What You Need to Know About Marriage Fraud

According to United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), there are different types of fraudulent marriages, including those involving United States citizens marrying a foreign national as a favor or for money; foreign nationals defrauding U.S. citizens into marrying them for a green card; mail order marriages; and fraudulent visa lottery marriages.

Each individual in the marriage can be charged with marriage fraud, regardless of whether they are the U.S. citizen or the foreign national. The Department of Homeland Security has an Investigations Tip Line strictly for the reporting of suspected marriage fraud.

Individuals convicted of marriage fraud could face the denial of the adjustment of status application, the denial of any subsequent immigrant visa petitions, a prison sentence of up to 5 years, fines up to $250,000, and deportation of the non-citizen spouse.

Individuals charged with marriage fraud also may be charged with other crimes, such as harboring an alien, perjury, or making false statements, and visa fraud.

Marriage Fraud and Obtaining a Green Card

If a foreign spouse has been involved in a marriage fraud, it is unlikely they will be able to obtain a green card. Marriages entered into for the sole purpose of obtaining permission to permanently live in the United States are fraudulent by nature.

Avoiding Accusations of Marriage Fraud

One of the most common times that a couple may be accused of marriage fraud is during the adjustment of status interview. Couples who have legitimate marriages should take this opportunity to reveal any personal aspects of their relationship that support the legitimacy of their marriage.

By bringing evidence of the marital relationship, the examiners will get a glimpse into the marriage. Such evidence can include marriage certificates; birth certificates; passports and visa materials; joint account statements, including joint bills or residency documents; photographs; and affidavits from friends and family members.

If suspicion of marriage fraud remains after the adjustment of status interview, couples will be required to attend a secondary, marriage-based interview known as a “Stokes interview,” during which a marriage inquiry takes place to uncover any fraud.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Assist Individuals Accused of Marriage Fraud

If you or a family member has been accused of marriage fraud, or is facing a denial of a green card application, a multilingual Philadelphia immigration lawyer at Surin & Griffin, P.C. is ready to help. We represent individuals and their families in all areas of immigration law, including issues related to removal, deportations, Board of Immigration appeals, visa applications, abuse petitions and asylum.

Call us today at 215-925-4435 or contact us online. From our offices in Philadelphia, we represent clients in the greater Philadelphia area, including those in Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.