When it comes to filing Form I-751 to eliminate the conditions on residence, it’s crucial to provide evidence that the relationship was entered into in “good faith.” The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) wants to ensure that the marriage wasn’t a scheme to evade immigration laws. Among the evidence that needs to be submitted is the I-751 affidavit.
These “letters of support” are written statements by individuals who know the couple personally and have firsthand knowledge of their relationship. The I-751 affidavit serves as additional support for the evidence provided by the couple, proving that their marriage was genuine and not a “sham” for immigration purposes.
The I-751 Affidavit: A Piece in a Larger Puzzle
It’s important to note that while the I-751 affidavit is valuable, it can never replace strong, objective evidence of a bona fide marriage. The best proof of a genuine relationship includes having children together, shared finances, and jointly owned property. These primary documents demonstrate that the couple shares a life together and plans for their future.
Most attorneys agree that an affidavit is not as powerful as the primary evidence mentioned above. However, it can be used to complement existing evidence or fill in any gaps. Ultimately, USCIS will give more weight to objective forms of evidence than to an I-751 affidavit.
Writing an Affidavit: Who Can Do It?
Typically, I-751 affidavit letters of support are written by friends of the couple. However, it’s not limited to friends and can be written by a family member or even a religious leader. The ideal writer should have known the couple from before their marriage until the present time. They don’t have to be a U.S. citizen or live in the United States, but they should be someone familiar with the couple’s life together. Therefore, the writer ideally should be local to the couple.
The I-751 affidavit provides the writer with an opportunity to share their personal experience with the couple and the observations that led them to believe in their genuine love and intentions to remain married. Of course, no one can predict the future, but the writer can testify based on their personal knowledge.
When to Use an Affidavit with an I-751 Waiver
In some unfortunate cases, a bona fide marriage may end due to divorce or death. When a conditional resident is no longer married, they must file Form I-751 with a waiver instead of filing jointly with their spouse. However, they still need to prove that the marriage was entered into in good faith and with genuine intentions to build a life together. This becomes more challenging without the support of a current spouse.
An I-751 affidavit can assist in establishing the couple’s good intentions and explaining why the marriage ended prematurely, particularly in cases involving spousal abuse. It is advisable for the conditional resident to consult an immigration attorney before filing Form I-751 with a waiver, as these petitions receive additional scrutiny from USCIS. An attorney can provide valuable guidance to achieve the best possible outcome.
Creating an Effective I-751 Affidavit
An affidavit is essentially a sworn letter. The individual who writes the affidavit is known as an “affiant,” who swears under oath to its truthfulness. Experts recommend submitting a typed letter when providing I-751 affidavits to USCIS. Each I-751 affidavit should cover the following basic points:
- Full name and address of the affiant
- Date and place of birth
- Relationship to the conditional resident and spouse
- An account of the relationship, including how the writer knows the couple, the duration of their acquaintance, and the frequency of their interactions
- Details explaining how the writer acquired their knowledge of the couple’s relationship
- Date and signature
It’s essential to remember that the I-751 affidavit serves as supporting evidence to demonstrate the couple’s bona fide marriage. The affiant should provide a brief account of why they believe the marriage is genuine, including any personal experiences that showcase the couple’s commitment and efforts throughout the immigration process.
The letter doesn’t require notarization, but it should include a sworn statement affirming, “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.”
It’s important to note that an affidavit alone is not sufficient. Primary forms of objective evidence must be used to prove a good faith marriage, with the affidavit serving as additional support.
Sample I-751 Affidavit
CitizenPath provides a downloadable sample I-751 affidavit that can be shared with friends willing to write a letter of support. The sample includes a list of the basic points the writer should cover in the letter, along with an example I-751 affidavit.
While the sample affidavit can serve as a guide, each letter should contain personal elements specific to the couple’s story. The affiant should be sincere, using anecdotes to demonstrate their belief in the couple’s bona fide marriage.
It’s worth mentioning that in some cases, the affiant may be required to testify before an immigration officer regarding the information provided in the affidavit.
USCIS may also require the couple to attend an interview after filing Form I-751 and submitting the necessary evidence. However, providing sufficient and compelling evidence of a bona fide marriage, including well-prepared I-751 affidavit letters of support, can significantly increase the chances of avoiding an interview altogether.
CitizenPath offers simple and affordable step-by-step guidance through USCIS immigration applications. Individuals, attorneys, and non-profits can utilize this service on desktop or mobile devices to accurately prepare immigration forms, avoiding costly delays. CitizenPath allows users to try the service for free and provides a 100% money-back guarantee for approved applications or petitions. The platform supports various forms, including the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (Form I-751), Green Card Renewal (Form I-90), Citizenship Application (Form N-400), and many others.
Note to Reader: This post was originally published on December 12, 2017, and has been modified with improvements.
For more information on filing Form I-751 and to try the CitizenPath service, visit Six Minute Dates.