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How to Prove a "Bona Fide" Marriage or Relationship for the Immigration Purpose


I will apply for U.S. Green Card soon for my newly marriaged wife who is now in her home country. How to prove a "bona fide" marriage or relationship for the immigration purpose?


To obtain a U.S. Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card) based on marriage, the petitioner has to prove that the marriage is real or "bona fide". This means a marriage in which the two people intend, from the start, to establish a life together as husband and wife.

Although marriage can mean different things to different people, a marriage entered into for the sole purpose of getting the immigrant a U.S. Green Card is clearly not bona fide. It’s called a “sham” or “fraudulent” marriage.

Uncovering sham marriages is a top priority of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which believes that a high number of the marriage-based green card applications it receives are fraudulent. USCIS is well aware that some U.S. citizens accept money to marry a foreign-born person, and some even create illegal, organized services that arrange marriages between U.S. citizens and green card seeking foreign nationals.

The result is that, when it comes to deciding whether a marriage is "bona fide", USCIS will take a hard look, and expect the applicant to provide plenty of solid proof that their marriage is real. Below are some ways that you can prepare to supply the needed proof, including steps you can take far in advance.

  • make your spouse a beneficiary on your retirement account or other accounts that require or allow a payout to a beneficiary upon the holder’s death;
  •  make sure that both spouses are covered under your health insurance policy, if the other spouse doesn't have his or her own insurance;
  •  if you live together, add your spouse to your house deed, mortgage, or apartment lease;
  •  if you live together, add your spouse’s name to your garbage, utility, cable, and other bills;
  • take out a joint credit card;
  •  open a joint bank account;
  •  file joint tax returns;




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