Immigration Marriage Fraud – How Serious is it?

There are countless benefits to immigrants who marry a U.S. citizen. For that reason, it is no surprise that many seek to marry a citizen for the sole purpose of obtaining them. However, due to the potential for abuse of these special benefits, authorities apply a high level of scrutiny to immigrants and U.S. citizens who wish to marry. 


The three types of marriage frauds are:


  • A marriage where one or both of the parties know the marriage is a fraud.
  • An immigrant “tricks” a United States citizen into believing the marriage is legitimate.
  • A U.S. citizen is asked to perform a favor or is paid to do so, and that favor is to marry an immigrant already in the United States so she or he can stay.


If the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) finds that a marriage is fraudulent, it will leave the immigrant permanently ineligible to obtain an immigrant visa and subject to removal from the United States. Being found guilty of marriage fraud may also subject the alien and his or her U.S. citizen spouse to criminal penalties.


Courts have held that inconsistent statements during the fact-finding process may be the basis for finding that marriage was fraudulent. People who entered into legitimate marriages, and are trying to demonstrate this, need to ensure that all of the information they provide to immigration authorities is consistent.


When an immigrant obtains a visa from a marriage, and the marriage ends before two years, the immigrant will be removed unless he or she has established that the marriage was not entered into to bypass U.S. immigration laws. A marriage ending within 2 years is not itself proof that the marriage was fraudulent, but the presumption is that it was a false marriage unless the immigrant proves otherwise.


If you entered a marriage legitimately, but are being accused of entering it fraudulently, Michael B. Cohen can help guide you through the process and counsel you to protect your rights and freedom. Call today! 


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