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How Can Accusations of Marriage Fraud Affect the Immigration Process?

How Can Accusations of Marriage Fraud Affect the Immigration Process?


If you want to enter the United States, or you are already in the country and wish to seek permanent resident status, there are many different requirements you must meet. Applying for a green card or a visa is a complex process, and there are many different factors that will determine whether you can enter or remain in the country. If someone has accused you of marriage fraud, it will greatly impact your case. It is critical that you understand the different challenges that can arise and how to overcome them.

What is Marriage Fraud?

Of all the different ways people can enter the United States, family-based immigration is one of the most common. Family-based immigration can authorize a person to enter the country and continue the process to become a lawful permanent resident. A citizen of the United States can sponsor a spouse in a foreign country for a visa, or they can apply for a fiance visa on a foreign citizen’s behalf. A fiance visa can allow a person to enter the United States for marriage and receive a conditional green card. 

However, any marriage pertaining to a visa or green card must be legitimate. If it is not, it may be considered marriage fraud. One of the most common types of marriage fraud is when a citizen of the United States accepts a monetary payment or other compensation in exchange for agreeing to marry someone in a different country so they can enter America. Marriage fraud is a federal offense, and all parties involved in a transaction can face charges.

Penalties for Marriage Fraud

A conviction for marriage fraud is punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine. If you have been accused of marriage fraud, it can also greatly impact your ability to legally immigrate to the United States at any time in the future. If you had previously tried to obtain a green card or visa by entering into a marriage that was not legitimate, any future application you submit may be denied. It does not even matter how much time has passed since the violation.

The federal courts, as well as the Board of Immigration Appeals, have spoken out about the issue on many occasions. Both have found that a conspiracy to commit marriage fraud is enough to disqualify someone for immigration, even if a marriage never actually occurred. Still, even when it is found that a person committed marriage fraud, they can sometimes obtain a waiver of inadmissibility. This is often possible if they can prove a spouse or other relative, who is also a green card holder or citizen of the United States, will experience great hardship if the applicant is not approved.

Our Immigration Attorney in Chicago Can Help With Marriage Fraud Accusations

Any time you have an immigration issue, it is critical to work with an attorney. When facing accusations of marriage fraud, it is even more critical. At Sverdloff Law Group, our Chicago immigration attorney can make the process as easy as possible while protecting against such accusations. Call us now at 312-238-9090 or consult us online to schedule a consultation.


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