When applying for a marriage green card, you will be required to include numerous supporting documents with your application. Some of these documents take time to gather, which is why it’s best to start the process of obtaining them as soon as possible.
In this guide, you will learn:
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You may be wondering why you need to include certain documents, especially if they’re going to take time and be a hassle to obtain. Here’s why:
They are required by the government
The U.S. government needs to see ample evidence that an applicant meets the requirements of a green card. The amount of evidence has only grown since the public charge rule went into effect, which requires significant additional documents from both spouses as part of their marriage green card application. Without these documents, an applicant may end up waiting longer to receive their green card, or their application may be denied.
IMPORTANT UPDATE — FEBRUARY 2, 2021: The new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) public charge rule, which initially took effect on Feb. 24, 2020, is currently in effect but under review by the Biden administration. The new Department of State (DOS) public charge policy that took effect the same day as the DHS rule was paused indefinitely on July 29, 2020. This page reflects those policies and will not be immediately updated according to the previous, longstanding guidance issued in 1999. Learn more.
They strengthen your application
The more key evidence submitted, the greater the chances are of approval. Boundless has helped thousands of people with their green card applications, and we’ve seen from experience that those applicants that provide all the required documents typically have greater success obtaining a green card.
When applying for a marriage green card, both spouses must include a certified copy of their birth certificate (typically the long-form version) with their green card application. The birth certificate must contain certain important information, including your full name, your date of birth, both of your parents’ full names, and the issuing agency’s official seal. Requesting a certified copy of your birth certificate from the appropriate government agency can take time, so it’s a good idea to do so early on in the green card application process. If you’re unable to obtain a copy of your birth certificate, you have options. Learn more about alternative documents here.
Under the new public charge rule, the spouse seeking a green card must show proof of their educational background. But education standards differ between countries, and USCIS officers need to know how the green card applicant’s foreign education compares to the U.S. educational system. The government therefore requires that applicants include a credential evaluation with their application, to show the U.S. equivalency of their transcript or degree.
Translations for documents not in English
If any of either spouses’ supporting documents are not written entirely in English, they must provide a certified translation. That applies to any of the required documents, including the birth certificate — the most common document that needs translation. It’s a good idea to research different translation services early on in the application process, and figure out which of your documents need translating. Learn more about what documents need to be translated, a sample certification letter, and Boundless’ recommended translation provider.
Evidence of relationship
When you’re applying for a marriage green card, one of the most important parts of the process is proving that your relationship is real. That means that you need to show that you and your spouse plan to be together in the future and you didn’t get married solely to obtain a green card. A marriage certificate isn’t enough — you need additional proof that you plan to build a life together. Some of this evidence will take time to gather, so you’ll want to start collecting documents early on in the application process. Read more about the different types of evidence required to prove your marriage is real, and what evidence is considered strongest.
Address and employment history
When you apply for a green card, you’ll need to provide your address and employment history for the past 5 years to the U.S. government (if you’re applying from outside the United States, you’ll need to provide that information for the past 10 years, at least). You may not remember everywhere that you lived and worked over that time period, or the exact addresses of past employers and your start and end dates. Start gathering those details now so you’re not caught unawares when filling out your forms. Learn more with our address history and employment history guides, including tips for remembering old jobs and old addresses.
With Boundless, you get the confidence of an independent immigration attorney who will review all of your materials and answer any questions you have — for no additional fee. Learn more about how we can help you, or get started now!