If you are legally married to a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident in New Jersey, you may be eligible for a marriage green card. Many people have heard of “green card marriages” or marriages that are not based on a real relationship, but rather, take place solely to help one spouse become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. These marriages are considered fraudulent and therefore, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will take steps to ensure the legitimacy of any marriage before granting a marriage green card.
Proving your marriage is genuine to USCIS
USCIS considers several forms of evidence when determining whether your marriage is a ‘bona fide marriage,’ or in other words, a real marriage. Providing USCIS with the following evidence can help you establish that your marriage is legitimate:
- Proof of cohabitation: Mortgage documents, lease agreements, property deeds, and bills that show the names of both spouses, as well as driver’s licenses, credit card statements and other documents that show that both spouses have the same address.
- Proof of children you raise together: Birth or adoption certificates, school or medical records naming stepparent as emergency contact, family photos showing both spouses with the children/stepchildren, etc.
- Proof of joint finances: Joint bank account statements, joint credit card statements, joint income tax returns, insurance policies listing spouses as primary beneficiaries, etc.
- Other evidence: Wedding photos, vacation photos and other photos of you and your spouse taken during your relationship, letters, emails, and texts between you and your spouse, affidavits from friends and family, etc.
If you are applying for a marriage green card, a family immigration lawyer can help you submit Form I-130, along with your marriage certificate and any evidence you have proving the legitimacy of your marriage.
You will then apply for your marriage green card and attend your green card interview where the immigration officer will ask you questions to find out more about your relationship.
Once the interview is completed, you will wait for approval of your application. The process can take one to three years, depending on whether your spouse is citizen or green card holder and whether you currently live in the United States or abroad.