Legal Implications of Marriage Fraud
December 20, 2018
Individuals who desperately want to become United States citizens will often go to extreme measures to be able to stay in this country. Some believe that by marrying a U.S. citizen, it entitles them to a green card. However, this is a common misconception. In fact, people who enter into a marriage for the sole purpose of obtaining citizenship are guilty of marriage fraud.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a large percentage of marriage-based green card filings are fraudulent, since it is one way that immigrants with no job skills, money, or connections can obtain a green card. However, it is a serious offense that can result in jail time or deportation.
Types of Marriage Fraud
USCIS has identified the following types of marriage fraud:
- A United States citizen receives financial compensation for marrying a foreign national
- A U.S. citizen marries a foreign national as a favor
- A foreign national marries a U.S. citizen for a green card, even though the United States citizen believes that the marriage is legitimate
- The U.S. citizen and the foreign national are aware that the marriage is fraudulent. This is also known as a mail-order marriage
- Visa lottery fraudulent marriages
If the marriage between a U.S. citizen and an immigrant is legitimate, but the couple is accused of marriage fraud, they will need to prove to an immigration officer that the relationship is genuine. The couple will be required to attend an interview, where the immigration officer will determine the legitimacy of the relationship. If he or she suspects fraud, the couple will need to attend a second interview, where they will be split up and interviewed about the nature of their relationship.
To prepare for this interview, the couple should keep the following tips in mind:
- Dress professionally and arrive on time.
- Answer questions honestly and be honest if you do not know the answer to a question
- Bring documents, photos, letters, bank statements, and any other evidence that will help prove that your marriage is legitimate
- Come prepared by reviewing sample questions before your interview
- Consult with an experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyer
Consequences of Marriage Fraud
The USCIS takes marriage fraud very seriously. An immigrant found guilty of marriage fraud would most likely be deported and have his or her current visa revoked. In addition, he or she would become ineligible to apply for a visa or green card in the future.
There may be criminal penalties as well, including up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The citizen spouse may also face criminal charges of harboring an alien, visa fraud, or making false statements.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Help Clients Obtain Citizenship
If you need legal assistance in obtaining citizenship through marriage, the Philadelphia immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC are on your side. We will help you prepare for the interview process so that you can avoid some of the common pitfalls that may jeopardize your case. We have a proven track record in immigration law and we will work tirelessly to protect your rights and help secure your citizenship. For a free consultation, call us today at 215-496-0690 or contact us online. Our office is located in Philadelphia where we serve clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the tri-state area, and nationally.