Penalties for Immigration Marriage Fraud

If you or a partner is considering a fake marriage to enter the United States through a lawful permanent residency status, you are committing a serious crime that can have consequences. Known casually as the “green card” marriage, this form of marriage is a direct violation of the United State’s immigration laws. People often use it to bypass the limitations of traditional visas and entrance into the country.

The Requirements of a True, Legal Marriage

In many cases, marriage is legitimate. However, the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) may become suspicious of a fraudulent marriage. For your wedding to be valid under immigration laws, it must:

  • Include a real marriage ceremony;
  • Have a marriage certificate complete with government stamps;
  • You and your spouse must live together in a marital relationship;
  • The marital relationship begins immediately after the wedding ceremony.

USCIS makes it their top priority to seek out fraudulent marriages for immigration. Therefore, a USCIS  may question you about your intentions and your marriage — even if it is a legitimate one – at the adjustment of status interview.

Unfortunately, you will be required to provide evidence that your marriage is valid, which could include documentation from family members, extended personal interviews with a USCIS agent, a two-year testing period, and more.

USCIS will not follow or closely monitor your marital life. Instead, they rely on the documentation of your marriage and bona fide relationship you provide and personal interviews. However, you might be visited by an investigator from the Department of Homeland Security. The investigators could interview friends, family, neighbors, and your employer about your relationship.

What are the Penalties for a Fraudulent Immigration Marriage?

If you are guilty of marriage fraud, you will spend up to five years in prison, face fines of as much as $250,000, and you will lose all benefits whether you are the individual seeking a green card or the United States citizen.

Also, you could be charged with visa fraud, harboring an illegal alien, conspiracy, and more. Each of these charges carries subsequent prison sentences that could result in years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

If you’re thinking of sponsoring your non-citizen spouse, please contact an immigration attorney to assist you. Speak with a lawyer from Udall Shumway, PLC immediately.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Immigration Marriage Fraud, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.