Facing removal proceedings can be a frightening prospect for non-citizens, as you may be ordered to leave your life in the United States for many years. If you are in a serious romantic relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you may fear that you will have to leave them if you are deported. However, in this situation, you may be eligible for an exemption from your removal proceedings called the “bona fide marriage exemption.”
If you get married to a citizen or green card-holder during your removal proceedings, you can submit your visa application stating that you are currently facing removal and that you are requesting the exemption. Generally, immigration laws prohibit an adjustment of an alien’s status based on marriage during removal or admissibility proceedings unless you prove that the exception should apply to you. This means you must include sufficient evidence of a good faith marriage with your visa application.
To be eligible for the bona fide marriage exception, you have the burden of proving that your marriage was in good faith by clear and convincing evidence. Even if you know that your marriage is genuine, clear and convincing evidence is not always an easy standard to meet. It is important to seek help with your visa application from an experienced immigration attorney as soon as you can. A lawyer can advise you what types of evidence are necessary for a successful application and exemption.
It is always imperative for couples involving a non-citizen to document their relationship so they can provide evidence to support their bona fide marriage. Some types of evidence that may help meet your burden of proof include the following:
- Photos of your courtship
- Wedding photos
- Proof of cohabitation or shared property
- Statements for joint bills, accounts, or insurance policies
- Joint tax returns
- Birth certificates of your children
- Statements from family members and friends about your relationship
You should retain all documents that can help demonstrate the history of your relationship and your joint life together before and after your marriage.
You can also use social media accounts such as Facebook or Instagram that show photos, check-ins, or “tags” that illustrate your time together and the development of your relationship to marriage. However, be careful to ensure that your social media page does not contradict any information you provide with your visa application. For example, if you state that you have been together for two years but your Facebook shows a recent status of “Happy one-year anniversary,” it may be used to deny your application.
Contact an Austin Immigration Attorney to Discuss Your Options
The immigration law firm of Michael G. Murray, P.A. represents clients in removal proceedings and can help you qualify for the bona fide marriage exemption or appeal a denied visa application based on marriage. Call 512-215-4407 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with an experienced immigration lawyer in Austin.
View more contact information here: Immigration Lawyer In Austin.