Documenting a Marriage
As part of proving that your marriage is real, you need to provide documentation of your intertwined lives. Documents showing things such as joint ownership of property, joint bank or investment accounts, joint leases agreements, birth certificates of any children, and other similar documents help prove your case. However, if you have recently married, you may not paper documentation of your relationship. In that case, you should provide third party testimony about the authenticity of your relationship. I usually suggest that my clients submit anywhere between 5 to 15 letters of support from family and friends.
Affidavits from Friends and Family
You can submit affidavits from family members, friends, religious leaders, community members, landlords, neighbors, and others as part of your application. A letter should be from someone who is familiar with you as a couple and can attest to the authenticity of your marriage. The affidavit submitted to USCIS should generally cover what the writer has observed of your relationship, but the letter should also cover these specific items:
- Full name, address, date of birth, and the birthplace of the writer;
- Relationship to you and your spouse;
- An account of your relationship, including: (1) how the writer met you and your spouse; (2) how long the writer has known you; (3) how often the writer sees or socializes with you and your spouse; and (4) the nature of the writer’s relationship with you and your spouse;
- Date and signature; and
- Photocopy of the writer’s state license/ID or passport.
Even with great documentation of your marriage, some issues that may make it more difficult or even impossible for certain immigrants to get spouse visas. For example, criminal issues, misuse of visas, fraud or misrepresentation, unauthorized time in the U.S., and deportation/removal from the U.S. may change the spouse’s eligibility for the green card.
I recommend that everyone consult with me or another experienced immigration attorney before beginning the green card application process. Even if you decide to proceed without an attorney, I can explain what is involved in the immigration process and whether legal issues may complicate your family member’s application. I work with clients around the world to help make the immigration process less confusing and as efficient as possible.