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Proving to U.S. immigration authorities that your marriage is genuine is the most basic requirement for obtaining a marriage-based green card.

In other words, it’s a legitimate marriage and not one for purposes of getting immigration benefits.

The U.S. government takes fraud in marriage-based green card cases very seriously. So you will have to provide substantial evidence that can convince them of the authentic nature of your marital relationship.

Documentation Required

To fill out Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), you need to show proof that your marriage is legal.

This includes:

  1. evidence of your spouse’s U.S. citizenship or permanent residence (birth certificate, passport, green card, etc.)
  2. your marriage certificate showing a lawful marriage
  3. termination of any prior marriages for both spouses
  4. joint ownership of property, joint lease, combined finances
  5. birth certificates of your kids together if applicable
  6. affidavits from family/friends who know of your relationship
  7. any other evidence of your ongoing marital union

As many from the above list of documents as possible will build you a strong case to begin.

The Interview Process

If your Form I-130 is accepted, the next big step is to meet with a U.S. immigration officer for an interview. This interview will assess whether your marriage is legitimate.

You and your spouse will likely be interviewed together and separately. Your answers will be compared to see if they correspond.

The officer will ask you some very personal questions:

  • How and when did you meet? Give details of your first dates?
  • What is your daily life together like? Sleeping habits, chores, etc.
  • Important dates and events in your relationship (birthdays, holidays, etc.)
  • Your spouse’s biographical details, family, jobs, etc.

You should be prepared to answer these types of private questions honestly and in detail. Inconsistent answers or lack of knowledge about your spouse could raise doubts. You don’t want that.

Now the officer may ask for yet more details and evidence about updated financial and phone records, travel itineraries together, and so forth. Keep this supplementary documentation organized and ready.

Maintaining Honesty and Composure

Throughout the marriage green card process – you must be completely honest and transparent. This is necessary.

Any inconsistencies or attempts to misrepresent your relationship will likely result in a denial.

The personal nature of the interview questions can make you feel awkward or uncomfortable. But it’s important to stay calm and give clear, honest answers.

To sum up, you need to:

  • thoroughly document your marriage from scratch
  • honestly recount your relationship history
  • stay calm during the interview

These are basic steps but rather overwhelming. There’s the stress of having your documents in order, for example, and not leaving important forms unchecked or incomplete.

Experienced immigration lawyers can handle these tasks for you and prepare you well for all steps in the process (including the interview) so it’s as smooth for you and your spouse as possible.

Click here for more information on Marriage Green Cards