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cloobn

What to include for evidence of bona fide marriage? (Unique Situation)

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My husband and I are in the process of compiling evidence of a bona fide marriage to apply for the CR-1 visa. Our situation is a bit tricky, so I'm a little confused about what the best evidence to provide would be. Here's a little background information about our situation:

 

My husband is from the UK, I'm from the US. We'd been dating for 4.5 years, got engaged in December 2018, and had a super simple no frills marriage in February 2019 performed by a mayor in my town. My parents and sister were present, but there really wasn't much of a ceremony and we didn't exchange rings at that time. We're in the process of planning a bigger religious ceremony with both of our families for May 2020 when I'll be graduating from medical school. My husband has since returned to the UK. I am currently in my 3rd year of medical school and my fiance has been working in the UK for the past several years. I'll be graduating from medical school and finally starting to work in the summer of 2020, so this is when we'd ideally been shooting for him to be able to move over so we can begin our lives together. 

 

Given all of this, we really don't have any of the recommended evidence of a bona fide marriage as we are newly married and I am still a student so the matters of sharing finances and property haven't really applied to our situation. We also don't really have "marriage" pictures with family as we just did a simple civil marriage and anticipate doing a full ceremony once I graduate and have more time, although our families are both aware that we are married. I've heard in other cases similar to ours, couples' proof of a bona fide marriage consists of proof of a legitimate relationship, which we certainly have. We planned to include text conversations over the years, pictures of us with and without friends/family, flight tickets from each of our trips to visit one another, and evidence of gift exchanges. I will also try to get affidavits from my family to prove the legitimacy of our marriage.

 

My question is, is there other evidence I can provide or any evidence I'm missing? I feel pretty limited and we're both nervous that our evidence will not be up to par/they won't consider our marriage legitimate given that we don't have any pictures and haven't yet gone through with wedding ceremony formalities since we are saving that for later. Any advice or constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated. 

Edited by cloobn

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You should be fine with what you have. If you feel like you need to add more marriage related things, do you have an invoice or anything if you paid the mayor to perform the ceremony? If you don't, that's okay, it isn't needed, but maybe it will put your mind at ease if you have something to send as proof of wedding expenses, you'll be fine without it though I'm sure. As long as you can prove you have a genuine ongoing relationship (with pictures and plane tickets and whatnot; if you have any tickets with your names on them from amusement parks or hotels or things you've attended together you can send that too) + your marriage certificate, you should be fine, especially coming from the UK. Affidavits don't carry much weight but it doesn't hurt to include a couple.


Our CR1 Journey So Far:
 

USCIS Stage:

  • Feb 8 2019: Sent package
  • Feb 14 2019: Delivered
  • Feb 21 2019: NOA1 (PD Feb 14, 2019)
  • Assigned to Nebraska Service Center (yay... 🙄)
  • Waiting for: NOA2

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While every case is certainly unique, it is not uncommon for newly-married couples to live apart while pursuing a CR1 visa.  Having a simple courthouse wedding with few pictures is also quite common.  So, no need to worry.  Other couples here on VJ have had their petitions approved even with limited evidence of commingling finances like in your case.

 

That said, here are some suggestions for you:

  • Include copies of your boarding passes and passport stamps from all your trips together or visits to see each other.  Flight tickets alone don't prove that you got in the plane and entered the country.
  • Add each other as beneficiary to any life/health insurance that you or your husband may have.
  • Don't delay filing your petition waiting on affidavits from family.  Affidavits are considered weak evidence as anyone can say what they want and the US government won't be calling to verify anyway.

 

Good luck on your journey!

 

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1 hour ago, LilyJohansen said:

You should be fine with what you have. If you feel like you need to add more marriage related things, do you have an invoice or anything if you paid the mayor to perform the ceremony? If you don't, that's okay, it isn't needed, but maybe it will put your mind at ease if you have something to send as proof of wedding expenses, you'll be fine without it though I'm sure. As long as you can prove you have a genuine ongoing relationship (with pictures and plane tickets and whatnot; if you have any tickets with your names on them from amusement parks or hotels or things you've attended together you can send that too) + your marriage certificate, you should be fine, especially coming from the UK. Affidavits don't carry much weight but it doesn't hurt to include a couple.

My dad just wrote a check for the marriage and gave it to the mayor and we didn't receive any type of invoice or receipt from that, unfortunately. We can definitely prove we have a genuine ongoing relationship, though. Yeah, I kept reading that affidavits don't carry much weight, but it was the only possible concrete item on that list that my husband and I could possibly check off, so I thought maybe it would be good to do. Am I mistaken? Should I not worry about an affidavit even though I won't be able to provide any of the other items on the list that they specifically recommend? Thanks so much for your advice! 

 

50 minutes ago, Ate said:

While every case is certainly unique, it is not uncommon for newly-married couples to live apart while pursuing a CR1 visa.  Having a simple courthouse wedding with few pictures is also quite common.  So, no need to worry.  Other couples here on VJ have had their petitions approved even with limited evidence of commingling finances like in your case.

 

That said, here are some suggestions for you:

  • Include copies of your boarding passes and passport stamps from all your trips together or visits to see each other.  Flight tickets alone don't prove that you got in the plane and entered the country.
  • Add each other as beneficiary to any life/health insurance that you or your husband may have.
  • Don't delay filing your petition waiting on affidavits from family.  Affidavits are considered weak evidence as anyone can say what they want and the US government won't be calling to verify anyway.

 

Good luck on your journey!

 

 

Such a relief to hear, thank you. I'll go ahead and include passport stamps from our trips to bolster evidence that we've visited each other and taken trips together. So do you think I should just not worry about getting affidavits? I'm just worried about not really having any solid comingling of finances, etc, and how it would look if I didn't end up including affidavits either. How strict about that list of suggested evidence are they? I just feel weird about deviating from it entirely and only including evidence of our relationship/marriage. In my head I was just thinking that affidavits are better than nothing at all, but am I wrong in thinking so? Would we be fine with just including the evidence of our relationship?

 

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3 minutes ago, cloobn said:

Such a relief to hear, thank you. I'll go ahead and include passport stamps from our trips to bolster evidence that we've visited each other and taken trips together. So do you think I should just not worry about getting affidavits? I'm just worried about not really having any solid comingling of finances, etc, and how it would look if I didn't end up including affidavits either. How strict about that list of suggested evidence are they? I just feel weird about deviating from it entirely and only including evidence of our relationship/marriage. In my head I was just thinking that affidavits are better than nothing at all, but am I wrong in thinking so? Would we be fine with just including the evidence of our relationship?

 

Prioritize evidence of time spent together in person.  Definitely include all passport stamps from trips together, along with pictures with family and friends.  Then a small sampling of chat texts or call logs over the course of your relationship.

 

As for commingling finances, USCIS and the embassy understand that newly-married couples who live apart will not have a lot of evidence of that yet.  Adding each other as life insurance beneficiary may be the easiest option for many international couples.

 

If it will give you more peace of mind, it wouldn't hurt to include affidavits.  But I recommend that you don't delay filing just to wait on them.  Affidavits are for couples who have next to nothing by way of relationship evidence.  Based on what you said, it seems like you have enough proof of being in a relationship with lots of face-time over 4+ years.

 

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