The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows those married to U.S. citizens to apply for a family-based immigrant visa (immediate relative). However, due to the possibility of entering the marriage to avoid immigration laws, the department requires applicants to establish the validity of the marriage – aside from the marriage certificate – to prove it was entered in good faith.
Here is how you can do this:
If you can prove you live with your spouse, you can establish the validity of your marriage. Examples of documents that can help you prove this include joint mortgage or lease documents and rent receipts/utility bills with both your names.
Bank statements, credit card statements and letters that show the same address for both of you are also helpful.
If you and your spouse don’t live together, you can send a letter to the USCIS explaining your situation. You may need a solid reason for not living together.
You can provide the USCIS with pictures of your wedding, honeymoon and those taken throughout the relationship. You can also submit your photos with friends and family members.
Proving you and your spouse are raising children together (from your current and previous relationships) is another way to establish the validity of your marriage. To do this, you will submit copies of birth certificates, adoption certificates or school/medical records documenting you or your spouse as the emergency contact for the stepchildren.
A letter from a medical provider confirming any pregnancy or fertility treatments could also help.
The above documents can help you establish a legal relationship with your spouse when applying for a family-based immigration visa. It will also help to get legal guidance to understand the moves to make.