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Dating and Marriage Fraud

Sham marriages are sometimes considered distinct from a marriage fraud, which is a type of romance scam, in which one spouse is unwittingly taken advantage of by the foreign spouse who feigns romantic interest, typically in order to obtain a residence permit or for money

You’ve probably heard the expression “marrying for a visa,” but what does that actually mean? There is a common misconception floating around that any foreign national who marries an America citizen is entitled to a green card (or permission to permanently live in the U.S.). However, this isn’t always true.

There are several issues that may prevent a foreign spouse from obtaining a green card, including marriage fraud. In other words, if the relationship is entered into for the main purpose of evading U.S. immigration laws, then the marriage is fraudulent and the foreign spouse is not entitled to a green card. Marriage fraud is a serious criminal offense that can result in deportation or even jail time.

Types of Marriage Fraud

Marriage fraud comes in many different forms.

• A U.S. citizen is paid to marry a foreign national

• A U.S. citizen marries a foreign national as a favor

• A foreign national defrauds a U.S. citizen who believes that their marriage is legitimate

• Mail-order marriages (where either the U.S. citizen or the foreign national knows that the marriage is fraudulent),

Visa lottery fraudulent marriages

A finding of marriage fraud can have both Civil and Criminal Consequences for the immigrant, and criminal consequences for the U.S. citizen or permanent resident petitioner.

An immigrant found to have committed marriage fraud could be removed from the United States (deported). If he or she still holds a nonimmigrant (temporary) visa, it would be revoked. In addition, the fraud would remain on the person’s immigration record, making it virtually impossible to obtain any future U.S. visa or green card.

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