The law puts the burden of proof on the applicant. This means your application won’t be granted unless you prove to the government’s satisfaction that you have a real marriage. This is different than a U.S. criminal case, where the defendant is presumed innocent unless the government proves otherwise.
You should gather evidence covering the entire span of your relationship from when you first met until now. The legal requirement that you must meet is that at the time of the marriage you both had (or will have) an intent to establish a life together. To determine your intent at that moment, the government will review the evidence you gather from the periods before and after the wedding—for example, purchasing a car in both names is indirect evidence that the bride and groom intended to have a real marriage.
Here are some potential signs of a fraudulent marriage that the USCIS’ Adjudicator’s Field Manual tells officers to look for. The more indicators that apply to you, the better you need to document your case:
• Large disparity of age;
• Woman substantially older than man;
• Inability of petitioner and beneficiary to speak each other’s language;
• Spouses living apart for other than educational or professional reasons;
• Spouses have lived apart in separate countries for long periods of time without frequent visits by the U.S. citizen to the foreign national spouse abroad;
• Vast difference in the cultural and ethnic background;
• Family and/or friends unaware of the marriage;
• Marriage arranged by a third party;
• Marriage contracted immediately following the beneficiary’s apprehension or receipt of notification to depart the United States;
• Discrepancies in statements on questions for which a husband and wife should have common knowledge;
• Marriage not recorded in personnel records for one or both spouses;
• No cohabitation since marriage;
• Beneficiary is a friend of the family; and
• Petitioner has filed previous petitions on behalf of aliens, especially prior alien spouses.
If you have questions about your immigration options, please use the links below to schedule an appointment with Mr. Geygan.