Marriage green card interview tips for same-sex couples
Proving a history of joint financial assets & joint monthly bills with your spouseIn general, the idea is to submit as many joint account statements as possible that list both names and the same address on them. The more accounts held jointly in both names the better, no matter how high the account balance.
One obstacle to adding a foreign national spouse's name to a financial account is their lack of a social security number or ITIN. Immigration Officers are familiar with this dilemma but still expect couples to provide them with proof of at least some joint accounts. Evidence of a joint rental agreement, joint zoo membership, Netflix account, or magazine subscription in both names could be obtained, all of which to may not require a social security number or ITIN.
What to do if financial evidence is lackingSome gay married couples have proudly added both of their names to everything, but others (often for very good reasons) have kept their accounts completely separate. Unfortunately, if a same-sex couple applies for a gay marriage green card, they will be expected to present the same amount of proof of living together that a different sex couple is required to submit at the marriage green card interview. If they can't, they should be able to provide good reasons (in writing) for not doing so, such as a signed written statement, police reports, etc.
Proving family was involvedAnother requirement everyone is expected to meet to get the marriage green card is that the same-sex couple had interaction with each others' family. This is proven through the submission of photographs taken at the wedding, holidays and special events.
There are many reasons why a same-sex couple might not have spent time with each others' family and/or certain friends. The same-sex couple should gather as many photos taken of both of them, as well as photos taken with each other's family, and put them (2 on a page) on 8 1/2 x 11" paper in chronological order.
What to do if photos are lackingDoes it seem like there are no family or family alternatives in the photos? If you are missing photos of significant moments with your family, it may be a sign to the Immigration Officer that you are not living together in a marital relationship.
You may have a situation where it is just impossible to include key family member in your photos. Either they are deceased, live abroad, or are not supportive of your marriage. In that case, be ready to provide an short, concise explanation of why your family was not at the wedding and why they are not in the photos.
Immigration officers look at the whole pictureI have found that the interviewing Immigration Officers have an understanding of what it is like for a same-sex married couple to deal with discrimination based on sexual preference and disapproval by family members. However, just because family members are not in the photos, it does not excuse the same-sex couple from finding other ways to prove that they live together in a "bona fide" marriage.