Jump to content
Delightful

Have we provided enough evidence to establish a bona fide marriage?

8 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts

We (I am the beneficiary; my spouse is the US citizen in what follows) sent out our application on July 20, and it was received on July 24. Yesterday (Aug 4), I saw two transactions posted to my credit card from the DHS for the applications/petition fees. Even though we still haven't gotten our eNOAs yet, the aforementioned transactions seem to suggest our application/petition package has been received and processed in some way.

 

So now enter my worries; bear with me, it's a two-part story.

 

For the relevant evidence we sent three items:

  1. Copy of title of a jointly-owned vehicle;
  2. Letter of verification of jointly-owned bank account;
  3. Copy of state tax refund notice for 2019.
    (In addition to our marriage certificate, of course.)

 

(A note about [2]: we used a letter of verification stating joint ownership, provided to us by the bank, as opposed to bank statements themselves. This is perhaps a mistake, I've now realized. I read elsewhere that bank statements would be more relevant and powerful, as USCIS adjudicators in fact will sometimes look at whether the joint bank account is in actual use or not.)

 

We decided to send these three items by looking at USCIS's instructions for the form I-130. We currently live together (more on this later) but the house is under my spouse's name only; we don't have children; and we didn't think affidavits would be considered strong evidence. To be clear, there is a lot more we could've provided, such as documents showing we are co-beneficiaries of each other's life insurance, documents showing I am a dependent on my spouse's health insurance plan, receipts of trips taken together, photos we've had over the years, etc. At the moment of preparing the application/petition package, though, we were working under the assumption that since we've been married over four years the three items listed above should be enough.

 

But now I'm not so sure if that's a reasonable assumption, for the simple reason that our marriage, from an outsider's perspective, can seem to have some "red flags". This gives rise to the second part of my worry.

 

One "red glad" is our age difference. My spouse is 32 years older than me; for what it's worth, we are also a same-sex couple if that's relevant. Many articles I've read online mention that age difference is a big red flag. My spouse also had a prior marriage (to a US citizen) whereas I did not. 

 

Another one has to do with the fact that for the past few years we haven't always lived together. I have been attending school out of state, and even though my spouse and I would usually spend time together during the summer and winter break, technically speaking my primary residence has been elsewhere (I'm on a F-1 visa). Until COVID hit us, that is, so I moved back with my spouse in March. I mention this because I worry evidence for our cohabitation can seem a bit too convenient, I suppose? 

 

Anyway, my worry is that we might not have provided enough evidence to establish a bona fide marriage, in light of these potential red-flags. The are other documents in the application/petition package that could be regarded as relevant evidence, such as our jointly filed tax return for 2019. But I am not sure if those would be looked at since I did not mention them as part of the I-130 form package. 

 

I suppose if we get hit with a RFE we can always submit all the evidence we could've provided in the first place, and potentially more. How likely is that? I would hate to see that happen, though, as delay would be a certainty in that case. Likewise, what are the chances of us getting a NOID? Are there folks who submitted rather "thin" evidence for a bona fide marriage? What are your experiences like?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Japan
Timeline
55 minutes ago, Delightful said:

We (I am the beneficiary; my spouse is the US citizen in what follows) sent out our application on July 20, and it was received on July 24. Yesterday (Aug 4), I saw two transactions posted to my credit card from the DHS for the applications/petition fees. Even though we still haven't gotten our eNOAs yet, the aforementioned transactions seem to suggest our application/petition package has been received and processed in some way.

 

So now enter my worries; bear with me, it's a two-part story.

 

For the relevant evidence we sent three items:

  1. Copy of title of a jointly-owned vehicle;
  2. Letter of verification of jointly-owned bank account;
  3. Copy of state tax refund notice for 2019.
    (In addition to our marriage certificate, of course.)

 

(A note about [2]: we used a letter of verification stating joint ownership, provided to us by the bank, as opposed to bank statements themselves. This is perhaps a mistake, I've now realized. I read elsewhere that bank statements would be more relevant and powerful, as USCIS adjudicators in fact will sometimes look at whether the joint bank account is in actual use or not.)

 

We decided to send these three items by looking at USCIS's instructions for the form I-130. We currently live together (more on this later) but the house is under my spouse's name only; we don't have children; and we didn't think affidavits would be considered strong evidence. To be clear, there is a lot more we could've provided, such as documents showing we are co-beneficiaries of each other's life insurance, documents showing I am a dependent on my spouse's health insurance plan, receipts of trips taken together, photos we've had over the years, etc. At the moment of preparing the application/petition package, though, we were working under the assumption that since we've been married over four years the three items listed above should be enough.

 

But now I'm not so sure if that's a reasonable assumption, for the simple reason that our marriage, from an outsider's perspective, can seem to have some "red flags". This gives rise to the second part of my worry.

 

One "red glad" is our age difference. My spouse is 32 years older than me; for what it's worth, we are also a same-sex couple if that's relevant. Many articles I've read online mention that age difference is a big red flag. My spouse also had a prior marriage (to a US citizen) whereas I did not. 

 

Another one has to do with the fact that for the past few years we haven't always lived together. I have been attending school out of state, and even though my spouse and I would usually spend time together during the summer and winter break, technically speaking my primary residence has been elsewhere (I'm on a F-1 visa). Until COVID hit us, that is, so I moved back with my spouse in March. I mention this because I worry evidence for our cohabitation can seem a bit too convenient, I suppose? 

 

Anyway, my worry is that we might not have provided enough evidence to establish a bona fide marriage, in light of these potential red-flags. The are other documents in the application/petition package that could be regarded as relevant evidence, such as our jointly filed tax return for 2019. But I am not sure if those would be looked at since I did not mention them as part of the I-130 form package. 

 

I suppose if we get hit with a RFE we can always submit all the evidence we could've provided in the first place, and potentially more. How likely is that? I would hate to see that happen, though, as delay would be a certainty in that case. Likewise, what are the chances of us getting a NOID? Are there folks who submitted rather "thin" evidence for a bona fide marriage? What are your experiences like?

Since you have already submitted your petition, there is not much you can could do at this point.

 

As you mentioned, do start preparing additional information specifically addressing the "red flat"  items:

- Age difference

- Why lived in different residence

- Why and how was prior marriage ended?

- Photos together - trips, with friends and family

- etc.

 

In case you receive a RFE, you can quickly provide and submit to USCIS without delay. 

 

Best of luck!

Edited by TaKane

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Haiti
Timeline

Honestly you really didn’t provide enough. I’m not sure why you didn’t include more when you have it- I would hope for a RFE and not a denial. USCIS has announced they are able to send denials instead of RFE’s If they wish. However, gather your documents now to prepare for the RFE. Since you’ve been married for 4 years you should have a LOT more evidence than those who jus got married so IMO that in itself is a red flag. 
Obtain your federal tax return transcripts for the 4 years you were married (they need federal so I’m not sure why you sent state), copy of IDs that show you reside at the same residence, any joint bills or credit card statements, joint car insurance, health insurance being in the same plan, bank account -they want to see that you actually USE the account and it’s not just open for immigration/“proof” of relationship. 
Sorry I can’t offer positive advice and that you didn’t find this site before; just gather your documents and prepare for the RFE hopefully.


Our K1 Journey    I-129f

Service Center : Texas Service Center   Transferred? California Service Center on 8/11/14

Consulate : Port au Prince, Haiti             I-129F Sent : 4/14/2014

I-129F NOA1 : 4/24/14                            I-129F NOA2 : 9/10/14

NVC Received : 9/24/14                          NVC Left : 9/26/14

Consulate Received : 10/6/14 CEAC status changed to ready

Packet 3 Received : 10/27/14 packet received by petitioner in USA ( beneficiary never received packet 3)

Medical: 10/30/14 Dr. Buteau                  Medical picked up: 11/3/14

Packet 3 Sent : 11/10/13.. Had to schedule interview appointment and attach confirmation receipt to packet

Interview Date : 12/1/14                           Interview Result : Approved !

Visa Received : 12/10/14 picked up at Jacmel location

US Entry : 12/15/14 Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Apply for Social Security Card: 12/30/14 Connecticut

Marriage: 1/26/15

 

Adjustment of Status

CIS Office : Hartford                                  Filed : 3/18/15

NOA : 3/25/15                                            Biometrics : 4/15/15

Approved: 8/31/15                                     Received: 9/8/15

 

EAD

CIS Office : Hartford                                  Filed : 3/18/15

NOA : 3/25/15                                            Approved: 6/12/15

Received: 6/20/15

 

Removal of Conditions I-751

Filed: 8/14/17 at VSC                                 NOA: 8/15/17 Received 8/21 by mail

Biometrics: Dated: 8/25/17   Received 9/2/17   Appointment 9/11/17 

Approved: 10/23/18 -no interview

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Luckycuds said:

Honestly you really didn’t provide enough. I’m not sure why you didn’t include more when you have it- I would hope for a RFE and not a denial. USCIS has announced they are able to send denials instead of RFE’s If they wish. However, gather your documents now to prepare for the RFE. Since you’ve been married for 4 years you should have a LOT more evidence than those who jus got married so IMO that in itself is a red flag. 
Obtain your federal tax return transcripts for the 4 years you were married (they need federal so I’m not sure why you sent state), copy of IDs that show you reside at the same residence, any joint bills or credit card statements, joint car insurance, health insurance being in the same plan, bank account -they want to see that you actually USE the account and it’s not just open for immigration/“proof” of relationship. 
Sorry I can’t offer positive advice and that you didn’t find this site before; just gather your documents and prepare for the RFE hopefully.

Thanks for the reply. Kind of what I figured. I would certainly hope for a RFE, and not a NOID. To be honest, the reason why we didn't provide more is just that we were overwhelmed by the evidential threshold for I-944, thinking I-130 was the easier one. But you're right—I wish I'd found out about this site much, much earlier. 

 

By the way, the reason why I included the state tax refund (not return, of which we provided the 2019 federal one as part of the I-864 package) is simply that we only got state tax refund mailed directly to us. We thought that both demonstrated financial ties and cohabitation. Guess we were both overthinking and underthinking it. Oh well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, TaKane said:

Since you have already submitted your petition, there is not much you can could do at this point.

 

As you mentioned, do start preparing additional information specifically addressing the "red flat"  items:

- Age difference

- Why lived in different residence

- Why and how was prior marriage ended?

- Photos together - trips, with friends and family

- etc.

 

In case you receive a RFE, you can quickly provide and submit to USCIS without delay. 

 

Best of luck!

Thanks for the tips and kind note. How might one "address" the age difference and different residences though? With letters? Regarding the latter, I suppose I could say I had to move for school and my spouse was not in a position to move with me; regarding the former, what could I even say? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Haiti
Timeline
Just now, Delightful said:

Thanks for the reply. Kind of what I figured. I would certainly hope for a RFE, and not a NOID. To be honest, the reason why we didn't provide more is just that we were overwhelmed by the evidential threshold for I-944, thinking I-130 was the easier one. But you're right—I wish I'd found out about this site much, much earlier. 

 

By the way, the reason why I included the state tax refund (not return, of which we provided the 2019 federal one as part of the I-864 package) is simply that we only got state tax refund mailed directly to us. We thought that both demonstrated financial ties and cohabitation. Guess we were both overthinking and underthinking it. Oh well. 

Ah. Okay- go to the IRS website and either order or download (If possible) your federal tax transcript because it can take time. People had significant issues obtaining them during the height of COVID but I have heard more positive things lately. Take a breath and Start gathering your docs So you can send them out ASAP when/if you get the RFE. For you bank account (assuming it’s joint) I would pick 3 random months for each year you’ve had the account (you don’t need every month for the entirety of the account) you can ask your bank to print them and sign them (they may stamp and sign it) that is what we did. Good luck.


Our K1 Journey    I-129f

Service Center : Texas Service Center   Transferred? California Service Center on 8/11/14

Consulate : Port au Prince, Haiti             I-129F Sent : 4/14/2014

I-129F NOA1 : 4/24/14                            I-129F NOA2 : 9/10/14

NVC Received : 9/24/14                          NVC Left : 9/26/14

Consulate Received : 10/6/14 CEAC status changed to ready

Packet 3 Received : 10/27/14 packet received by petitioner in USA ( beneficiary never received packet 3)

Medical: 10/30/14 Dr. Buteau                  Medical picked up: 11/3/14

Packet 3 Sent : 11/10/13.. Had to schedule interview appointment and attach confirmation receipt to packet

Interview Date : 12/1/14                           Interview Result : Approved !

Visa Received : 12/10/14 picked up at Jacmel location

US Entry : 12/15/14 Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Apply for Social Security Card: 12/30/14 Connecticut

Marriage: 1/26/15

 

Adjustment of Status

CIS Office : Hartford                                  Filed : 3/18/15

NOA : 3/25/15                                            Biometrics : 4/15/15

Approved: 8/31/15                                     Received: 9/8/15

 

EAD

CIS Office : Hartford                                  Filed : 3/18/15

NOA : 3/25/15                                            Approved: 6/12/15

Received: 6/20/15

 

Removal of Conditions I-751

Filed: 8/14/17 at VSC                                 NOA: 8/15/17 Received 8/21 by mail

Biometrics: Dated: 8/25/17   Received 9/2/17   Appointment 9/11/17 

Approved: 10/23/18 -no interview

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Haiti
Timeline
2 minutes ago, Delightful said:

Thanks for the tips and kind note. How might one "address" the age difference and different residences though? With letters? Regarding the latter, I suppose I could say I had to move for school and my spouse was not in a position to move with me; regarding the former, what could I even say? 

You don’t need to address the age difference- not sure why the poster states that 🙂 In terms of your address you can write a letter stating one of you was finishing your degree out of state and the other was working back home..now that you have completed your degree you are back home with spouse...Or whatever the reason was. It does happen that spouses are separated due to schooling and I do think it’s understandable but a brief letter would be helpful to explain. I’m unsure if the prior marriage divorce decree needed to be submitted but hopefully someone can address that. You may want to get that in case it’s required as well.


Our K1 Journey    I-129f

Service Center : Texas Service Center   Transferred? California Service Center on 8/11/14

Consulate : Port au Prince, Haiti             I-129F Sent : 4/14/2014

I-129F NOA1 : 4/24/14                            I-129F NOA2 : 9/10/14

NVC Received : 9/24/14                          NVC Left : 9/26/14

Consulate Received : 10/6/14 CEAC status changed to ready

Packet 3 Received : 10/27/14 packet received by petitioner in USA ( beneficiary never received packet 3)

Medical: 10/30/14 Dr. Buteau                  Medical picked up: 11/3/14

Packet 3 Sent : 11/10/13.. Had to schedule interview appointment and attach confirmation receipt to packet

Interview Date : 12/1/14                           Interview Result : Approved !

Visa Received : 12/10/14 picked up at Jacmel location

US Entry : 12/15/14 Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Apply for Social Security Card: 12/30/14 Connecticut

Marriage: 1/26/15

 

Adjustment of Status

CIS Office : Hartford                                  Filed : 3/18/15

NOA : 3/25/15                                            Biometrics : 4/15/15

Approved: 8/31/15                                     Received: 9/8/15

 

EAD

CIS Office : Hartford                                  Filed : 3/18/15

NOA : 3/25/15                                            Approved: 6/12/15

Received: 6/20/15

 

Removal of Conditions I-751

Filed: 8/14/17 at VSC                                 NOA: 8/15/17 Received 8/21 by mail

Biometrics: Dated: 8/25/17   Received 9/2/17   Appointment 9/11/17 

Approved: 10/23/18 -no interview

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Brazil
Timeline
14 hours ago, Luckycuds said:

I’m unsure if the prior marriage divorce decree needed to be submitted but hopefully someone can address that. You may want to get that in case it’s required as well.

A photocopy of the court-certified divorce decree for any prior marriage is required with the I-130.  If that was not included, it could mean denial of the petition, or at least an RFE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
Didn't find the answer you were looking for? Ask our VJ Immigration Lawyers.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
- Back to Top -


Important Disclaimer: Please read carefully the Visajourney.com Terms of Service. If you do not agree to the Terms of Service you should not access or view any page (including this page) on VisaJourney.com. Answers and comments provided on Visajourney.com Forums are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Visajourney.com does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. VisaJourney.com does not condone immigration fraud in any way, shape or manner. VisaJourney.com recommends that if any member or user knows directly of someone involved in fraudulent or illegal activity, that they report such activity directly to the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You can contact ICE via email at Immigration.Reply@dhs.gov or you can telephone ICE at 1-866-347-2423. All reported threads/posts containing reference to immigration fraud or illegal activities will be removed from this board. If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by contacting us here with a url link to that content. Thank you.
“;}
×
×
  • Create New...