This post is intended as resources for applicants of green card based on marriage to understand the types of evidence that are crucial to the approval of the application.
Number one: evidence that you are currently living together.
Evidence of living together include lease agreement signed by both parties, jointly owned residential deed, mail addressed to each spouse that are sent to the joint address, third party documents that show that either spouse uses the joint address, and other evidence that would show parties are living together. It is strongly believed that couples who live together have bona fide marriage (marriage that is real and not simply for immigration purposes).
This evidence is even more convincing if you have children who were born into the marriage and you can show that you and your spouse live with the children. USCIS prefers that all evidence are submitted by copy, on letter size paper and include brief explanation of what the evidence intends to demonstrate and how it relates to the issue of bona fide marriage.
Number two: evidence that you and your spouse are commingling (combining) your finances.
Evidence of spouses combining their finances include evidence of joint bank or credit card accounts, joint health and car insurance, family cell phone plans, and other joint membership such as gym membership, commercial membership and club membership.
When submitting evidence of joint financial documents, it is important to submit every page of the document, not just the first page. USCIS will look through the bank statements to determine if spouses live together because if living apart the spending records will reveal two general locations of spending. Therefore, it is important to add your spouse to credit card and cell phone accounts, if possible, and print out the statements for each joint account for every month leading up to the green card interview.
Number three: show USCIS that everyone knows you are a married couple, that it is not a secret.
USCIS will expect to see a wedding album with pictures taken at the wedding. They are also expected to see photos with friends and family at the wedding. Of course, an elaborate wedding or reception is not required for the green card to be approved. However, the officer will want to know whether families and friends from each side is aware of your marriage, so it is important to introduce your spouse to friend and family members during gatherings and take pictures so that they become useful evidence to tell your story. A picture is worth a thousand words, so this is where a good set of pictures can really set the right tone for the interview.
USCIS will accept the fact that due to religious or social stigma spouses might not yet wish to reveal the marriage to friends and family members. If the applicant can explain to the satisfaction of the USCIS officer why the marriage has to be kept a secret, such as retribution for same sex marriage or disapproval of parents, the applications can still be approved.
Should you have any questions please feel free to reach out to our immigration lawyer for a free consultation.