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Bona Fide Marriage Documentation for US Immigration Purposes

The US government considers marriage to be bona fide when it is entered into with the intention of establishing a life together and not just as a means of obtaining an immigration benefit. For example, if the couple lives together and shares finances; has children together; or even goes on vacations together, these are all signs that their relationship is genuine and not just for show. In such cases, it’s likely that the couple will be able to prove to the US government that their marriage meets the requirements for being considered “bona fide”. 

How to Prove Your Marriage Is Genuine? 

The most important thing you can do when proving your relationship, bona fide is to provide evidence of your shared life together. This includes documents such as joint tax returns, rental agreements or mortgage documents showing both parties’ names, shared bank accounts or credit card statements, photos from trips taken together, etc. These documents can help establish that you share financial responsibility and other mutual obligations which indicates you are living in a genuine relationship. Additionally, letters from family members or friends attesting to your relationship can also prove valuable in demonstrating your commitment is real. 

Bona Fide Marriage Documentation for US Immigration Purposes

A marriage is considered bona fide if it is genuine and not entered into to gain an immigration advantage. When applying for a Green Card, or permanent residency in the United States, through marriage to a U.S. citizen, couples must prove that their marriage is legitimate. This article will discuss the specific documents required to demonstrate bona fide marriage status for US Immigration purposes. 

Marriage Certificate- The primary document needed to demonstrate a bona fide marriage is the original or certified copy of your marriage certificate. It should be issued by the government office where you obtained your marriage license and include both spouses’ names and signatures of the officiant and witnesses as applicable. It should also be valid in the country where it was issued, as well as any other countries you may have lived in together since getting married. 
Proof of Joint Residency- Another type of documentation you need to provide to demonstrate bona fide marriage documents proving joint residency. These can include copies of leases or mortgages showing both your names; utility bills with both your names listed; or bank statements showing shared accounts with both your names on them. In addition, any other documents that can show an ongoing relationship between you and your spouse should also be included such as joint tax returns, joint insurance policies, or even travel itineraries with both your names on them.
Financial Records- Financial records are another way to prove that your relationship is real and ongoing. Documents such as pay stubs, W-2 forms, tax returns, and bank statements should all be included in this category of evidence. Financial records are especially important if one spouse is dependent on the other financially or has provided financial support during the relationship.   

The most important thing when providing documents for US Immigration purposes related to a bona fide marriage is making sure that all documents are current and up-to-date. Also,  make sure that all information provided can be verified by an independent source if necessary. Providing valid proof that your relationship is real will help ensure that everything goes smoothly when applying for permanent residency through a US citizen spouse so be sure to gather all relevant documentation beforehand!

US Immigration Implications 

Having a bona fide marriage can have implications on several aspects related to US immigration including eligibility for certain visas, green cards, naturalization, deportation proceedings, etc. Specifically, having a valid marital relationship can make someone eligible for certain types of visas since spouses can petition on behalf of their partner if they meet certain criteria (e.g., income requirements). Similarly, if someone has been living in the United States on an expiring visa but has since gotten married to another citizen or green card holder, they may be able to stay in the country through an adjustment of status process based on their new marital status. Finally, being in a bona fide marriage can also help with deportation proceedings since spouses may be able to petition on behalf of their partner if they are facing removal from the United States due to criminal activity or other issues related to their immigration status.  

Evidence of Cohabitation 

One of the most important pieces of evidence that must be provided when seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa is proof of cohabitation. You must demonstrate that you have lived together in one household for at least two years before filing your petition. Documents such as rental agreements or leases showing both parties’ names, utility bills with both parties’ names listed, and any other document demonstrating joint residence can help prove cohabitation. 

Proof of Financial Interdependence 

In addition to providing evidence of cohabitation, you must also provide proof of financial interdependence. Joint bank accounts and credit card statements are a great way to demonstrate this. Other documents such as tax returns may also be submitted as evidence of financial interdependence if they indicate that both parties are listed on the same return or have shared income information.  

Proof of Social Interaction 

Finally, it is important to show that you have social ties with each other through family members or close friends by submitting documents such as letters from family members or friends attesting to your relationship. Photographs taken together during special occasions or vacations can also serve as proof of social interaction between the two individuals involved in the relationship. 

Bona fide marriage documentation is essential when applying for an immigrant visa to enter the United States. It is important to provide as much evidence as possible to demonstrate a legitimate marriage and not one entered into solely for immigration purposes. By providing evidence such as rental agreements, utility bills, tax returns, joint bank accounts/credit card statements, photographs, and letters from family/friends attesting to your relationship – you will greatly increase your chances of being granted entry into the US under an immigrant visa status. 

Proving your Marriage is Legitimate 

When submitting documents to USCIS, you must provide clear and convincing evidence that proves your marriage is genuine and not just an arrangement made with the intent of obtaining immigration benefits. Some of the most common forms of documentation include birth certificates, joint bank accounts, joint tax returns, joint insurance policies, photographs, letters from family members and friends confirming the legitimacy of the union, proof of cohabitation in a shared residence, and more. 

The USCIS has strict guidelines for determining the bona fides of a marriage. Some of these include proving that you have shared responsibilities in the care or upbringing of any children born out of the union; showing that you both intend to stay married over time; demonstrating that you are involved in each other’s lives financially; showing how you support each other emotionally; providing evidence that you are living together regularly; and more. It is important to note that simply having all these documents will not guarantee acceptance by USCIS—each piece must be examined carefully to ensure its authenticity.  

In addition to providing documentation supporting your relationship status, it is also important to provide evidence that both parties are legally free to marry each other. This includes copies of any divorce decrees or death certificates for prior spouses if applicable. It is also essential to make sure all paperwork is up-to-date and accurate at all times as discrepancies can lead to delays or denials from USCIS.  

Submitting Bona fide Marriage Documentation for US Immigration Purposes can be complex due to the extensive list of requirements set forth by the USCIS. However, with proper planning and preparation, it is possible for couples wishing to immigrate together to do so without any issues arising from their application process. If you need assistance with preparing your application package or understanding what documentation needs to be provided, please reach out to us today.