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What Documents Do You Need To Prove Marriage?

When applying for a spousal visa whether through adjustment of status or consular processing, it is essential to provide evidence of a valid marriage. Evidence that a marriage was entered into for the right reasons and not just to gain immigration benefits is required by immigration authorities. In this piece, we’ll go over the paperwork and proof of marriage you’ll need to show immigration officials that your marriage is legitimate.

What is a Bona Fide Marriage?

Before delving into the specific documents, it’s important to understand what constitutes a legitimate marriage. A genuine and valid marital relationship founded on love, trust, and commitment is referred to as a bona fide marriage. Immigration officials look for evidence that shows a shared life together, indicating that the marriage is not a forgery.

Related Link: Green Card Application Tax Return: Is It Needed?

The Documents You’ll Need

In order to prove that you are legally married and your marriage is bona fide, you will need to present evidence in the form of official documents, unofficial documents, and from personal witnesses if you have them. These documents serve as tangible evidence of the shared life you both lead and the commitment you have made to one another. Let’s take a look at the important documentation that needs to be turned in so that the legitimacy of your marriage can be confirmed.

Proof You Live Together

One of the most compelling pieces of evidence that you are indeed married is the fact that you live together after you have officially tied the knot. You can demonstrate that you share a residence by providing evidence such as a joint lease agreement, a mortgage statement, or utility bills in both of your names. These are just a few examples of the types of evidence that you can use. One way to provide evidence that you both reside at the same address is to use this method. One way to show that you and another individual reside in the same location is to demonstrate that you both use the same address on documents that are individually addressed to each of you. Additionally, you have the option of submitting a copy of your lease agreement or an affidavit from your landlord or roommate that has been notarized and states that they are able to verify that the two of you live together. You are free to submit an affidavit from a witness attesting to your cohabitation that has been notarized as an additional option.

Related Link: New U Visa Update: Bona Fide Determination

What If You Don’t Live Together

If you are unable to prove your marriage by living together because of military service or other special circumstances, you may submit alternative evidence showing the bona fide nature of your marriage, such as your travel itineraries to visit your spouse, hotel bookings, insurance policies, photos together, text messages between the two of you, and letters of recommendation from loved ones who know about your marriage. 

Proof You Have Combined Your Finances

married couple filling out documents

The degree to which a married couple’s financial lives become intertwined is a strong indicator of the authenticity of their union. Documents such as joint bank account statements, credit card account statements, or investment account statements can be used to prove that money has been mixed. Joint bank accounts will have joint account statements. Joint checking and savings account statements are the most common form of these documents. Evidence of joint tax returns, insurance policies, or beneficiary designations in any of these will bolster your case even further. 

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Proof You Have Children Together

When a married couple has children together, this is one of the clearest signs that their union is valid and should be recognized as such. Include any documentation that attests to the fact that you and the other parent share custody of the children, such as records from the schools or doctors where the children attend. For instance, you could make the case that you and your partner share the responsibilities that come with being parents. On the copies of their birth certificates that you provide, you need to make sure that both of their parent’s names are listed. Additionally, copies of their birth certificates ought to be included in the package. You can strengthen the validity of your marriage by providing additional evidence, such as affidavits from your children’s pediatrician or teachers attesting to your involvement in your children’s lives and photographs of you and your spouse with your children. Including additional family portraits in your submission is one method for accomplishing this goal.  

Other Proof

You can bolster your argument as to the validity of your marriage by introducing unique evidence in addition to the documents we’ve already discussed. Wedding and family photos, joint membership cards, tickets to events you attended with your spouse, cards you have exchanged during holiday and birthday celebrations, and logs of shared interests and activities are all examples of things that might fall into this category.  Oftentimes couples will have a “memento” box of items that are meaningful to them in their relationship. Consider looking through yours if you have one to see what might be used to show the validity of your marriage.

Strong Evidence vs Weak Evidence

couple writing on a piece of paper

It is essential to have a good understanding of the distinction between solid evidence and flimsy evidence. Strong evidence includes official documents or records that unequivocally establish your marriage, such as tax returns that were filed jointly or a lease agreement that was signed jointly by both of you and proof that your marriage is based on love and not just the desire to gain lawful immigration status.  Items such as utility bills in one spouse’s name or photos with no context are examples of weak evidence. If you only rely on weak evidence, it is very possible that your marriage’s legality will be questioned. In some cases, what would be considered weak evidence if filed on its own, can actually still help a case if it is presented in conjunction with stronger evidence. Every case is unique. 

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Proving Your Marriage for Your Spousal Visa Application

When applying for a spousal visa or dealing with immigration issues, it is critical to provide thorough and convincing evidence. You can establish the genuineness of your marriage by gathering the necessary documents and personal evidence demonstrating your shared life, finances, children if you have them, and commitment. Remember to prioritize strong evidence that clearly establishes your relationship, with weaker evidence serving as supporting documentation. You increase your chances of success in your spousal visa application or immigration proceedings by presenting a comprehensive and compelling case.

Related Link: I-751 Form: Everything You Need To Know

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