We received a denial sent to us by Agencia ALPHA, of a client who applied for naturalization through marriage. We were quite surprised and alarmed by the independent investigation USCIS conducted and invasive steps USCIS took, so wanted to share with you all.
The denial is predicated on USCIS’s finding that there was no bona fide marriage. Although the applicant had been married to a USC since 2008, the applicant submitted little documentation that supported a valid marriage. The applicant submitted a lease, electric bill, and internet bill in her name only. She also provided a letter from the Social Security Administration in her husband’s name, which listed a homeless shelter as his address. This letter “strongly suggested” that he husband was residing at a homeless shelter.
After receiving an RFE to provide more documentation to establish the validity of the marriage, the applicant submitted, among other documents, supporting letters from friends, joint tax returns and joint bank statements. USCIS investigated the bank account and noted that “it appeared that the joint bank statements were opened to create a record of shared finances solely for immigration purposes, as there is hardly any balance.” USCIS also noted that there were no pictures depicting a shared marital relationship over four and a half years.
Perhaps most notable, USCIS Officers visited the applicant at the address she provided on the N-400 and questioned the applicant as to where her husband was, and where his birth certificate, passport, and other important documents were. Further, the Officers searched the applicant’s bedroom and found numerous prescription medication bottles containing a man’s name who was not her husband. USCIS also visited the applicant’s property manager and requested the rental applicant, annual recertifications, and any notifications of individuals moving in and out of the household in the last five years. Based on the totality of the evidence, USCIS concluded that the petitioner never resided in martial union with her husband.
This denial demonstrates the danger for clients who enter into a marriage for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits. USCIS may scrutinize records and make home visits to determine whether spouses have resided together in marital union. Applicants must present sufficient evidence of a bona fide marriage to meet the requirements to naturalize through marriage.