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Bona Fide Evidence in LGBTQ Marriage-Based Immigration Petitions

bona fides lgtbq marriage

Immigration petitions based on marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident are a common route to securing legal status in the United States. For LGBTQ couples, these petitions carry the same weight and requirements as those for opposite-sex couples. However, proving the bona fide nature of the marriage—a genuine relationship and not one entered solely for immigration benefits—can sometimes face unique challenges. Here’s a guide to what constitutes good bona fide evidence in LGBTQ marriage-based petitions.

1. Joint Financial Documents

One of the most compelling pieces of evidence in proving a bona fide marriage is the integration of financial lives. This can include:

  • Joint bank accounts: Statements showing both partners' names.

  • Credit card accounts: Shared credit card bills or statements.

  • Leases and mortgages: Rental agreements, mortgage documents, or property deeds listing both partners.

  • Tax returns: Filed jointly with both names.

2. Shared Residence Proof

Living together is a strong indicator of a genuine relationship. Provide documents that show shared residence:

  • Utility bills: Electricity, water, gas, internet, or cable bills with both names.

  • Mail: Official mail sent to the same address.

  • Lease agreements: Documents that clearly show both partners are tenants.

3. Photographic Evidence

Photographs can tell a compelling story of a relationship. Ensure that:

  • Photos span the relationship: Include pictures from different stages of your relationship.

  • Variety in settings: Show photos from different locations and events, including with family and friends.

  • Captions: Adding brief descriptions or dates can help provide context.

4. Affidavits from Friends and Family

Statements from people who know you as a couple can be very supportive. These should be:

  • Detailed and personal: Each affidavit should discuss the nature of the relationship and personal experiences with the couple.

  • From diverse sources: Include statements from both families, friends, and colleagues.

5. Evidence of Communication

Demonstrating regular and ongoing communication is crucial, especially for long-distance relationships or times apart. Collect:

  • Emails and chat logs: Screen captures or printed copies showing regular interaction.

  • Phone records: Detailed phone bills showing frequent contact.

  • Letters and cards: Physical or scanned copies of handwritten notes, cards, and letters.

6. Travel and Event Documentation

Travel and shared experiences are strong indicators of a committed relationship. Include:

  • Tickets and itineraries: Airline, bus, or train tickets showing travel together.

  • Hotel receipts: Reservations and invoices from trips taken together.

  • Event invitations: Wedding invites, birthday parties, or other significant social gatherings attended as a couple.

7. Health and Insurance Policies

Shared health and insurance benefits demonstrate trust and commitment. Provide:

  • Health insurance policies: Documents showing both partners covered under the same plan.

  • Life insurance policies: Beneficiary designations naming each other.

  • Other insurance: Auto or renter’s insurance listing both names.

8. Social Media and Public Presence

In today’s digital age, social media can be a goldmine of evidence:

  • Social media posts: Screenshots or printouts of posts showing interaction, tagged photos, and check-ins together.

  • Public announcements: Engagement or wedding announcements in newspapers or online platforms.

Addressing Unique Challenges in LGBTQ Marriages

For LGBTQ couples, additional context may sometimes be necessary to address potential biases or misunderstandings:

  • Cultural sensitivity: Be prepared to explain any cultural nuances that may impact the documentation or the visibility of your relationship.

  • Historical context: If applicable, provide background on the evolution of your relationship within the context of changing legal and social acceptance.

Many couples find the process of gathering and presenting bona fide evidence fearful, often feeling overwhelmed by the details and the stakes involved. However, it's important to remember that this task, while challenging, is entirely manageable. The key is to be detailed and organized in your approach.

  • Be thorough: Collect a wide range of evidence that covers all aspects of your life together.

  • Stay organized: Keep all documents, photos, and communications well-organized and clearly labeled.

  • Seek professional help: An experienced immigration attorney can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the process.

Building a comprehensive portfolio of bona fide evidence for an LGBTQ marriage-based petition requires thoroughness and attention to detail. By providing diverse and compelling evidence across multiple aspects of your shared life, you can effectively demonstrate the genuine nature of your relationship to immigration authorities. Remember, authenticity and consistency are key, and working with an experienced immigration attorney can further ensure your petition’s success. With the right approach and support, you can navigate this process successfully.

If you need expert guidance to build a strong, bona fide evidence portfolio for your LGBTQ marriage-based petition, contact us today or fill in the 'Contact Us' form below.


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