It's illegal to marry someone for the express reason of obtaining a certain immigration status. Many potential citizens have ruined their chances of becoming a resident of the US by participating in such schemes. Read on to find out more.

Immigration Status Changes with Marriage

Only so many foreigners are allowed to legally enter the US every year. There is always far more wanting to immigrate than space allows. However, immigration status on the Visa waitlist can depend on marital status. When a citizen of another country wants a US Visa, their place on the list can rise considerably if they are married to a US citizen. Unfortunately, some immigrants have found ways to cheat and use this rule to obtain a fake status with a sham marriage.

Beware the Red Flags

The United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) are suspicious of nearly all visa applications because of large numbers of immigrants faking marriage in the past to obtain a higher status. Agents for the government agency scrutinize the applications looking for tell-tale signs of sham marriages and conduct further interviews and checks on certain applications that appear questionable. When an immigrant applies for a so-called green card (visa), agents look for these red flags of a sham marriage:

  1. Although claiming to be a couple, the parties reside in different homes, cities, or even states.
  2. The couple each speak a different language and cannot communicate with each other except in the most rudimentary manner.
  3. The application contains omissions and false information.
  4. When interviewed separately, the parties have conflicting stories about how they met, are unsure of personal facts about each other, and lie to immigration agents.
  5. When asked how they met, they claim to have met and fallen in love entirely online.
  6. The couple met and immediately got married.

After the Interview

As you might expect, if you are suspected of getting married just to get a visa, the consequences can be very serious. The non-citizen can be deported back to their native country, and they may never enter the US again for any reason. In addition:

  • The marriage is ruled to be obtained under false pretenses and therefore not legal. In the US, that means the marriage is annulled, which is as if the marriage never happened.
  • In many cases, both parties face financial penalties and fines.

If you have been accused of participating in a sham marriage, you need legal help. Speak to an immigration lawyer about your case at once. They can help you prove that your marriage is real and get your status back on track.