Green Card Marriage Fraud
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What Is Green Card Marriage Fraud?
Green card marriage fraud occurs when a person enters into a marriage solely for the purpose of obtaining a green card. For some people, a marriage-based visa is often seen as a “fast-track” towards permanent residency or U.S. citizenship, as these types of visas often have the shortest wait period. However, fraudulent intent in an immigration application is a serious violation and can result in various legal consequences.
How Is Green Card Marriage Fraud Proven?
When issuing green cards for marriage, immigration authorities use a variety of methods to determine whether there is an issue of fraud. Some of these include:
- Interviews: These are in-person interviews with the spouses to help determine how well the couple knows each other, etc.
- Evidence: Authorities will usually check for evidence that the couple has previously met each other. This can include photos together, travel stubs for previous visits, receipts, etc.
- Witness Testimony: Some marriages are debunked through the testimony of witnesses that contradicts or disproves the claims of the couple
Authorities are also looking for is falsified evidence or records that were created solely to deceive immigration personnel. For instance, if the green card applicant lied about information on their immigration application, this can affect their immigration status.
In some cases, there may actually be a written contract in existence related to the green card marriage. Some of these marriages are arranged by a third party that specializes in arranging false marriages. Evidence of such contracts and payments for such services can result in legal consequence, even criminal consequences.
What Are Some Penalties for Green Card Marriage Fraud?
Green card marriage fraud can lead to serious legal penalties, including:
- Removal (deportation) from the U.S.
- Ban on re-entering the U.S.
- Criminal fraud charges, especially for the spouse that is a citizen
- Civil charges if the fraudulent marriage has caused damages
Thus, green card marriage fraud can involve a mix of both immigration and criminal charges. The effects of such charges can last several years, and sometimes indefinitely with regards to bans on re-entry.
Do I Need an Attorney for Help with Marriage Fraud Issues?
Green card applications are checked and enforced quite strictly. You may need to hire an immigration lawyer if you have any questions or legal inquiries regarding a green card based on marriage. Your attorney can help ensure that you are following all the requirements and that your application is complete. If you need to attend any immigration hearings, your attorney can provide you with legal representation during the meetings.
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Last Modified: 05-20-2014 12:41 PM PDT
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