What is considered Marriage Fraud?

You probably already know that marriage fraud is illegal both from an immigration and a criminal standpoint. Entering into a sham marriage (or "Green Card marriage") can lead to criminal charges and permanent ineligibility to obtain immigration benefits.

What constitutes marriage fraud?

Marriage fraud means contracting a fake marriage to obtain U.S. lawful permanent residence, also known as a green card. This kind of marriage is entered with the sole purpose of circumventing U.S. immigration laws.

Detecting fraudulent marriages is a priority for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). According to a 1980 survey, approximately 30 % of marriages between a U.S. citizen and a foreign national were fraudulent.

For a marriage to be considered real, the couple must establish a life together and must prove the intentions of establishing a life together after marriage

How can a couple prove they entered into a real marriage? These are a few examples:

  • Sharing the same religion and/or language;
  • Taking vacations together;
  • Celebrating important events together;
  • Having sex;
  • Have babies together;
  • Commingle accounts and financial resources;
  • Share a residence and a lease agreement;
  • Meet each other relatives.

A two-year trial period is required for couples who have been married less than two years at the time the green card application is approved. If suspects arise during the two-year period, the USCIS may:

  • Visit your home;
  • Talk to your friends and relatives;
  • Interview your employers;
  • Schedule a new interview when you file Form I-751 to remove conditions on your permanent residency.

What happens if authorities have doubts about whether your marriage is a real one?

A fraud interview will be scheduled at a local field office. You will be subject to extensive questioning. Before the interview, you should consult with an immigration attorney.

What you should know about a fraud interview (also called Stoke interview)

  • These interviews take place in the United States. However, if your spouse is oversees, you will attend the interview alone
  • The immigration officer will put you and your spouse in two different rooms, and ask you identical questions
  • Later, the officers will compare the answers to see if they match

These may be some of the questions you may be asked:

  • How did you meet and when?
  • How many people attended the wedding?
  • Where and when do you spend time?
  • Have you met each other relatives?
Categories: Green Card
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