Evidence for Filing Form I-751
There is one main reason why marrying a U.S. citizen is a comparatively quick way for a foreigner to obtain a green card. This is because the UCSIS doesn’t have a cap on the number of marriage based green cards annually, as occurs with either types of family based green card applications. This doesn’t mean it is a simple process, as the U.S. government is fully aware that there are those that take part in marriage vows to escape returning to their own country, rather than as a result of a the forming of a genuine bond.
Going through marital problems? Be sure to read our Blawg post: Filing for Naturalization or a Green Card When Your Marriage is Shaky.
Going through a divorce? Read about the 2013 I-751 Waiver Memo.
Apart from the possibility of a prison term for anyone caught abusing the green card marriage facility, the U.S. government does have checks and balances in place. One of these is the submission of a I-751 petition after 2 years of marriage. If the marriage at the time of the green card application has been within 2 years of this application, the green card will only be valid for 2 years.
Recently married couples are often very busy people and when it comes to filing the I-751 petition they may overlook the instructions. These are mainly to do with providing sufficient proof of the marriage. If this is not provided it may be necessary to attend another green card interview to prove their marriage status.
Documents proving marriage
Some people will assume that the marriage certificate is enough to prove the legitimacy of a marriage but immigration judges and USCIS adjudicators are not after that at all.
They prefer the following documents that stretch over the previous 2 years.
Do NOT underestimate your burden of proof in an I-751! The biggest mistake you can make is thinking, "We've done nothing wrong, and we're in love with each other, so we have nothing to hide." If you file a case with a lot of holes, don't expect USCIS or an immigration judge to fill in the blanks the way you would.
The best thing to do is set up a folder at the beginning of the 2 year period so that useful evidence can be added throughout the time. A portfolio of photographs covering the two years showing you together is a great hit with immigration officials including of course wedding photos. They shouldn’t be necessarily formal but ones illustrating the things that you have done together over the two years. If all the evidence shows you have an active, true relationship then the green card marriage will be approved.
If you are concerned where you stand in relation to your green card marriage, contact an immigration attorney who will walk you through the process.