A common question I receive from my clients when applying for a green card based on their marriage is whether they can bring in their phone to the interview and show the officer their Facebook page. Or, my clients ask it another way, “Can’t the officer just go online and look at my Facebook page?” It is a reasonable question. No one prints out photos any more. Everything is online. Unfortunately the answer is “no,” for a couple of reasons. First, you want to give the officer hard copies of proof of your good faith marriage – you want them to have something they can look at later when reviewing your case. Second, the officer does not have the time and probably the internet access to go look at your Facebook page. Also, Facebook pages can be taken down easily. It is not the best proof of your good faith marriage. Below are some suggestions of what you should submit as proof of your good faith marriage.
1. Print out pictures, texts, tweets and submit hard copies
You can and should use material from social media as proof of your relationship. However, you cannot give your twitter name and expect the officer to log onto Twitter and find you. You must print out all tweets, pictures, texts – whatever you want to use.
2. Submit documents that show proof of shared financial assets and debts
Social media is not the best proof of a good faith marriage and indeed, I would rank it last. What USCIS wants to see and expects to see is proof that you are living together and sharing a life together. They expect to see everything in joint name – checking accounts, credit cards, savings accounts, investments, etc. Now, you do not have to dramatically change your life if you do not want to. Many people keep separate checking accounts and do not want to commingle their money. This is fine, but you will need to explain to the officer why you handle your funds the way you do and you should plan on submitting more of the other types of evidence if you do not have much in the way of shared financial documentation.
3. Submit proof that you are residing together and you are sharing a life together
There is a great deal of other proof that you may submit. If you are renting a place to live, you should submit a lease agreement. If you own a place, the joint title. If you have life insurance, renters’ insurance or home insurance together, submit copies of the policies. If your spouse is a beneficiary on benefit plans that you receive from your employer, you should submit those as well. You may submit all other proof that goes along with living together – copies of phone bills, utility bills, cable bills. Ideally you have this documentation in both of your names. Submit proof that you have taken trips together – copies of itineraries, plane tickets, and hotel bills.
4. Submit photos, not videos
Again, you cannot refer a USCIS officer to a website to look at your photos. Also, you cannot bring a video in and expect the officer to watch your wedding. Everything should be printed out. Print out your photographs and attach them to standard size paper (so they do not get lost). Do not give them 100 photos. Choose 20 or so that show your relationship over a period of time, not just your wedding, but events that have taken place after that. Photos with other family members are the best.
Be creative with what you submit. If you submit a variety of items, you will be successful at your interview.