Proving a marriage is bona fide for a spousal green card

In most cases, in order to get a green card, you must have a sponsor. This sponsor can be a spouse, a parent, a child, or even an employer. In this blog we will be discussing one of the most important aspects of a spousal sponsorship, which is proving a marriage is bona fide.

What does proving a marriage is bona fide mean?

The term “bona fide” means real or genuine. In this situation, the government wants to make sure that the marriage is legitimate, not a fake or a sham. In particular, they want to make sure the marriage was based on love, not solely for immigration purposes.

What is the government looking for?

Once a person has filed their green card application, the government will schedule the applicant an interview. During this interview they will be looking at four key factors to assist in proving a marriage is bona fide.

  1. Visual assessment – The old saying, “first impressions are the best impressions” comes to mind here. The officer is going to view the couple to see how they look together. Do they appear to be from wildly different backgrounds or religions?
  2. Behavioral keys – The officer will look to see how the couple acts around each other. Do they seem like a happily married couple? Or do they seem uncomfortable and unsure of each other?
  3. Documentation – This is quite possibly the most important aspect of the application. The government wants to see the comingling of different aspects of the couple’s life.  Depending on an individual situation, this could include  finances, residence, children, etc.
  4. Personal questions – At this point in the interview the officer will ask personal questions about the couple. For example, he might ask how the couple met, where they like to go out for dinner, even questions as simple as where the couple does their grocery shopping.

Other important facts:

The burden of proof for proving a marriage is bona fide falls upon the applicant, not the sponsoring spouse. So make sure that in considering a spousal green card sponsorship you have enough evidence to support that the marriage is one of love. If an officer does not believe the couple was married for the right reasons, he could deny the application.

If you’re considering applying for a green card, let one of our immigration attorneys help you. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.

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