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Navigating Marriage Green Card Documents for Immigration

23 Dec, 2023

Hi, I’m Immigration lawyer John Khosravi. Thank you for tuning in and watching this video. Today, we’re going to talk about the documents you need when you’re doing a Fiancé or Marriage Green Card. So it’s a very important question that I get asked frequently, but there’s a lot of different pieces of information and paperwork that are required in this process. And it varies depending on the foreign person’s background, the U.S. person’s background, if they’re going to go through the Embassy or through USCIS and complete the work, if they have criminal history, arrests, and all sorts of different things that become important in the process.

Overview of Mandatory Documents for a Marriage Green Card Case

A Green Card case based on Marriage or even a Fiancé Visa case has 3 major parts to it, which we have to prepare documents for. First of all, is this a real relationship? Is this marriage real? And that focus on the bona fide nature of the relationship has documentary requirements to satisfy and show the Government that this is not a fake relationship.

Proof of Relationship

Some people have longer relationships, some have shorter. And obviously, the longer the relationship you have, the more documentation and paperwork you have to prove it. Now, keep in mind that the Immigration Department only gets paper documents. So if you have videos and stuff, you cannot use those. But the typical things they’d like to see is financial history. One of them comes with property or lease agreements that have both of your names on them. Also, bank accounts or a history of bank accounts and/or credit cards become really important. Now, something clients do is sometimes they open an account and don’t use it, but they just have the same name on it. That itself does not have much value. They want to see a real account that has money go in it, it’s used, and no money goes down, money comes in and that’s the way they want to see it. Now sometimes, especially if you’re applying for Adjustment of Status in the United States, at the time of filing, you could start a bank account that’s new. So it doesn’t have much money in there, which is okay. But by the time the interview happens, you want to regularly use that account. So then at the interview, they see the updated bank statements. They show that it’s an active account. So the financial portion, being a resident or an ownership of property, lease agreement, and bank accounts checking accounts, maybe having someone as part of your will. All these become really important to show that you’re putting your money where your mouth is.

Travel History and Photos

Another thing that we do is travel history. So if you’ve flown to see each other or went on vacations together, we get the flight receipts that show you were on the same plane together, the stamps on your passport showing you went to the same locations together, and in general shows that you’re doing a lot of different stuff together. So obviously it’s a real relationship. Another thing is photos together, obviously. Now, we have clients sometimes come that don’t like taking photos. Some people don’t like taking photos, but it’s not a good idea not to have photos. It’s not the biggest thing to have photos, but what I think psychologically, when an officer is reviewing your case, and I’m looking at forms and papers and numbers and bank accounts, having color photos of who the couple are, it gives them a special feeling to say, “Oh, this is a real person. It’s just not another case number for me. This is a human being and a couple that are in love, and I can see that love in their eyes.” Especially if you provide wedding photos, for example. It makes it feel soft, and I think it psychologically helps the case a lot. So it’s really mandatory that you have photos together and then have photos with family and friends too, to show you’re part of a group. You’re putting yourself out there as a couple. And if you’ve been on vacation – let’s say you went somewhere famous. You went to Las Vegas and have photos next to the famous hotels there. Then you went to Paris and you’re next to the Eiffel Tower, or wherever it is that says a lot as well that you’re traveling together.

Relationship Records

So what you have to do is go back, think about all the things you did together. Did you write birthday cards together? Did you write Happy Valentine’s Day cards together? If you have those, scan those and use those copies as well. It’s very important to date those. So when you are writing these cards, put the date on them so you can reference, “Oh, this was 2018 when we wrote this.” “This was 2019.” Now some couples may have it easier because they have children. So the birth certificate from the children could satisfy that, but many other couples have newer marriages that come to me so that doesn’t exist. But another thing that we do is do what’s called a medical directive. I ask my clients and say, “Hey, get this form and sign that says, if I’m sick and I can’t make a decision for myself, my spouse could make that decision. And so that’s another way of showing that we’re a real couple. We trust each other with our money, with our health, with our future, with our property, all that kind of stuff.

Additional Relationship Evidence

Another thing that we do is make up for it by records of their interactions and communication. This could happen through apps for example, to show they consistently talk with each other, especially for newer relationships. Another thing that we do is travel history. So if you’ve flown to see each other or went on vacations together, we get the flight receipts that show you were on the same plane together, the stamps on your passport showing you went to the same locations together, and in general shows that you’re doing a lot of different stuff together. So obviously it’s a real relationship.

Background of the Foreign Person

With regards to the main parts of the case, they really want to look at the foreign person’s background and they do that by looking at their passport primarily, birth certificate, any previous marriage and divorce certificate – which should be included in that first part as well – to make sure who they’ve been with, who they married with. You want to see birth certificates of all children – that would be included in the first part as well. But here they want to do a civil document analysis of the person. If they’re going through Consular processing, which is getting the Green Card or Visa through the Embassy, they want to see a police certificate for every country they’ve ever really lived in. There’s timetables on that, but definitely in the home country and the country they were in at that time. If they’re inside the United States, they do not ask for police certificates. But if there have been arrests and convictions, they want to see records of those.

Financial Portion

Now historically, they would just want to see that the U.S. person who’s sponsoring the marriage case makes more than between $20,000 or $25,000 in the last couple of years. That was satisfying enough. We would send their tax return, their Form W-2 or Form 1099 that came with that tax return, and that would suffice. But nowadays, not only do I send the tax return with any attachments – Form W-2 and Form 1099 – but I also send tax transcripts. They want to see that, as well as pay stubs for the last 6 months or other proof of ongoing income.

Conclusion

This was a general overview of the documents you need to have in your mind to get prepared for a Marriage Green Card case. Hopefully that helped. Definitely download the Ultimate Marriage Green Card Ebook at marriageimmigrationlaw.com that has this information and more that can really be the initial step that you need to take to get the Green Card process started for you and your spouse. Congratulations on getting married and wanting to start your life in the United States. I wish you all the best.

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