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Increased Scrutiny on Marriage-based Green Card Petitions

July 6, 2021

By Attorney Indu Malhi

Marriage-based green card petitions are carefully scrutinized by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Marriage-based petitions have special priority and allow immigrant spouses to live, work, and study in the U.S. legally. One of the most significant reasons that I-130 petitions get denied, or marriage fraud is suspected, is because of lack of evidence of a bona fide marriage. In order to qualify, you must be able to show USCIS that you are sharing or have plans to share a life together.

There are several different ways to make a strong case that your marriage is genuine. USCIS wants to see that you’ve combined your financial assets and obligations. This can be demonstrated through providing joint bank account statements, titles or deeds to jointly owned property, mortgage or lease agreements showing joint responsibility, or reoccurring bills with both names. Another factor that USCIS considers is your residential history throughout the marriage. It is helpful to provide documentation such as joint mortgage or lease documents, utility bills with both names, deeds with both names, and copies of your driver’s licenses sharing the same address. 

In addition to finances and residential history, you can demonstrate the true nature of your marriage with evidence that you are raising children together or that you share common hobbies. The fact that you are raising a family together can be verified through photos displaying both spouses with their children or stepchildren, copies of birth certificates or adoption certificates, and/or an original letter from your medical provider attesting to a current pregnancy or fertility treatments. Common hobbies can be displayed through photos throughout your relationship with friends, traveling, or at events that you have attended together. 

Due to this increased scrutiny on marriage-based petitions, it is important to document your marriage over time and provide sufficient evidence of your bona fide marriage along with your petition. A finding of marriage fraud could prevent you from seeking any other immigration benefits, not to mention significant criminal penalties for involvement in marriage fraud. 
If you are interested in filing for a marriage-based green card, please reach out to our immigration team for legal advice and assistance in preparing a strong petition.

 

If you need help with immigration issues, call CTM Legal Group today at 312-818-6700.