Marriage for Immigration Reasons:
Marriage fraud may occur when a person marries another for reasons other than love and the desire to be with that person. The most common type of fraud occurs when one party marries another in order to become an American citizen. The other party may be unaware of the fraud. Alternatively, both parties may take part in the fraud and sometimes a payment is made for the arrangement. Although most marriages are legitimate, the rate of fraudulent marriages is increasing. At Legal Action Workshop we tend to hear from those American citizens or legal permanent residents who have unwittingly been involved in a fraudulent marriage, often for immigration reasons.
An Annulment may be Filed for Marriage Fraud:
Marriage to a legal permanent resident or an American citizen is the clearest path to citizenship for an illegal alien. In most cases the legal permanent resident or American citizen is unaware that he/she is being a party to fraud, but there are hints. After the marriage the spouse, who was once loving and caring, begins to show a lack of interest. He/she may leave the home and not come back for extended periods of time. There may be arguments and sometimes found text messages or Facebook posts that explicitly discuss the fraud. Often, in these cases we suggest filing for an annulment due to marriage fraud. In many cases, when found out, the alien does not persue citizenship and may have found other alternatives.
Other Grounds for Annulment:
There are other grounds for annulment namely bigamy (marrying someone while being married to another), marrying someone who is a blood relation or who is under age, being of unsound mind, having an incurable physical incapacity or using force. However, the most common reason for an annulment is marriage fraud for immigration reasons.
The Consequences for Marriage Fraud:
There are severe consequences for marriage fraud based on the desire to become an American citizen. (refer to this article from ICE entitled Marriage Fraud is a Federal Crime). Some of the consequenses are imprisonment for less than 5 years and/or a fine for under $250,000. It’s never a good idea to take part in a fraudulent scheme even if trying to help a friend. Immigration investigators do a very thorough investigation of those who apply for citizenship through marriage to an American citizen or legal permanent resident. Their investigation may include visiting the marriage home, speaking to employers, as well as an interview. If fraud is suspected they may take further actions.
Call Legal Action Workshop:
It is always a good idea to take your time when considering marriage expecially when it involves a foreigner. If you have questions about a marriage that may be fraudulent, call Legal Action Workshop for a confidential consultation @ 1-800-HELP-444. If the attorney feels that fraud is involved, an annulment may be filed and, if approved, would be as if the marriage never took place.