7/21/2017

33 Great Documents for Proving a Bona Fide marriage on an I-751 Petition or adjustment of status marriage case

Documents Used to Prove a Bona Fide Marriage

A marriage certificate proves the legality of a marriage, but it doesn’t prove that the marriage is genuine for the purposes of starting a life together. USCIS wants to confirm that the marriage was entered in “good faith” and was not for the purpose of circumventing immigration laws. When filing Form I-751, you will also be asked to submit copies of as many documents as you can to establish this fact and to demonstrate the circumstances of the relationship from the date of marriage to the present date. The documents can include but are not be limited to the following examples:

Evidence of Cohabitation
Generally, a married couple will live together. Although cohabitation is not always the case, it’s an indicator and good evidence to establish the couple has a bona fide marriage. The following are examples of acceptable documents to be used as evidence of cohabitation:
  • Deed to property showing both names
  • Mortgage or loan documents showing both names
  • Lease agreement showing both names
  • Drivers’ licenses or IDs showing the same address
  • Bank statements showing the same address
  • Voided or cancelled checks showing the same address
  • Utility bills showing the same address (electricity, water, gas, trash, cable, internet, cell phone, etc.)
  • Property insurance agreements, statements, or cards showing the same address
  • Health and life insurance statements showing the same address
  • Correspondence from friends, family, or businesses showing the same address
  • Affidavits from friends, family, neighbors, and landlords attesting to cohabitation (see section on affidavits)

Evidence of Raising Children Together
Proof of a child born into the marriage is compelling evidence of a genuine marital relationship. But it’s not necessary that you had children born into the marriage or have any children at all. Adopted or step-children raised in the household may also help establish the bona fide marriage. The following are examples of acceptable documents to be used as evidence of raising children together:
  • Birth certificates showing both spouses as parents
  • Adoption certificates showing both spouses as parents
  • Medical records evidencing an ongoing pregnancy
  • Evidence of a relationship with children or step-children (photos, vacation itineraries, school records, affidavits from friends, family, and teachers)
  • Evidence showing the non-related parent as an emergency contact for a step-child on school records, doctor’s records, etc.
Evidence of Commingling of Finances
Married couples will generally combine financial resources. This commingling of finances of finances is strong evidence of your good faith marriage. Even if you prefer to keep your finances separate, you may have some evidence of commingling that you may not realize. The following are examples of acceptable documents to be used as evidence of commingling of finances:
  • Bank statements for joint checking, savings, and credit card accounts
  • Voided and cancelled checks for joint accounts
  • Statements for joint loans or loans where one spouse is a co-signor for the other spouse
  • Copies of bank statements from separate accounts and cancelled checks showing that you share jointly in your financial responsibilities and big purchases (for example, if each spouse pays half of rent from a separate account or if each spouse paid one half toward the purchase of a car)
  • Joint health, life, property, and auto insurance agreements, statements, and cards
  • Utility bills showing both names (electricity, water, gas, trash, cable, internet, cell phone, etc.)
  • Tax returns filed as married showing both names
  • Documents showing joint ownership of real property, cars, or investments
  • Life insurance policies, wills, and trusts, designating your spouse as a beneficiary

Evidence of Intimacy
In most cases, couples filing Form I-751 are new to marriage. They’re in the “honeymoon phase” and are probably enjoying life experiences together. There are probably plenty records to demonstrate this. The following are examples of acceptable documents to be used as evidence of intimacy:
  • Photos from the couple’s wedding, honeymoon, vacations, family dinners, holidays, etc. (Recommendation: List the names of any other individuals in the photos as well as the approximate date and location.)
  • Travel itineraries and hotel bookings from joint vacations or trips
  • Photos from joint vacations or trips, particularly trips abroad to visit family members
  • Tickets to events you both attended or plan to attend
  • Receipts for any gifts you have purchased for each other
  • Cards from friends and family congratulating you on your wedding, anniversary, or other joint life events
  • Evidence that each spouse has met or communicated with the other spouse’s parents and relatives such as photos, letters, cards, or emails
  • Phone and text message records showing that you and your spouse communicate on a regular basis
  • Social media records such as screen shots of Facebook pages, posts and Twitter messages that show you spending life events together

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