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Documents, Documents, Documents: Why Do They Matter?

Posted by attorney Elizabeth Blandon

Clients concern over why counselors so persistently pursue proof. (Note: It takes some kind of writer to alliterate twice in one sentence.)

The reason is simple: documents are essential to winning every type of immigration case. For example, cancellation of removal, adjustment of status, or asylum decisions depend on the amount and quality of the evidence produced.

Since 2005, proof of documentary evidence has become even more important after Congress passed the Real ID Act. This law allows the government to require documents to support a foreigner’s testimony.

Foreign nationals often wonder what types of documents are necessary to establish their claim. In addition to notarized affidavits from witnesses, the following are some of the types we suggest:

Documents that can prove physical presence in the United States

-utility bills

-school records

-pay stubs

-bank and credit card statements

Documents that prove relationship

-marriage certificate

-birth certificate


-airline tickets, boarding passes (for trips taken together)

-proof of joint property

Documents that prove harm

-police reports, if applicable

-articles that demonstrate the conditions in the home country

-medical or hospital reports, if harm was physical

-therapist or psychiatrist reports and medications, if harm was mental

While it may seem overwhelming and unnecessary to provide these documents, they are absolutely vital to obtaining and maintaining immigration status in the United States. Each case is different and requires different documents. Moreover, while this list is not exclusive, it is a good starting point.

This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. Consultation with an experienced competent immigration attorney is the best way to address individual concerns.

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