How To Report A Fake Marriage For Green Card

Glen D. Wasserstein, Managing Partner of ILG, specializes in immigration law, focusing on E-2 Investor Visas, L-1 visas, H-1B visas, and federal litigation. With a background in international relations, he founded ILG in 1996 and has addressed human trafficking at the United Nations Convention on Crime.

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Marriage fraud is a serious issue that undermines the integrity of the United States immigration system. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, an estimated 3,000 to 10,000 fraudulentmarriages are reported each year. Reporting a fake marriage for a green card is crucial to maintaining the fairness and effectiveness of immigration laws. It is essential to understand the role of agencies such as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in investigating suspected immigration benefit fraud.

By knowing the steps to report immigration marriage fraud and understanding the role of an abuse prevention program, you can help protect the immigration process and ensure that only valid marriages are recognized. This blog aims to educate individuals on how to report immigration marriage fraud and take appropriate action against fraudulent marriages, providing a comprehensive guide on recognizing and addressing this issue.

Understanding Immigration Marriage Fraud

Marriage fraud undermines the integrity of United States immigration law and the immigration process. Marriage fraud occurs when a foreign national marries a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident solely to obtain immigration benefits, such as a green card. This fraudulent marriage is a violation of immigration law and can lead to serious consequences for all parties involved.

Common scenarios of immigration marriage fraud include:

  • Marrying a U.S. citizen with no intention of living together as a couple.
  • Entering into a marriage of convenience arranged by third parties, often for financial gain.
  • Using a legitimate marriage to later bring in additional immigration applicants fraudulently.

Red flags associated with suspected marriage fraud can include:

  • The couple has significant age differences and limited shared interests.
  • They cannot answer basic questions about each other’s lives.
  • There is a history of previous immigration violations or immigration scams.
  • The U.S. citizen is being financially compensated for the marriage.

If you suspect someone of committing marriage fraud, it’s essential to report immigration marriage fraud to the appropriate authorities. USCIS and ICE are the primary agencies responsible for investigating suspected immigration benefit fraud. Reporting this fraud helps maintain the fairness of the immigration system and ensures that only genuine marriages receive immigration benefits.

For those who find themselves falsely accused of marriage fraud, consulting an immigration attorney or a family law attorney can provide the necessary guidance to address and resolve the situation. Understanding the immigration process and knowing how to properly report immigration fraud can help protect the integrity of the immigration system and ensure that justice is served.

What is Considered Legitimate Marriage in the U.S.?

Understanding the criteria for a valid marriage under U.S. immigration laws helps distinguish genuine marriages from fraudulent ones. Legitimate marriages meet specific legal and personal criteria, ensuring both parties enter the marriage in good faith.

Criteria for a Valid Marriage Under U.S. Immigration Laws

1. Intent to Establish a Life Together: Both individuals genuinely intend to live together, sharing financial responsibilities, living arrangements, and personal lives.

2. Legal Requirements: The marriage is legally recognized in its jurisdiction, adhering to local laws regarding marriage licenses and ceremonies.

3. Documentation: Proper documentation, such as a marriage certificate and joint financial records, is provided.

4. No Prior Fraudulent Marriages: Both parties have a clean record, with no history of immigration fraud.

5. Consummation of Marriage: The marriage must be consummated unless valid reasons, like medical conditions, prevent it.

Differences Between Legitimate and Fraudulent Marriages

Legitimate Marriages:

  • Genuine Relationship: Supported by photos, shared financial accounts, and affidavits.
  • Cohabitation: The couple lives together with proof of shared residency.
  • Consistent Timeline: Shows a continuous relationship from dating to marriage.
  • No Compensation: No financial or other compensation involved in the marriage decision.

Fraudulent Marriages:

  • Lack of Genuine Relationship: Minimal or staged interactions.
  • Separate Lives: Individuals live apart and maintain separate lives.
  • Inconsistent Timeline: Gaps or signs of being arranged for immigration benefits.
  • Financial Transactions: Evidence of financial agreements for marriage.

Report suspected fraudulent marriages to USCIS or immigration and customs enforcement. Consulting an immigration attorney can provide additional guidance.

Is Marriage Fraud a Permanent Disqualification?

Marriage fraud has serious implications for those involved, significantly impacting their immigration status and future eligibility for immigration benefits. Understanding the consequences of committing marriage fraud and its long-term effects is crucial for anyone navigating the U.S. immigration system.

Consequences of Marriage Fraud on Immigration Status

Marriage fraud is a severe violation of U.S. immigration law, with multiple consequences for those involved:

1. Revocation of Immigration Benefits: Any benefits, including permanent residency or a green card, obtained through a fraudulent marriage will be revoked. This affects both the foreign national and, in some cases, the U.S. citizen involved.

2. Deportation and Removal Proceedings: Individuals found guilty of marriage fraud will likely face deportation and removal from the United States.

3. Fines and Criminal Charges: Marriage fraud is a federal crime, leading to significant fines and imprisonment. U.S. ICE actively investigates and prosecutes these cases.

4. Permanent Bar from Future Immigration Benefits: Those involved in marriage fraud are usually permanently banned from obtaining future immigration benefits, meaning they may never legally re-enter or reside in the United States.

Does Marriage Fraud Lead to Permanent Ineligibility for Immigration Benefits?

Yes, marriage fraud typically results in permanent ineligibility for immigration benefits. The U.S. government enforces strict measures to maintain the integrity of the immigration process, often imposing a lifetime ban on those involved. This can also impact immediate family members, who may face increased scrutiny and challenges in their immigration applications.

Reporting Marriage Immigration Fraud

If you suspect marriage fraud, follow these steps:

1. Gather Evidence: Collect any relevant documentation, such as emails, financial records, or witness statements.

2. Contact USCIS: Report the fraud to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through their online tip form or by calling the National Customer Service Center.

3. Notify ICE: Contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) through their online tip form or by calling the ICE tip line.

4. Remain Anonymous: You can choose to report anonymously if you fear retaliation.

These agencies will investigate and take appropriate action against those committing immigration fraud.

Consequences of Immigration Fraud

Committing marriage fraud carries severe legal penalties and repercussions. Those involved face:

  • Revocation of Benefits: Any obtained immigration benefits, like a green card, will be revoked.
  • Deportation: Guilty individuals are likely to face deportation and removal from the U.S.
  • Fines and Imprisonment: Marriage fraud is a federal crime, leading to significant fines and possible imprisonment. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) actively prosecutes these cases.
  • Permanent Ineligibility: Those convicted are often permanently barred from obtaining future immigration benefits, severely limiting their ability to legally re-enter or reside in the U.S.

Preventing Marriage Fraud

To prevent marriage fraud, follow these strategies:

  • Know Your Partner: Ensure you have a genuine relationship, sharing personal and financial responsibilities.
  • Document Everything: Keep detailed records of your relationship, including photos, joint accounts, and communication history.
  • Consult Professionals: Seek advice from an immigration attorney to understand legal requirements and avoid pitfalls.
  • Be Honest: Ensure all information provided to immigration authorities is truthful and accurate.
  • Report Suspicions: If you suspect fraud, report it to USCIS or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to protect yourself and others from involvement in fraudulent activities.

Avoiding False Accusations of Marriage Fraud

To avoid false accusations of marriage fraud:

  • Maintain Transparency: Be open and honest about your relationship, sharing personal and financial details with immigration authorities.
  • Keep Proper Documentation: Retain thorough records of your relationship, including photos, joint bank accounts, leases, and correspondence.
  • Demonstrate Cohabitation: Show evidence of living together, such as utility bills, mail, and shared expenses.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Consult an immigration attorney to ensure compliance with immigration laws and procedures.
  • Be Prepared for Interviews: Answer all questions consistently and truthfully
  • during immigration interviews, providing evidence to support your genuine relationship.


In summary, marriage fraud is a serious violation with severe consequences, including deportation and permanent ineligibility for immigration benefits. Understanding the criteria for legitimate marriages, preventing fraud, and avoiding false accusations are crucial steps. Reporting suspected fraud helps maintain the integrity of the immigration process. For assistance, consult the Immigration Law Group for a marriage based green card lawyer for expert guidance.

For expert and personalized legal assistance tailored to your immigration needs, you can also consult our New Orleans immigration attorney.