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What is marriage fraud?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2023 | Immigration & Naturalization

Love has no boundaries. People from different countries and continents can meet, fall in love and marry. The U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) does its best to help U.S. citizens/ green card holders live with their non-citizen spouses permanently in the country by giving them a green card through family.

However, the department recognizes that some people will get married for permanent residence. So, it pays attention and responds promptly to claims of marriage fraud.

Here is what you should know about this offense.

What is considered marriage fraud?

Marriage fraud/sham marriage occurs when a marriage is entered into to avoid immigration laws. Instead of an applicant following all the required procedures, they get married to a citizen or a permanent resident and get a green card.

Further, entering a marriage while a previous one is still active, perhaps you didn’t get a legal divorce, may also be considered a sham marriage. When applying for a green card by way of marriage, one will submit a copy of the civil marriage certificate and a copy of divorce decrees, annulment decrees or death certificates to prove any previously entered marriage(s) was terminated. 

How does USCIS suspect marriage fraud?

When someone applies for a green card through marriage, the USCIS will consider several factors to conclude the marriage may be fraudulent. For example, if someone supposed to leave the country due to an approaching visa expiration date gets married days before, the department will have questions.

Other red flags are not living together, not jointly owning any property and a soon divorce. The department also interviews couples to obtain more information. 

If you want to be a permanent resident as a spouse, it will be best to get legal guidance to make the right moves to avoid marriage fraud allegations later.