When you're filing a marriage-based immigration petition with USCIS, or applying for a marriage-based visa with the U.S. Department of State, you must include sufficient evidence of a bona fide marriage. That means you must include sufficient evidence that the relationship is a true relationship, and not just for purposes of a green card. This evidence can include things like photos of the two of you together, especially with family and friends, joint financial documentation, joint lease or mortgage, etc. However, not every couple will have a lot of the "traditional" types of evidence, for all different reasons. And that's okay!

The type of evidence that is appropriate for your particular case will vary depending on how long you've been together, how long you have lived together (if at all yet), what the foreign national's immigration status is, etc. If you look at a list of "traditional" evidence of a bona fide marriage and worry that you don't have enough, take heart! Here are a few creative ideas to consider:

  • Travel documentation: If you have traveled together either domestically or internationally, you could use proof of your joint travel, including itineraries, photos, reservation confirmations, credit card statements, etc. Likewise, if one of you has traveled to visit the other, you could consider using some of this evidence.

  • Pet ownership: Even if you don't have children together, if you have furry family members and both of your names are listed on vet records or other pet documentation, that can be helpful. In addition, supplementing this with photos of you all with the pet can be helpful.

  • Joint projects or hobbies: What do you like to do together in your free time? Tell that story through your documentation! For example, do you both enjoy wildlife photography? Put together a quick and informal album of your shots including who took the shot, location, and date. It's even better if you have additional documentation to back that up, such as receipts for entrances into parks, credit card statements showing you ate a meal nearby, social media posts talking about your hobby, etc.

  • Family relationships: Do you talk to your in-laws on a regular basis? Screen shots of family text threads, emails back and forth coordinating family holidays or celebrations, or screen shots of FaceTime with family can be helpful as well.

This is only a sampling of the more creative evidence we've suggested our clients use to tell their story, and to provide evidence of a bona fide marriage.

If you are not yet a Sumner Immigration Law client and you’re looking for an experienced, empathetic, and efficient team to help you navigate the process with confidence, please contact us today and set up your initial consultation to get the process started! You can set an appointment online. You can also call us at 804-396-3412 or send us an email at info@sumnerimmigration.com. We are immigration lawyers in Richmond, VA but we serve clients throughout the U.S. and around the world. For more information on our firm visit Who We Are and What Makes Us Different! We look forward to hearing from you!

As always, the above information is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. Please speak with a qualified immigration lawyer before taking action.