We're really married -- how do we prove it for green card purposes?


I'm married to a U.S. citizen, and my green card interview is coming up. I'm having trouble collecting documents to show we're truly married. We have very few assets in both our names. Since we're older and don't get out much, we have hardly any photos together. Will they think we're faking it?


Photos aren't everything in proving a real marriage -- if they were, anyone committing marriage fraud would have an easy time of it, as long as they could keep a smile pasted on long enough for the camera to click.

You say that you don't have joint assets -- but do you have separate assets or obligations whose statements are sent to the same address? For example, if the house title shows your name but your spouse receives monthly bank statements there, copies of both items will help show that you live together.

Also, there may be things you hold jointly that you haven't thought of -- car registrations, insurance, magazine subscriptions, club memberships, and the like. Have either of you named the other as a beneficiary on your health insurance or retirement plan? If so, your employer should be able to give you copies of these documents. Even letters from friends addressed to the two of you may help.

The important thing is to show that you're establishing a life together and trust each other with your financial and other affairs. Depending on when your interview is, it may not be too late to apply for a joint bank account or credit card.

After all of this, relax. If your paperwork is in order, the two of you speak the same language, and you can answer a few basic questions about how you met and married, USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, formerly called the INS) is unlikely to give you an exhaustive grilling.

For more information and tips on preparing your paperwork and surviving your interview, see Nolo's articles on "Marriage-Based Visas and Green Cards" and the book Fiancé & Marriage Visas: A Couple's Guide to U.S. Immigration.

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