Marriage Fraud: Definition, Consequences & Solutions


Marriage transcends religion, language, culture and, in some cases, even gender. Although marital rights are recognized almost everywhere in the world, each country defines them differently. The reasons to marry include legal, social, emotional, economical, spiritual and religious factors, and vary across individuals as well as cultures. Some marriages are arranged while others are chosen by the parties themselves. Marriages are entered into for family obligations, the legal establishment of a nuclear family unit, the legal protection of children, and the declaration of the parties’ commitment to each other.

Regardless of the various reasons for marriage, all foreign nationals seeking to immigrate to the United States based on marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) must prove one thing: they share a bonafide marriage that is based on mutual love and affection and was entered into with the intent of establishing a life together. If U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) concludes that the parties married solely or primarily to obtain U.S. immigration benefits, it will issue a marriage fraud finding and deny the I-130 spousal petition. A sham marriage determination may also result in the refusal of issuance of an immigrant visa, denial of adjustment to lawful permanent resident status, the loss of resident status previously granted, and removal from the United States. A marriage fraud finding that is not overcome could forever bar the foreign national from gaining permanent resident status in the U.S.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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