Marriage FAQs - Evidence of a Valid Marriage

At the USCIS interview for marriage-based petitions, the USCIS officer questions both the husband and wife to make a determination whether the marriage is real. The officer also looks at the documentation submitted by the parties to determine whether the marriage seems to be real. In many instances, the USCIS officer will attempt to obtain documentation starting from the first months of marriage until the date of the interview. The USCIS officer will likely be impressed where the parties show apartment leases, bank accounts, pictures, assets and other documents dating back to the early months of marriage through the date of the interview. The more documentation that is provided, the more likely that the petition will be granted. Here is a list of documents that may be helpful in showing a joint life:

    • Evidence of children born to marriage (birth certificate)
    • Evidence of joint property (mortgage or lease contract)
    • Joint income tax returns (filed together)
    • Utility bills with both names reflecting your current address together (electric bills, water bills, phone bills)
    • Evidence of joint finances (joint checking account, joint loans, bank statements, letter from bank)
    • Evidence of joint purchases (automobiles, furniture, washer/dryer, refrigerator, etc.)
    • Evidence of joint insurance policies (life, health, automobile, house)
    • Wedding pictures / vacation pictures / holiday pictures of the husband and wife (and other family members if they were with you)
    • Letters and other correspondences to one another (birthday cards, holiday cards, e-mails)
    • Letters from family, friends, landlord, neighbors, etc, that could attest to marriage
    • Documents if the wife took her husband’s last name (driver’s license, ID cards, ATM card, membership cards, i.e. health club or video stores)

One should start collecting such evidence throughout the months and years of marriage.