WomensLaw is not just for women. We serve and support all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Important: Even if courts are closed, you can still file for a protection order and other emergency relief. See our FAQ on Courts and COVID-19.

Legal Information: Federal

Immigration

View all
Updated: 
May 17, 2021

How can I prove that I got married in good faith?

To prove your case, you will need to show that you married your US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse in “good faith.” This means that you didn’t marry your spouse primarily because you wanted to get immigration status.1 However, it’s OK if one of the reasons you got married was for immigration purposes – as long as you also got married because you wanted to spend your life together.

If you are filing for a battered child waiver, you will need to show that your parent married their US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse in “good faith.”

USCIS cannot require you to provide a particular type of evidence to prove that you married your spouse in good faith, and there is no magic piece of evidence that will provide definitive proof of your good faith marriage. However, common types of evidence include:

  • a statement from you in which you explain how your relationship developed and why you decided to marry your spouse;
  • birth certificates of any children that you have together;
  • photographs of you and your spouse at different times, in different locations;
  • evidence of your courtship, such as text messages, call records, emails, and letters;
  • evidence of shared financial assets or responsibilities, such as joint tax returns, joint property ownership, joint leases, joint bank accounts, joint credit cards, and shared insurance plans; and
  • statements from friends or family who were familiar with your relationship or your reasons for marrying your spouse.

If you are filing for a battered child waiver, you can work with your parent and your attorney to determine what evidence you and your parent can provide to prove your parent’s good faith marriage.

1 8 CFR § 216.5(a)(1)(ii); See Matter of Patel, 19 I&N Dec. 774, 783 (BIA 1988) (“Such marriages, entered into for the primary purpose of circumventing the immigration laws, have not been recognized as enabling an alien spouse to obtain immigration benefits”) (citing Matter of McKee, 17 I&N Dec. 332 (BIA 1980); Lutwak v. United States, 344 U.S. 604 (1953); McLat v. Longo, 412 F. Supp. 1021 (D.V.I. 1976); Matter of M-, 8 I&N Dec. 217 (BIA 1958)); Matter of McKee, 17 I&N Dec. 332, 333 (BIA 1980) (“A marriage that is entered into for the primary purpose of circumventing the immigration laws, referred to as a fraudulent or sham marriage, has not been recognized as enabling an alien spouse to obtain immigration benefits”); Lutwak v. U.S., 344 U.S. 604, 613 (1953) (finding no good faith marriage where there was “no intention to marry and consummate the marriages even for a day”); U.S. v. Rubenstein, 151 F.2d 915 (2nd Cir. 1945) (holding that there was no valid marriage where marriage was entered into solely for immigration purposes, and not for ordinarily understood purpose of marriage).