There are multiple ways to get a green card for someone who wants to become a permanent resident. But one of the most common ways that people do this is simply by getting married.
If someone is in the United States on a tourist visa, a work visa or an educational visa, they may fall in love with an American citizen. But this visa isn’t going to allow them to stay for long enough to form a life together, so the government will give out green cards in order to allow these relationships to continue.
In some cases, people who get these green cards are accused of marriage fraud. What does this mean and what should you do if you’re facing these accusations?
Getting married for the green card
Essentially, marriage fraud is any situation in which two people pretend to be in an authentic relationship just to get a green card.
For example, perhaps you attended university with someone from another country. The two of you became good friends. After graduation, they wanted to stay in the United States and start building a new life since they’ve been living here for so long. But their educational visa was almost expired and they knew they were going to have to leave.
As a favor, you agreed to technically get married to them. After signing the documents at the courthouse, they were able to apply for a green card based on being your spouse. This may seem like you’re just exploiting a loophole, but it is actually a very serious form of fraud.
There are other types of fraud that sometimes exist as well, such as someone being paid to get married specifically to get a green card. The authorities will often conduct marriage interviews to try to determine if marriages are legitimate or not, just to get around these types of issues.
What are your options?
You may know full well that your marriage is very real and important to you. The green card is just a way for you and your spouse to stay together. But you could still be accused of fraud, and then it’s very important to know exactly what legal steps to take.