Marriage immigration involves when a U.S. citizen living in America gets married to a non-U.S. citizen. If the non-U.S. citizen wants to get a visa so he or she could permanently work and live in the U.S., then he or she could apply for a marriage or fiancé visa.
On the other hand, if a non-U.S. citizen marries a U.S. citizen with the sole intent of getting a green card and evading immigration laws, then the non-U.S. citizen is considered guilty of immigration marriage fraud.
What Exactly is Immigration Marriage Fraud?
Immigration marriage fraud, also called sham marriage, occurs when a non-U.S. citizen enters into a fraudulent or fake marriage to deceive immigration officers and circumvent the law, explains an immigration lawyer from one of the best law firms in Salt Lake City, Buhler Thomas Law, P.C. In general, the following are examples of conduct that might be classified as immigration marriage fraud:
- Deceiving or misleading immigration authorities
- Submitting false marriage documents
- Setting up phony living arrangements to satisfy legal marriage requirements
- Marrying for convenience, under certain circumstances
It is, however, crucial to note that a marriage that was entered into for other reasons than love could be deemed legal provided that the couple meets all legal marriage requirements, including being of legal marrying age and a valid marriage license. It’s common for people to marry for “convenience”, but when two individuals marry to commit immigration fraud, then it’s illegal.
What Happens If You Commit Immigration Marriage Fraud?
Being found guilty of immigration fraud could result in severe consequences. First off, it is a felony offense, so you face up to a $250,000 fine and five years imprisonment. These penalties apply to both the U.S. citizen and non-U.S. citizen. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, you might likewise be charged with making fraudulent statements, harboring an illegal alien, conspiracy, and visa fraud, and these additional charges come with additional penalties as well. Immigration based on marriage should not present legal problems, considering that they’re legitimate. If you’re looking to get a green card via marriage, it’s best that you consult an experienced immigration lawyer to advise you.