Through a marriage to an American citizen, an immigrant can become a lawful permanent resident in the United States. Indeed, marital relationships are among the most common and straightforward paths to a green card. Though, getting a green card through marriage is not as simple as checking a few boxes.
Quite the contrary, there are a number of hurdles that must be cleared. Perhaps the biggest challenge couples face asks: How do I prove to U.S. immigration officials that my marriage is real? Here, our Los Angeles fiancé(e) visa attorney explains the key things you need to know about proving the validity of your relationship.
Proving the Validity of a Marriage: Two Primary Methods
If you cannot prove that you are in a ‘bona fide relationship’, then your application for a fiancé(e) visa or spousal visa will be denied on those grounds. Applicants have two primary opportunities to establish the authenticity of their marriage:
- Documentation: To start, immigration officials will review your application. As described by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an I-130 petition is the application package that must be used to establish a relationship with an eligible relative. The more documents you have to prove the marriage, the better. Some examples of documentary evidence that can be useful include joint bank accounts, evidence of commingling of financial assets, and proof of residence at the same addresses.
- Green Card Interview: Next, a couple will have an opportunity to prove that they are in a bona fide marriage during their green card interview. In most cases, the couple will be permitted to sit for the interview together. Though, if immigration officers suspect fraud, they may require separate green card interviews. What type of questions are asked during a green card marriage interview? Check out the quick test put together by The New York Times. For more detailed preparation, consult with an experienced immigration lawyer.
Real World Tip: Bring Your House Keys
One of the things that you learn in representing clients in green card marriage interviews is that the key to getting a green card through marriage is proving that the couple actually lives together. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles District Office of USCIS, the interviewer actually asked to see each of our client’s house keys. This is a somewhat offbeat example of the kind of things that immigration officials are looking for in an interview. Remember, they may ask:
- Does the couple actually know each other well?
- Do the stories of their relationship line up?
- Do they live together, as a married couple?
Call Our Los Angeles Green Card Lawyer for Immediate Help
At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our Los Angeles-based immigration lawyer has extensive experience representing clients in fiancé(e) visa and spousal visa cases. We will protect your rights. To get a completely confidential initial consultation, please call us. We represent clients throughout Southern California, including in Los Angeles, Downey, Pasadena, Burbank, and Santa Monica.