This means a marriage in which the two people intend, from the start, to establish a life together as husband and wife.
Although a marriage certificate proves the legality of a marriage, it does not prove that the marriage is bona fide. You will be asked to supply documentary proof that you and your spouse are sharing a life together (living together, sharing/joining finances, spending time together, etc.) Below is a non-exhaustive list of documents that the USCIS takes into consideration when evaluating the validity of a marriage:
Evidence of Cohabitation (living together)
- Lease agreement showing both names
- Deed to property showing both names
- Mortgage or loan documents showing both names
- Driver’s Licenses or ID’s showing the same address
- Utility bills showing the same address (electricity, water, gas, cable, internet, phone etc.)
- Void check showing the same address
- Correspondence (letters, cards) showing the same address
- Affidavits/Letters from friends, family, neighbors, and landlords attesting to cohabitation
Evidence of Joint Financial Responsibility
- Tax Returns filed as married
- Bank statements for joint checking, savings and credit card accounts
- Void checks for joint accounts
- Joint loans or loans where one spouse is a co-signor for the other spouse
- Joint Utility Bills
- Joint Credit Card Bills
- Documents showing joint ownership of real property, cars or investments (401(k), pensions, etc.)
Evidence of Joint Insurance and Legal Records
- Joint Property and Auto insurance
- Joint Health, Dental and/or Life insurance
- Joint Home or Renter’s insurance
- Letter from an employer or doctor showing designation of the spouse as the person to be notified in event of accident or other emergency
- Wills, Trust, Power of Attorney naming both spouses
Evidence of Relationship and Shared Activities
- Evidence of Children
- Birth certificates of children born into the relationship
- Adoption documents of any children adopted by both spouses
- Evidence of a relationship with children or step-children (school records, photos, vacation itineraries etc.)
- Evidence showing petitioner and beneficiary as an emergency contact for child’s school records, doctor records, etc.
- Medical records evidencing ongoing pregnancy or fertility treatments
- Photographs from wedding, honeymoon, vacations, family dinners, holidays etc. (Please list names of individuals in the photographs as well as place, date and occasion/event)
- Travel itinerary, Flight tickets, Hotel Reservations from vacations or trips taken together
- Photographs from vacations or trips taken together, particularly trips to visit family
- Tickets to events attended together
- Greeting Cards from friends and family addressed to both spouses
- Evidence that each spouse has met or communicated with the other spouse’s parents and relative such as photographs, letters, cards or emails
- Dated letters, greeting cards (Birthday, Anniversary, etc.) exchanged between spouses
- Social media records such as screen shots of Facebook pages, posts that show you spending life events together.
- Original Affidavits from friends, family, neighbors and employers attesting to the genuine nature of your marriage. Affidavits should be written by people who have personal knowledge of your marriage and relationship and may be used to help support other types of evidence listed above. (Please see sample affidavit below and a description of affidavit requirements._
Please note: All foreign language documents must be translated. USCIS will not move forward with adjudication of your case until all foreign language documents are accompanied by a certified English translation.
Sample Affidavit/ Letter from Family Member or Friend verifying the Marriage
Disclaimer: This is a sample only and should be used to assist you with formatting and content of the letter. This letter DOES NOT pose any obligation on you, the author. It is used ONLY for purposes of verifying the marriage between Petitioner and Beneficiary.
At a MINIMUM the letter must include the following information:
- Person’s full name, address, date and place of birth
- Relationship to the couple (i.e. friend, brother, sister, cousin, neighbor, pastor, etc.)
- How the person came to know the couple
- When and for how long he/she has known the couple
- Frequency that the person sees the couple (i.e. Monthly, weekly, occasionally, etc.)
- Date and signature
Important: All letters MUST be notarized & submitted in ORIGINAL (no copies) formatAFFIDAVIT OF BOB SMITH
- My name is BOB SMITH. I was born in COLUMBUS, OHIO on JANUARY 1, 1980.
- I currently reside at 1234 MAIN STREET, COLUMBUS OHIO 54321.
- I am the brother of JOHN DOE. I have known him since birth and we remain close friends today. I see and communicate with him on a regular basis.
- I was the best man at his wedding and witnessed his marriage to his wife JANE DOE.
- My wife and I regularly socialize with my brother and his wife and have visited them in their home at 123 West Street, Columbus OH, on many occasions over the past two years.
- This past summer my wife and I took a trip with JOE and JANE and we vacationed together in Europe.
- Based on my observations and time spent with my brother and his wife, I can say without reservation that JOE and JANE live happily together as husband and wife.