The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is extremely effective when it comes to anticipating and identifying marriage-related fraud in visa applications. Accordingly, a US citizen spouse filing Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) must prove to USCIS that the relationship with the foreign beneficiary spouse is real.
In this article, you will discover the type of evidence to submit along with Form I-130 to prove a bona fide marriage.
What Evidence Do I Need to File I-130? – The Essentials
When filing Form I-130, applicants must submit several documents as part of the application. Ultimately, the goal is to prove to USCIS that the marriage was entered by both spouses in good faith (bona fide) and that the relationship is not a scheme to deceive US Immigration.
Evidence of Joint Ownership
Joint ownership may provide solid proof of a bona fide marriage to USCIS. Primarily, the ideal approach is proving the couple actually lives together under the same roof, so feasible evidence would be:
- A property deed showing both spouses’ names
- Purchase contracts showing both spouses’ names
- Closing papers showing both spouses’ names
- Mortgage agreements in both spouses’ names
- Property tax bills/utility bills
- Rental agreements (signed by both spouses)
- Rent receipts showing both spouses’ names
- Correspondence between the couple and the landlord
- Auto registrations showing joint ownership or addresses
- Copies of both spouses’ drivers licenses showing a matching address
- Letters from friends or relatives to either or both spouses mailed to a matching address
Joint ownership of financial assets also provides solid evidence of a bona fide relationship between a married couple. Typically, someone who is attempting to deceive USCIS to obtain a marriage visa is not willing to combine financial assets.
Accordingly, strong evidence of a marriage entered in good faith also include:
- Saving accounts title in both spouses’ names
- Joint bank statements
- Retirement accounts wherein one spouse designated the other as a beneficiary (e.g., pension accounts, 401(k), etc.)
- Investment accounts (e.g., stocks, bonds, derivatives)
- Mutual funds
Evidence of Joint Responsibility Regarding Monetary Liabilities and Welfare
Life as a couple is not made only of jointly owned assets, but also joint debts, insurance, and welfare. Accordingly, documents that may prove that a couple has taken joint responsibilities for financial liabilities and welfare include:
- Joint income tax returns
- Credit card statements showing both spouses’ names
- Loans obtained for a major purchase including the names of both spouses
- Financial transfers from one spouse to the other (e.g., wire transfers, bank transfers, paychecks, etc.)
- Health insurance policies wherein one spouse have made the other a beneficiary
- Insurance statements
- Estate planning tools naming both spouses (e.g., last will, trust, power of attorney, etc.)
Evidence that the Couple is Raising a Family Together
While having children is not a requirement to prove the marriage was entered in good faith, the existence of children may help to prove to USCIS that the relationship is real.
In this context, several documents serve to demonstrate a couple is raising children together, such as birth certificates of children born to the couple (showing both spouses’ names) and medical statements from a doctor showing the wife is pregnant or undergoing fertility treatment.
For parents of adopted children, it is possible to submit a copy of the adoption certificate, as well as school or medical records showing both spouses’ names designated as parents.