I751 PETITION AND REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
LEGAL STANDARD FOR I751 PETITION APPROVALIf you don't submit enough documents with the I-751 Petition, or the right type of documents, the USCIS will schedule a second green card I-751 interview to question you and your spouse about the validity of your marriage. The second green card interview is easily avoided when the I-751 Petition is submitted correctly.
The legal standard for the government's review of the I-751 documents is "whether substantial evidence supports a finding by clear and convincing evidence that a couple intended to establish a life together at the time they were married." There are hundreds of Immigration Court cases where Immigration Judge's issue legal opinions concerning how many and what types of documents meet the legal standard and regrettably, because each case is different, there is no definitive list. For example, many couples think that the marriage certificate is proof of a real marriage, but in the eyes of the Immigration Judges' the marriage certificate is not at all the type of evide
HOW MANY DOCUMENTS TO FILE WITH I751 PETITIONThe documents that carry the most weight are jointly filed tax returns, joint bank statements (the balance doesn't matter), proof of medical insurance, proof of life insurance, joint car registration, joint car insurance, joint ownership or rental of property, affidavits (statements), and of course babies born to the couple (children's birth certificates). The documents should range over the span of at least two years (longer is better if possible).
For example, in the case of bank statements, choose two or three for each year (be careful about printing your online statement because it usually doesn't have your names, address and bank account number on it). The new couple is proving that they live together, take care of each other financially, and care about each other personally.
HOW TO PRESENT I751 DOCUMENTS AND I751 PHOTOSDo not put documents in protective plastic sleeves (the Officer will have to spend a lot of time taking them out!) or put a fancy cover on the documents. Don't put the documents in a nice notebook. Do the reviewing Officer a favor and turn in a neatly prepared package that can be two hole punched at the top and placed in your official USCIS file.
Photographs also carry a lot of weight in terms of evidence of a bona fide marriage. In today's society with camera cell phones, it is very suspicious if there are not a lot of photos. Select 30-50 photographs spanning a two year period (or more) and put them in chronological order. Keep in mind that practically speaking, the reviewing USCIS Officer does not have an easy way to put 4aEUR? x 6aEUR? original photographs in your file, and doesn't have time to put the photos in order or look on the back of each one for the date, place, and name of people in the photo.
MORE ABOUT I751 PHOTOSThe reviewing Officer would like to see 30-50 photos copied on 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper, with the specifics written neatly under each photograph. The photos can either be copied in black & white or color on 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper at a place like Kinko's, or printed out of your computer. Be sure to include photos of your wedding (no matter how small it was!), holidays with each others' friends and family, and photos taken in random places. Don't worry if you don't look good in the photos -- the Officer is expecting to see the couple in a variety of situations (dinners, hiking, vacation, just sitting on the couch, etc.) and is not looking for a lot of "posed" glamorous scenarios.
In a real marriage, there should be candid unplanned photos. By the way, it is not a good idea to submit photos from the bedroom (if you know what I mean!) or partying heavily in bars.
HOW TO AVOID SECOND GREEN CARD INTERVIEWAvoid the second green card I-751 interview by either having an Immigration Lawyer review your I-751 Petition (and attached documents) prior to submitting it to the USCIS, or having them prepare, submit and represent you and your spouse throughout the I-751 Petition processing, which can take up to one year.
Immigration lawyers specialize in different areas, so search for an Immigration Lawyer who routinely handles I-751 matters and constantly reviews the Immigration Judge's I-751 opinions.
If you choose not to seek an Immigration Attorney's legal advice, be sure to at least make a copy of the I-751 Petition package before mailing it (use the U.S. postal service for mailing, and be sure to request tracking) so that if later the I-751 Petition is questioned, or you are requested to appear for an I-751 interview, you will have a copy to show an Immigration Attorney.