When you are facing marriage fraud allegations or your spouse is accused of committing marriage fraud, a lawyer can help you protect yourself from criminal liability and potentially avoid the harsh consequences of immigration fraud, including deportation.
Going it alone may be ill-advised when immigration laws in the United States are so complex. Working with a lawyer may be the best way to prove the validity of your marriage and clear your name of the allegations against you.
Marriage Fraud in the U.S.
You might be surprised to learn you are facing marriage fraud accusations. Although you may be a U.S. citizen, when you fall in love with someone who lives in another country and hope to get married, you must follow strict requirements and immigration laws to obtain a green card.
Unfortunately, far too many sham marriages exist where a foreign national will marry a United States citizen for the sole purpose of obtaining a green card. This is not only frowned upon, but against the law. You could be facing criminal charges if you are accused of committing marriage fraud, which could carry severe penalties.
Suppose you have been charged with or accused of committing marriage fraud. In that case, you can expect to complete an interview with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to prove the validity of your marriage.
Actions of Marriage Fraud
Marriage fraud can take many forms. It does not only include the actual marriage itself. Any time a U.S. citizen and a foreign national take steps to deceive immigration officials, they could face marriage fraud charges.
Falsifying marriage documents, creating false living arrangements, or lying about having the marriage requirements could all constitute marriage fraud.
Scrutinizing Fake Marriages in the U.S.
USCIS and ICE officials have scrutinized marriages between U.S. citizens and foreign nationals due to the high number of false and fraudulent marriages.
The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your marriage is invalid to obtain a conviction in your case. For this reason, you should be prepared to introduce compelling evidence that can support the legitimacy of your marriage, such as:
- Photos of you and your spouse
- Video of your wedding
- Copies of utility bills
- Copies of your immigration documents
- Witness statements from friends and family
- Proof your relationship existed before the marriage
What About Marriages of Convenience?
Technically, under United States law, marriages of convenience can be legitimate, but only if specific requirements have been met. This includes:
- Lack of fraud
- Both parties being of age to give their consent to the marriage
- Obtaining a valid marriage license
- Having a relationship, living together, and continuing to have a relationship once the foreign national obtains their green card
However, in cases where a foreign national pays money to a United States citizen specifically to marry them and obtain a visa, the marriage could be considered fraudulent, not one of convenience and therefore subject to federal criminal penalties.
Penalties of Marriage Fraud
The consequences of a marriage fraud conviction in the United States are harsh. If you are found guilty, you could be fined up to $250,000 and spend as much as five years in federal prison.
Foreign nationals will be banned from ever acquiring their United States citizenship, and in many cases, the marriage will be annulled. Foreign nationals also run the risk of being deported for marriage fraud.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Having an immigration lawyer on your side may be one of your best options if you hope to avoid the fallout of a marriage fraud conviction. Your attorney can help gather the evidence needed to prove your marriage is not one of convenience, but rather a legitimate marriage.
By proving you have met USCIS requirements, your attorney could get the charges against you dropped and help you secure your citizenship status. Legal help could make a difference in your case, so don’t wait to reach out to a law firm that handles marriage fraud cases.
Contact a Marriage Fraud Attorney for Help Today
Marriage fraud allegations should always be taken seriously. Not only could your citizenship status be at risk, but you could be facing criminal liability and penalties.
Take steps to protect your future and potentially dodge conviction when you contact a marriage fraud attorney at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg. Get a free review of your case today when you call our office or fill out our secured contact form.
A team member is available to discuss your options with you and get your case moving. An attorney could defend you during this difficult time. You are not alone and shouldn’t have to go through this alone.