Being accused of marriage fraud can be a stressful situation in any new marriage. With your Interview coming up, you and your spouse are probably nervous even though your marriage is legitimate, and that’s normal. If you have been requested to appear for a second Interview, the purpose of it may be for USCIS to conduct what is known as a ‘Fraud’ or ‘Stokes-style’ Interview to really interrogate you and your spouse about your marriage.

They may separate you and your spouse during this interview and ask in-depth questions about your relationship history and life together. This includes questions pertaining to what you eat, TV shows you watch, where you sleep, and hundreds of other aspects of your home life. Your interviewer then compares the answers to determine if the marriage is in good faith or not.

That’s why it’s important to consult an immigration attorney prior to your interview. They can help with things like:

● Knowing what questions, you might get asked.

● Helping you to ensure you have obtained the proper documents that you need for your interview, including official forms and other papers like bank statements and utility bills that are in both of your names.

● Resolving any issues that might raise a red flag with your interviewer.

Having an immigration attorney on your side can greatly increase your chances of not getting falsely accused of marriage fraud if you are in real good faith and bona fide marriage. Talk with the Law Offices of Jennifer L. Bennett today to help prove the legitimacy of your marriage!

What does marriage fraud look like and what are the penalties?

Marriage fraud is a very real thing and the consequences are severe. Therefore, immigration takes marriage fraud very seriously, investigating and bringing accusations against applicants who have engaged in such.

Here are some examples that may be deemed as a fraudulent marriage:

● When a U.S. citizen marries a foreign national in return for monetary compensation.

● Mail order grooms or brides that have the sole intent of defrauding the immigration system to obtain permanent resident status.

● More rarely, a foreign national may deceive a U.S. citizen to gain their permanent resident status.

Marriage fraud carries severe penalties to those who have involved themselves in such a situation, including criminal and other penalties. If you get convicted of marriage fraud, you could face:

● The denial of your adjustment of status application

● Deportation

● The denial of any subsequent visa petitions

● Up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine

● Additional criminal charges, like visa fraud and harboring an alien

The government could charge either or both people in the marriage with fraud if the marriage was entered with the intent to evade U.S. immigration laws. Marriage fraud is a serious offense. It’s not worth attempting to deceive the immigration department to obtain permanent resident status.

What are some marriage fraud red flags?

The U.S. government tends to believe that a large number of the marriage-based immigration applications it receives are fraudulent or fake. Due to this number, the immigration agencies will take a closer look at some applications, particularly when it spots the “red flags” described below.

The following types of personal characteristics or living situations raise questions in the eyes of USCIS or the consulate:

● No shared language

● A vast difference in age

● Difference in religion

● Different social class or cultural background

● Difference in race

● Unequal educational background

● Different addresses

● Same house, but no actual interaction

● Secret marriage

● All-too-convenient timing of marriage

● Attempts to manufacture evidence of shared life right before USCIS interview

● Marriage soon after you met

● Marriage soon after one person’s divorce

● History of U.S. petitioner sponsoring other spousal immigrants

● Noncitizen comes from a country with a history of immigration fraud

● No children if the woman is of childbearing age

● Impoverished U.S. citizen or resident petitioner

● History of crimes, fraud, or lies by either spouse

Your immigration attorney may be key in sharing their experience with you to help you figure out the best way to prove your case and squash any red flags that may exist in your real, good-faith marriage.