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For Immigration, Save the Wedding Photos AND the Receipts

Posted by attorney Elizabeth Blandon

Once upon a time, weddings were simple. Today, weddings involve careful coordination and many details. Couples can spend months pouring over invitations, guest lists, seating arrangements, catering, and photographers. Capturing the big day is important so that the couple will have lasting memories. If either the bride or groom is a foreign national, however, it is equally important to save the evidence of your wedding for immigration purposes.

Filing the Applications: A U.S. citizen petitioning for their foreign-born spouse is the quickest way to obtain a green card in the United States. Once married, the couple submits two critical forms, an I-130 Petition and I-485 Application for Permanent Residency.

Documents to Present at Interview: At the interview, the couple will be asked to submit proof of the validity of their relationship. The best evidence to use relating to the ceremony includes the following:

Wedding Photos: A couple that has hired a professional photographer should take their wedding album to the interview. There is no better evidence than the photos taken on the happiest day of their life, surrounded by friends and family.

Wedding Planning: The contracts with 10 or more different vendors (cake, catering, photographers, reception hall, etc) can also be presented. A couple that saves these items to show them someday to their children obviously has long-term intent of staying together.

Questions Asked at an Interview: The couple will be asked not only about their wedding, but also about their courtship. Questions frequently asked are:

-when/where did you meet?

-where/when was the proposal?

-where was your wedding reception?

-how many people attended your wedding?

And they lived happily ever after. The end. Once their case is approved, the couple can expect that the foreign-born spouse’s green card will arrive within approximately four weeks.

Although the author is a Board-certified immigration expert, this guide is intended as general information and not specific legal advice. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. Schedule a consultation with an attorney to address individual concerns.

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