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The I-751 affidavit is a statement or letter written in support of a marriage by a person who has a close relationship with the couple. Along with other required evidence, the I-751 affidavit helps demonstrate a couple’s relationship and marriage are genuine and of good intention to remain married.
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Prove Your Marriage Is Legitimate
Because fraudulent marriages are one of the easiest ways to obtain a Green Card in the U.S., the USCIS enforces conditional permanent residence, issuing a Green Card that will be valid for two years. At the end of the two years, if the Green Card holder’s conditions are not removed, they are removable from the U.S. To remove the Green Card holder’s conditions, they will have to prove that their marriage is legitimate. If it’s found that the marriage is not legitimate, it can result in harsh penalties.
There are a few red flags that signal to the USCIS that a marriage may not be legitimate and rather a part of a larger scheme for an individual to acquire a Green Card. They include the following:
- A third party arranges the marriage
- There’s no proof the married couple have lived together since the marriage
- If the individual’s friends are their beneficiaries
- There is a large age gap between the married individuals
- A family member or friend is unaware of the marriage
- The individuals ethnic and cultural backgrounds are vastly different
- The petitioner and beneficiary are unable to communicate in the same language
- There are discrepancies in the couple’s statements
These factors alone don’t prove a marriage is illegitimate; however, they may cause the USCIS to investigate further. Expect questions from the immigration agency if the above criteria apply to your situation.
In that investigation, you may be required to provide proof that your marriage is legitimate and not a part of a larger scheme to obtain a Green Card. One of the ways you can prove your marriage is genuine and true is to have someone write an I-751 affidavit.
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Who Should Write Your I-751 Affidavit?
The person who writes your I-751 affidavit is known as an affiant and can be anyone you know—a relative, a friend, or even a religious leader. They do not have to be a U.S. citizen or reside in the U.S. Your affiant should be someone who has known you and your spouse since you’ve been married and has a close understanding of your relationship. Ideally, they may have even known you before the marriage took place.
The main takeaway is the person who writes your I-751 affidavit should be someone you have a close relationship with and who has first-hand knowledge of your marriage. A family member or close friend may be your first choice or best option, considering they have likely known you the longest and witnessed your relationship with your spouse develop.
Ultimately, their testimony supports and defends the legitimacy of your marriage. The I-751 affidavit’s purpose is to prove that the couple loves each other genuinely and has the honest intention of remaining a couple. Your affiant will provide an honest, written testament to your marriage based on their personal experience and knowledge.
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I-751 Affidavit Format and Content Requirements
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) strongly advises that I-751 affidavits follow a specific format; however, they do not provide I-751 affidavit forms that you can simply fill out. It’s up to you and your affiant to ensure an acceptable letter is submitted. It can be difficult and confusing to do so from scratch, so it’s important to follow the recommendations for what content to include and how to format it.
Remember, the purpose of the I-751 affidavit should be met, so the affiant should be sure to provide proof with their knowledge that you and your spouse’s marriage is legitimate in good standing. However, an affiant merely mentioning how they are close with you and your spouse is not enough to provide a strong statement, nor is it sufficient enough to back the letter.
To strengthen their claims about the legitimacy of your relationship with your spouse, the affiant should include specific examples that demonstrate their knowledge of your marriage background and of the relationship’s legitimacy. Basically, the affiant should include personal stories about the marriage or your relationship with your spouse. The more personal and specific the stories, the better.
It’s recommended the following be included in an I-751 affidavit:
- Affiant’s full name
- Affiant’s address
- Date letter is written/sent
- Recipient name (e.g., USCIS)
- Recipient’s address (e.g. P.O. Box 67688, Phoenix, AZ 85036)
- Subject of letter (e.g., Affidavit Letter of Support for _______ )
- Greeting (e.g., Dear USCIS Officer)
- Affiant’s date of birth
- Affiant’s birthplace
- How the affiant knows/is affiliated with the married couple
- Details of the affiant’s knowledge of the couple’s marriage
- When and how the affiant came to know of the couple’s marriage
- How frequently the affiant meets with and spends time with the married couple
- Statement of truth
- Affiant’s contact information
- Affiant’s signature
The I-751 affidavit does not need a notary seal to prove its legitimacy. However, it’s a good idea to include an explicit statement that what is written is valid, true, and accurate to the best of the affiant’s knowledge.
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Sample of I-751 Affidavit
417 Wayback Lane, New York, NY 10001
February 11, 2021
P.O. BOX 67688
Phoenix, AZ 85036
Subject: Affidavit Letter of Support for Jake & Emma
Dear USCIS Officer,
My name is Mark Davis and I was born March 26, 1992 in Long Island, NY. I am writing to attest that I have known Emma Miller personally since 1999. We were childhood friends as well as roommates in college. Emma met Jake Knot at a Valentine’s Day event on our college campus and have been in love ever since. Since graduating, we have remained close friends. We now work together at the same company. I spend time with Emma and Jake together at least twice a month. In December 2016, Emma left New York, NY, but, during that time, we texted each other consistently and paid each other an in-person visit at least once a month.
In the summer of 2019, Emma and Jake got married and moved back to New York. Since her return, I see her even more often and notice nothing but happiness and joy in her relationship. Sometimes, Emma and Jake even join my family on holidays, since both of their parents now live in separate states far away.
To my knowledge, Emma and Jake are happy in their relationship. It is stable and they share an intense bond. Emma is now pregnant and her and Jake are expecting their first child in October. In my opinion, their marriage is successful, legitimate, and a source of joy for both Emma and Jake. I see them maintaining a long and happy marriage.
Emma and I are very close friends and share everything about our lives with one another. I have also witnessed Emma and Jake’s relationship first-hand on numerous occasions, more than I can count. The information I have provided here in this letter is accurate and true. Thank you for taking the time to read my account of their relationship.
You can contact me at (202) 555-0164 or email@example.com if you have questions or require additional information.
Other Ways to Prove Marriage Legitimacy
In addition to an I-751 affidavit written by an affiant who has close and accurate knowledge of your marriage, there are other pieces of evidence you may be required to provide to prove the legitimacy of your marriage. Combine multiple forms of proof into a package to provide the USCIS with enough information to verify that your marriage is legitimate. Following are some examples of what to include.
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Legal Marriage Documents
Legal marriage documents, such as a marriage certificate, can prove your bonafide union. However, a marriage certificate alone does not confirm that the marriage is legal and may not be sufficient to remove the conditions of your conditional permanent residence. Along with your marriage certificate, include other information that proves not only your legal marriage but that you’ve married your spouse because you love them, rather than avoiding immigration laws.
Proof of Shared Residency
A legitimately married couple typically lives under the same roof, at least that’s what the USCIS expects to see. A marriage in which the couple does not live in the same home may appear fake and illegitimate.
Following are documents that help prove you and your spouse share a residency. It is imperative that these documents show both you and your spouse’s names.
- Lease or joint mortgage documents
- Property deed
- Utility bills
- Driver’s licenses with matching addresses
- Joint bank statements
- Home or renter’s insurance statements
Proof You’re Raising Children Together
Offspring is one of the strongest ways to prove a marriage is genuine. Whether it is you and your spouse’s biological children, adopted children, or you or your spouse’s stepchildren, having a child or children under you and your spouse’s mutual care demonstrates you are, in fact, a legitimate couple.
Following are documents that help prove you and your spouse raise a child or children together.
- A child’s birth certificate that indicates both you and your spouse as parents
- A child’s adoption certificate that indicates both you and your spouse as parents
- Evidence of a joint relationship with the child, such as photos or an affidavit
- A child’s medical records
- A child’s school records
Marriage is not always about having and raising children or merely residing under the same roof. Show how genuine your relationship is by providing additional miscellaneous proof, such as:
- Wedding, anniversary, and travel photos
- Letters, emails, or text message communications between you and your spouse
- Receipts for gifts you’ve given your spouse or vice versa
To reiterate, the I-751 affidavit is a strong testament to the legitimacy of you and your spouse’s love, marriage, and overall relationship. Reach out to your family, friends, or someone else close to you to request they write you an I-751 affidavit to include in your evidence package.
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Submit an I-751 Affidavit With Your I-751 Waiver
The I-751 Waiver is the USCIS’s Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. In other words, you’ll use this form if you are a conditional permanent resident who obtained status through marriage and you intend to apply to have the conditions of that permanent residency removed.
When you file the I-751 Waiver, you must provide evidence of your bonafide and legitimate marriage. This article has gone into detail about the many documents and other miscellaneous proof you can submit to support you’ve entered into a genuine marriage. If you are able to prove your marriage is legitimate and your conditions are removed, you will obtain a Green Card that is valid for 10 years.
The I-751 affidavit contains information about the affiant’s relationship to the couple. It is an important piece of evidence to supplement other required evidence a married couple must submit to the USCIS when filing the I-751 Waiver. The I-751 affidavit contains information about the affiant’s relationship to the couple. After reviewing all of your submitted evidence, the USCIS will review it to rule on whether you have successfully proven that you and your spouse’s marriage is 100 percent legitimate and was not entered into solely to avoid immigration laws and obtain a highly-coveted Green Card.