Marriage Fraud Under U.S. Immigration Law
It seems that many people are considering fake or sham marriages as a means of attaining legal status in the United States. As you most likely already know, trying to gain legal permanent residence through these means is ILLEGAL.
The Risks of Entering a Fake Marriage
Those who conspire to enter a fake marriage do it with the intentions of getting around U.S. immigration laws. It takes more than a wedding ceremony and marriage certificate for a marriage to be valid under U.S. law. The U.S. citizen and foreign national must have the honest intention of actually establishing a life together once the actual wedding ceremony takes place. If once the couple goes their own ways after their wedding then it raises flag for indications of a “fake” marriage.
One of the top priorities of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is to detect these marriage frauds. The immigration authorities actually require a lot more proof of documentation for the marriage than for any other family-based visa applications. Couple who seek marriage-based visas are subject to longer and in-depth personal interview, along with a two-year testing period for couples who have been married for less than two years when either their green card was approved or when they enter the United States on their immigrant visa.
Unless there are grounds for suspicion, the United States government usually won’t follow around a couple or explore deeper into their life beyond the required paperwork and interviews. Inspectors of the Department of Homeland Security have the authority to visit the couple’s home, talk to friends and family, interview employers and colleagues and so forth. Since the required documentation and process of married couples is more specific than others, the U.S. government has established a system that gives them plenty of information to help conclude whether a marriage is real or fake.
There are many ways that U.S. immigration authorities expect applicants to prove that the married couple actually shares a life together and enjoy a similar way of living. By providing copies of document of rental agreements, bank account statements, photos of vacations and important events, children’s birth certificates are just a few examples of proof.
Couples who get caught with marriage fraud have themselves to blame since they usually stumble though the standard process, thinking that putting together a fake marriage was easier than it actually is. The U.S. citizen and foreign individual who try to scam the system and get caught face the denial of the marriage based visa and possible prosecution.
This is not official legal advice – please speak to an immigration lawyer to discuss you direct situation.