Marriage to the U.S. citizen is the most common and fastest way of getting a green card for a foreign national. If a foreign national marries a U.S. citizen the foreign national becomes an immediate relative of the U.S. spouse. The biggest advantage of being classified as an immediate relative for immigration purposes is they can immigrate to the United States without being subject to any numerical restrictions, unlike other close family members of the U.S. citizen. Immigrant visas are always available for immediate relatives of the U.S. citizen and they can apply for the permanent resident status without having to deal with any waiting time.
Bona Fide Marriage
In order to obtain a green card based on marriage, you will have to prove that the marriage is bona fide. Bona fide marriage means a marriage in which the two people intend, from the start, to establish a life together as husband and wife.
The main concern of the USCIS is to ensure that husband and wife have not entered into marriage to evade immigration laws. USCIS is well aware that some U.S. citizens accept money to marry foreign national. That’s why the officer has the authority to question the couple as to the validity of the marriage, bringing up any apparent discrepancies in the paperwork, and requesting more evidence of existence of marital relationship.
Copies of the following types of documents can be useful in proving that the marriage is real. This list is not exhaustive, and couples do not need to have every one of these items. Nevertheless, couples should gather as many documents as they can to show the existence of marital relationship.
- Photos of you taken before and during marriage, wedding photos;
- Joint bank accounts, joint credit card statements;
- Joint tax returns filed together as married couple;
- Copies of letters and emails between you;
- Phone bills;
- Lease agreement or mortgage showing that you have lived together;
- Previous hotel and flight tickets showing the trips that you took together;
- Utility bills in both your names;
- Car, health, or life insurance that has both of your names on the policy;
- Documents showing your joint property (warranty deed, car title).