Not only does a green card give you the right to live and work in the U.S legally, but it also creates a pathway toward full citizenship. And with this, you can also bring your relatives to the United States.
Because a green card is so coveted, some people attempt to obtain it illegally, such as through fraudulent marriage. Therefore the immigration authorities can sometimes get overly suspicious about why couples marry. What if they accuse you of marrying for the wrong reason?
Understanding marital fraud
No law prohibits American citizens from finding love overseas. However, if that marriage is solely meant to help a foreign national become a U.S citizen, then it will be treated as sham marriage or marital fraud. Marital fraud is a federal crime. If discovered, both spouses will face serious consequences.
What are the consequences for the overseas national?
Being found guilty of entering a sham marriage to evade the provisions of the immigration laws can lead to a fine of up to $250,000, a prison time of 5 years or both. Additionally, the immigration authorities will seek to revoke your green card, remove you from the country and ban you from future entry after you pay the fine or serve jail time.
What are the consequences for the U.S national?
A conviction for marital fraud could lead to the following charges for your spouse:
- Illegally hosting an alien
- Visa fraud charges
- Providing falsified statements
- Conspiracy to commit a crime
If the authorities have misinterpreted your reasons for marrying, seek legal help to protect yourself and your spouse.