It is well-known that the easiest way to get a green card in the U.S. is through marriage to a U.S. citizen. When you get married to a U.S. citizen,you will become eligible for a family based green card.
Marriage based green card applications are scrutinized to make sure that the marriage is legitimate. These applications will not be approved automatically just because it is filed by a U.S. citizen. Immigration authorities will approve marriage based immigrant petitions only after they make sure that the marriage has not been entered into for the purpose of getting a green card.
Marriage fraud is a federal crime that can land you in jail. You will also be imposed a fine of up to $250,000. Apart from that, you will lose all immigration benefits that were conferred upon you, if you are found to have committed marriage fraud.
There are different types of marriage fraud. In some cases, U.S. citizens are paid to marry a foreign national who is already living in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa. This way the foreign national will be able to get a marriage based green card. U.S. citizens do it as a favor or do it for money.
“Mail-order” marriage is another type of marriage fraud where both the parties, i.e., the U.S. citizen as well as the foreign national know it is a fraud. The other type of fraud is that in which the U.S. citizens are defrauded by foreign nationals. U.S. citizens are made to think that the marriage is real but is not.
If you are found to have committed marriage fraud and evaded the U.S. immigration laws, you will be penalized and fined. The above-mentioned fines will apply to both the parties that have engaged in the fraud. If you are charged with marriage fraud, you will also be charged with making false statements, committing visa fraud and harboring a foreign national. All these additional crimes will carry additional fines and prison sentences.
Remember that terrorists can use this to enter the U.S. In most cases, they hide their identity and gain legal status in the U.S. and conduct criminal activity. U.S. citizens participating in this type fraud knowingly or unknowingly help terrorists to come to the U.S. In such cases, U.S. citizens will be held accountable.
Engaging in marriage fraud that is considered to be a threat to the country’s national security, is a felony. Anyone engaging in this crime will face serious criminal penalties.