A core requirement of a marriage-based green card process is to prove a bona fide relationship. For the purpose of U.S. immigration law, it means that the couple got married with genuine intent of being united in marriage. A sham marriage that circumvents immigration laws for the purpose of falsely acquiring immigration benefits is not valid for immigration purposes.

There are many ways to prove that your marital relationship is real. One of strong evidences is that the couple has a joint credit card or bank account. However, most newly-wed foreign spouse does not have a U.S. Social Security Number. As a result, it is often difficult to submit a financial co-mingling evidence as a U.S. Social Security Number is required to open up a new joint bank account or credit card or add the foreign spouse’s name. USCIS adjudicating officers often ask for evidence of joint purchase of a large item such as TV or furniture. Once again, most couples use credit cards to purchase such an item so that it is difficult to use it as a proof of joint purchase. Unless the foreign spouse has a Social Security Number, the U.S. spouse may not file a tax return as married jointly.

The foreign spouse will be eligible to apply for a U.S. Social Security Number once he or she receives an approval I-765, Employment Authorization Document (EAD). It generally takes about three months for the foreign spouse to receive an EAD. Then the couple may apply for a joint credit card or bank account and bring them to an interview.

There is an easy solution if you are a pet lover. The couple does not need a Social Security Number and may submit pet adoption related document with USCIS Forms I-131 and 485. When you adopt a pet, you may obtain a copy of a pet adoption agreement that shows the names of the foreign and U.S. spouses. You may jointly purchase a pet insurance policy and open up a joint account with a pet clinic. The couple may also submit pictures that show the couple and their beloved pet together. You may jointly register when you sign up for a pet training school. When you take a long vacation, you may jointly make a reservation for a pet hotel. There are many creative ways to prove your loving relationship without a Social Security Number.