People who immigrate to Illinois on marriage visas may have to prove that their marriages are real to adjudicators with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service. Proving that a marriage is bona fide is crucial because the USCIS is focused on preventing immigration that is based on fraudulent marriages. When people first immigrate based on their marriages to U.S. citizens, they will go through a period of conditional residence during which the USCIS will scrutinize their relationships to make certain they are real. People should make sure they have their documents together so they can offer evidence of the validity of their marriages. The adjudicators are trained to look for signs that a marriage might be fraudulent. If the USCIS finds that a marriage was a sham, the immigrant may be deported and the citizen may face legal penalties.
Signs That a Marriage Might Be Fraudulent
USCIS adjudicators are trained to look for signs that a marriage might be fraudulent. If these factors exist, the adjudicator may scrutinize a petition more closely. Some of these signs include:
- Substantial age difference
- Not speaking each other’s language
- Family members don’t know about the marriage
- Living separately since the marriage
- The citizen filed previous marriage petitions for others
While these signs do not necessarily mean that a marriage is fraudulent, their presence will lead an adjudicator to question the petitioner and the immigrant more closely. If there is a disparity in the answers they provide, or the documentation that they have provided is inadequate, problems can arise.
Preparing Evidence of a Bona Fide Marriage
It is a good idea for spouses to begin preparing for their petitions long before it is time for them to be submitted. When people file their I-751 petitions, they will also need to submit as many documents as they can that offer evidence that their marriages are real. In addition to a marriage certificate, as many other documents as possible should be provided. Some of these might include titles to vehicles that are in both names, deeds to property in both names, lease agreements, health, and life insurance policies, and other documents that show joint ownership or joint responsibility.
Once the USCIS is satisfied that a marriage that has lasted for two years is real, the conditional status will be changed. The immigrant will then receive a green card.