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How Can Accusations of Marriage Fraud Affect the Immigration Process?

Posted on in Immigration

DuPage County immigration lawyerImmigrants who are looking to come to the United States or those who are already in the country and are seeking permanent resident status will need to meet many different requirements. The process of applying for a visa or Green Card can be complicated, and there are a variety of factors that may affect a person’s ability to enter or remain in the country. Claims that a person has committed marriage fraud can play a significant role in immigration cases, and immigrants and their family members will need to understand when these issues may arise and how they may be overcome.

What Is Marriage Fraud?

Family-based immigration is one of the most common avenues that may provide a person with authorization to enter the United States and take steps to become a lawful permanent resident. A U.S. citizen may sponsor a foreign spouse for an immigrant visa, or they may apply for a fiancé visa on behalf of a foreign citizen, allowing the person to come to the United States, get married, and receive a conditional Green Card. However, a couple’s marriage must be bona fide, and a person cannot enter into a marriage for the purpose of bypassing immigration laws.

There are multiple different forms of marriage fraud. In many of these cases, a U.S. citizen may accept a monetary payment or other benefits in return for agreeing to marry a foreign spouse and sponsor them for an immigrant visa. Marriage fraud is a federal crime, and both parties who enter into an illegitimate marriage may face charges for this offense. The penalties for a conviction on marriage fraud charges may include a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000.

Accusations of marriage fraud may also affect a person’s ability to lawfully immigrate to the United States in the future. If a person had previously attempted to receive a visa or Green Card by entering into an illegitimate marriage, a subsequent visa application may be denied, no matter how many years have passed since the violation occurred. The Board of Immigration Appeals and federal courts have addressed this issue in multiple cases, and they have found that conspiring to commit marriage fraud may make a person ineligible for immigration, even if they never actually got married. However, if a person is found to be inadmissible due to past instances of marriage fraud, they may be able to receive a waiver of inadmissibility based on hardship to a spouse or other family member who is a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder.

Contact Our Itasca Immigration Attorneys

If you have encountered any issues related to previous marriages or relationships that will affect your ability to immigrate to the United States, Unzueta Law Group, P.C. can advise you of your options. We will help you determine whether you may be able to overcome accusations of marriage fraud or whether you qualify for waivers of inadmissibility. Contact our DuPage County immigration lawyers at 630-875-1700 for assistance with visa and Green Card applications or other related issues.

 

Sources:

http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=granuleid%3AUSC-prelim-title8-section1154&num=0&edition=prelim

https://www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Document/2016/marriageFraudBrochure.pdf

https://cliniclegal.org/resources/family-based-immigration-law/spousal-petitions/five-things-know-about-fraud-and-marriage

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