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?