Bona Fide Marriage Requirements

Relationship Requirements for a Marriage-Based Green Card

What are the relationship requirements for a Green Card through marriage?

You must be legally married to qualify for a marriage-based visa or green card. You do not need to have been married in the U.S. for your marriage to be considered legal. A legal marriage is one that is officially recognized by the government in the country or state where you were married. It is perfectly acceptable if you marry in your home country or in some other destination of your choice. A variety of marriage procedures may also be recognized if they are considered as legally valid in that country. This usually means that an official record of your marriage has been made or can be obtained from some government office in the locale where you married. You will need to provide this type of document to show you were legally married. The most common documentation is a marriage certificate issued by a legitimate governmental agency.

Your Marriage Must Be “Bona Fide” for a U.S. Green Card Petition

When two people get married and intend to establish a life together as spouses, the marriage is bona fide. A marriage entered into for the sole purpose of getting a green card is not bona fide. It’s called a “sham” or “fraudulent” marriage, and the USCIS tries to uncover these fake marriages and will refuse to issue green cards. The USCIS is very strict in determining whether a marriage is bona fide. The USCIS will ask many questions during the course of your application process and will demand extensive documentation to show that you are establishing a life together. Click here for a list of sample questions that an officer may ask at the adjustment of status interview.

If you have any questions or concerns about whether your marriage will be questioned by immigration officials when you apply for a U.S. green card, feel free to contact our immigration and green card attorneys in Los Angeles. We are ready to help with all of your U.S. immigration, green card, and visa needs.

One Spouse must be a Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident of the United States to Petition for a Marriage Based Green Card

U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents (or green card holders) are the only U.S. residents with the rights to obtain permanent residence or green cards for their spouses. People with visas or work permits only have temporary rights to live in the United States and cannot petition for their spouse to become a permanent resident. We serve immigrants and U.S. citizens in the Greater Los Angeles area and surrounding counties of Southern California. We have helped people from many countries around the world, and can help you with any of your immigration or visa issues. Call or email our experienced immigration, visa and green card attorneys at our Los Angeles office.

You and Your Spouse Can only Have One Current Marriage to Apply for a Green Card

To obtain a green card for your spouse, this must be you and your spouse’s only current marriage. Any previous marriages must have ended by legal means, such as death, divorce, or annulment. If you or your spouse had previous marriage(s), you will have to present the official documents to prove that the marriage ended, such as a death or divorce certificate. Otherwise, USCIS will wonder whether your new marriage just a sham to get a green card.