Marriage Fraud: The Government’s Default Setting


Marriage Fraud is a very real issue affecting immigration to the United States. What some do not realize is how easy marriage fraud can be found by the Government, meaning the fraud would be charged against the immigrant and/or the qualifying spouse.

For marriage-based green card processing, the Government presumes all marriages are fraudulent. Each and every applicant must prove to the Government that a marriage is real.

It is true that some relationships are brief before marriage and that many newlyweds begin the Green Card process days, weeks, or months after a wedding. Young relationships are at a disadvantage to older ones. Young spouses have fewer joint bills, probably did not file a joint tax return yet, and do not have a family. However, this is an obstacle that applies to all marriage-based green card filings whether young relationship or old.

Proving a relationship is real can be simple or very difficult. A couple must be able to provide evidence that they lived together or a pretty good reason on why they are separated. If bank accounts are separated, the Government will want to hear how bills are paid. This may be obvious, but it is often overlooked, the spouses have to know the “who, what, when, where, and how” for every basic aspect of a relationship. Examples being:

  • who is your spouse? can you spell the name?
  • what does her or she do for a living?
  • when did you first meet, become engaged, and marry?
  • where did you first meet, become engaged, and marry?
  • how is the relationship going?

To the government, this is really the most involved they will be in a couple’s life and the couple is responsible to know the answers to basic relationship questions. (See relevant post here for I-130).

Finding Marriage Fraud is not pleasant when a relationship is real, but it benefits the public when the marriage is fake. “Circumventing immigration law” is a crime. Fraud is a crime. If immigrants commit this kind of fraud, they are forever damaged by the crime and can be made permanently unable to re-enter the U.S., permanently unable to receive a green card, and permanently unable to ever become a U.S. Citizen.

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