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What Is Marriage Fraud and What Are the Penalties?

Wedding in Las VegasYou’ve by now heard the phrase “getting married for a visa”, but what does it actually mean? There is a huge misconception that once you get married to an American citizen, then you’re automatically granted permanent citizenship or a green card. This is not always the case. Some issues may prevent a foreigner from getting the green card. One of these issues is marriage fraud The U.S. immigration laws term this as fraudulent and you can either face jail time or be deported.

What is a sham marriage?

It is a marriage in which one enters into with the hope of getting around the U.S. Under immigration laws, a real marriage is not about the ceremony. You have to be in a real relationship that is aimed at building a life together. If you don’t plan to establish a life together, then the marriage is considered a sham.

Types of marriage fraud

Marriage fraud normally occurs in different forms. The USCIS is tasked with finding cases of marriage fraud and the common types include:

  • Visa lottery fake marriages
  • Mail order marriage where a foreigner knows that the marriage is fraudulent
  • A U.S. citizen gets defrauded by a foreigner when they believe that the marriage is real
  • Where a United States citizen is paid to marry a foreigner
  • Where a United States Citizen agrees to marry a foreigner as a favor

What are the penalties for committing marriage fraud?

Any person either the foreigner or the U.S. citizen can be charged with marriage fraud if they got married to evade the United States immigration law. Some of the consequences of committing marriage fraud include. Denial of visa petitions, deportation of the foreign national, charges on making false statements and visa fraud, denial of immigrant visa petitions and even a fine of up to $250,000 or a 5 year’s imprisonment.

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The risk of getting caught and punished due to marriage fraud is severe. It’s not only unethical, it’s also illegal. If you would like to get into the U.S. speak to Shirley Reginiano, Esq. who will be able to guide you on the steps to take to legally get into the U.S.

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