Marriage fraud occurs when a foreign-born individual enters into marriage with a U.S. citizen, not for love, but in hopes of obtaining a green card or some other form of lawful permanent residency.
Marriage fraud comes in a number of forms:
- When one person is paid or receives favors in exchange for the marriage;
- “Mail-order” marriages;
- When a U.S. citizen marries a foreign national under the belief that the marriage is legitimate but is defrauded.
Marriage fraud is felony and should be taken very seriously. Because it’s considered a threat to U.S. national security, penalties can result in up to 5 years in jail and $250,000 in fines for both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens.
Marriage fraud is often accompanied by charges of harboring an alien, conspiracy and visa fraud, all of which carry separate prison sentences and fines.
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If you have been charged with marriage fraud, take this charge very seriously and hire an attorney that has extensive experience handling this complex and sensitive area of law.