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What is Marriage Fraud? Fraudulent vs Valid Green Card Marriages

Identifying marriage fraud is one of the top priorities for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Our Virginia immigration team outlines what constitutes a real marriage under U.S. immigration law and how the government detects and prevents marriage fraud below.

Real Marriage vs. Marriage Fraud

Is the marriage real, or is it purely a "green card marriage?" Was the marriage intended to obtain residency or would the involved parties have married if that weren't a factor?

Green Card Marriage

It's important to note that there are legitimate green card marriages in the eyes of the law. One of the easiest ways of obtaining a green card is through marriage, and approximately a quarter of all green cards are represented by marriage visas. For the marriage to be fraudulent, it has to lack the qualities of what is considered a real marriage.

What is a Real/Valid Marriage?

Defining a real marriage can be somewhat tricky, as the statutes and regulations don't go into very much detail on this. So the following characteristics come from a mixture of court cases and previous experiences. This does not mean you need to be able to match every description, but if many of them are missing, your case may be looked at with further scrutiny.

"Normal" married couples typically have many things in common, such as:

  • Language and religion
  • A residence together
  • Joint ventures and celebrations such as vacations,┬ábirthdays, holidays
  • Children

Typical couples also combine their finances once they get married as a way to demonstrate they trust each other by sharing bank and credit card accounts. They may even argue and have issues within their marriage, but ideally, go to counseling to work through them.

A fraudulent marriage, on the other hand, is a marriage entered into with the intent of getting around immigration laws.

Will Your Marriage Be Seen as Fraudulent?

It is not enough to simply have a real marriage ceremony and certificate. There must be the intent to live in a real marital relationship and establish a life together.

Another way a marriage-based immigration application can be found fraudulent is if it isn't legally valid. For example, if someone is already married to another person, and never got a legal divorce, the current marriage is invalid.

How Yacub Law Offices Can Help

It is particularly important to present your marriage-based petition in a well-documented manner. Find out how the experienced team at Yacub Law Offices can help you create a comprehensive case to petition for your spouse today.

To find out more about how we can help your spouse secure a green card, contact us today through our website or give us a call at (703) 552-5051 to schedule a consultation!