If you meet and marry a foreign national, U.S. laws allow you to bring them into the country through a marriage-based green card.
Unfortunately, some people abuse the system and innocent people who married for the right reasons could be investigated by the authorities in their quest to stamp the problem out.
So, what does marriage fraud look like?
Simply put, marriage is considered fraudulent when it is entered into for the sole purpose of helping a foreign national obtain the right to live in the United States. Common examples of marriage fraud include:
- Where a U.S. citizen or permanent resident solicits money to marry and sponsor a foreign national for a green card.
- When a U.S. national enters into a false marriage with a foreign national as a favor
- When a foreign national tricks a U.S. national or permanent resident into marriage with the intention of divorcing after relocating to the U.S.
Marrying for a green card is a serious offense with consequences for both parties. For the U.S. national or permanent resident, the charges may include conspiracy to commit a crime, hosting an alien illegally or committing visa fraud. A conviction can result in fines and prison time.
For the foreign national, the charges may include providing false statements and conspiracy to commit a crime. A conviction can lead to fines, imprisonment and removal from the country.
Because there are people who do these things, the authorities might wrongly accuse you of marrying for a green card. If this happens, you need to understand your legal options. Some of the evidence you may present to provide proof of a genuine marriage include copies of the marriage documents, proof of courtship and wedding as well as the existence of estate planning documents like a will.