Gaining lawful entrance into the United States is a dream for many of those who reside in other nations. However, it can sometimes take a long while to obtain a green card or a work visa.
Some films and television programs show couples from two nations getting a “green card marriage” for the sole purpose of immigration. You might think this is a harmless way to live in America, but it is considered marriage fraud and could lead to harsh consequences.
What are some examples of marriage fraud?
A typical way marriage fraud occurs is when a resident of another country pays an American citizen to marry them and move them onto U.S. soil. Other examples of fraud include:
- Getting a U.S. citizen to marry you as a favor
- Mail-order marriages (where at least one party knows it is fraudulent)
- Persuading an American that your marriage is legitimate and based on real feelings
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will investigate your marriage if it suspects fraud. Investigative techniques may involve a home visit and interviews with each spouse separately.
What are the consequences?
Two consequences include possible deportation and denial of your green card application. It could even lead to incarceration, expensive fines and the denial of any future applications you submit. The involved U.S. citizen can also face significant legal penalties.
A mere accusation of immigration-related marriage fraud is not enough to get you deported. Remember, the USCIS must investigate and prove that the fraud occurred.
Before the investigation ends, take advantage of this period to work on a defense against deportation and other penalties. It’s wise to have experienced legal guidance.