Ann Elise McCaffrey, Esq.


from the world of immigration law and defense

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Proving that your marriage is "real".... can be harder than you think!

There are specific documents that you need to provide to USCIS or to the Immigration Judge to prove that your marriage “was not entered into for the purpose of evading immigration laws” or that your marriage is a “good faith marriage.” Know what documents you need to provide so that you avoid problems and delays in your application. The application process can be quick when you are prepared… don’t drag out your green card application by doing it on your own. I have worked with many couples, who tried to navigate this process on their own, only to get stuck because they did not have the proof that they needed. I helped these couples get their approvals, but they wasted time and became frustrated with the delays. Under the immigration laws, you need to have “clear and convincing evidence” that your marriage is real and that you are not using the process just to get a green card. You will not get an approval on your green card application if you cannot meet this standard.

With my assistance, I can be sure that your application meets the requirements and gets approved quickly. These documents provide important proof that you are not merely married as a convenient way to get a green card.

For instance, you must prove that you and your husband/wife live together. Do you have a joint lease? If you own property, is it under both of your names and are both of you paying the mortgage? You must be able to show “cohabitation,” that you live together and share a residence.

The next biggest requirement is that you share your finances. You must be able to provide copies of statements from a joint bank account. You can also show proof of insurance policies that are in both of your names. You must show that you file taxes as a married couple.

Immigration officers will look to these financial and contractual documents as proof that a bank, insurance company or other business conducts business with both of you as a couple. If you already have children, their birth certificates will also constitute proof of a real marriage.

Married couples can provide other documents too, such as affidavits and anything else that will convince the immigration officials that the marriage is a real one. An experienced lawyer can help you figure out what other documents you may need and how to get them.

If your green card application does not include the necessary proof of a real marriage, immigration officials may decide to ask you to provide more evidence or attend interviews separately for you to provide sworn testimony separately about the intimate details of your marriage.

For some people, who are granted two-year conditional residence, they will have to show proof that their marriage is real again in order to receive the permanent resident card. With so many hoops to jump through, get a good lawyer on your side.

Even if you already have all the documents that are listed above, consider having a lawyer file your application for you. Besides the issue of whether or not your marriage seems like a real and true marriage, there are other issues that can arise with the affidavit of support or the scheduling of a consular interview, for example. Not to mention that the penalties for entering into a fraudulent marriage - solely for immigration benefits – are harsh.

Call my office for a consultation. I work with all couples – same sex couples and opposite sex couples!

Elise McCaffrey