A formal marriage fraud finding by USCIS can have extremely serious and life-changing consequences. A marriage fraud finding under the Immigration & Nationality Act 204(c) can bar you from the approval of any later filed marriage immigrant visa case. This could bar green card issuance even if that case is filed by a U.S. citizen spouse who you are deeply in love with and can show the bona fide nature of the relationship if CIS believes you committed marriage fraud in the past.
Even those who have no past marriage fraud findings yet could easily potentially fall victim to a potential finding if you don’t prepare your case correctly. We encounter those who file the case themselves and appear at the green card interview alone unprepared for an officer who grills them and wants documents they did not bring. We see cases from even those represented by attorneys who failed to prepare the client or did not defend their client in the interview. This usually results in after the green card interviews, CIS sending officers of the Department of Homeland Security’s Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) Unit to your home to search your belongings, interview you and your spouse, your neighbors, and others to determine if they believe you are in a real relationship. CIS also looks very closely at phone records, joint financial account actual use, and the duration of the relationship and history leading up to it when reviewing a marriage case.
But even in the worst case circumstance of having to fight a marriage fraud finding after the fact, there may be hope. You may be able to refile a new immigrant visa petition after a denial of the case due to marriage fraud or you may be able to appeal the decision to the BIA or file a motion to reopen the case with USCIS due to new evidence that has come to light. The finding can even be challenged in removal proceedings and in some district courts depending on where you live. But options such as these have their advantages and disadvantages and real life factors can weigh into which option, if any, would be in your best interest. It is always important to consult a qualified family immigration attorney with experience in challenging marriage fraud allegations and/or formal findings about potential options in your case, given the history of the case, what evidence you have available, your future plans, finances, time constrains, and the ongoing cooperation of your spouse.
Our attorneys have experience working with some of the toughest cases challenging CIS officers in jurisdictions known for high rates of marriage fraud investigations who challenge everything. We fight these at the agency level, on appeal, and in court to ensure you have the best chance at avoiding the lasting consequences of marriage fraud.