How to Prove that Your Marriage to an Immigrant is Legal
By: LN on May 31, 2012 04:33:15 PM
Many people chose to circumvent immigration laws by committing marriage fraud, also referred to as a "marriage of convenience". As such, USCIS has clamped down on a lot of cases where US citizens have married illegal immigrants with the intention of sponsoring them to remain in the United States legally. With this in mind, as soon as you enter into a marriage with a foreign-born immigrant, you will need to prove that your marriage is legal before a Permanent Resident Card is issued to your spouse. Here's how to prove that your marriage is legal if you are an immigrant.

How to Prove that Your Marriage is Legal when Marry Are an Immigrant: Abide by visa rules to marry your spouse

If you are filing form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) you are agreeing to marry your fiancé(e) within 90 days of their arrival in the United States. By submitting and signing the form, you are entering into a legal contract. That means if you fail to marry your fiancé (e) within 90 days of their arrival into the country, your new spouse will be subject to deportation on suspicion of marriage fraud.

According to the USCIS web site, Title 8, United States Code, Section 1325 states that a person who knowingly enters into a marriage so that they can evade immigration laws will be imprisoned for up to five years and also face a fine of $250,000. It is up the to the immigration judge to decide if just one or both penalties will be applied. It is therefore imperative that you comply with the law, otherwise you and your spouse will be deemed guilty of committing marriage fraud. USCIS will ask to see a copy of your marriage certificate after your wedding when you apply to change your status. The date on the marriage certificate will state whether or not you have complied with this law.

How to Prove that Your Marriage is Legal when You Marry an Immigrant: Joint assets

When you marry a foreign born citizen you will need to gather a lot of evidence to prove that your marriage is legitimate. USCIS will be suspicious of couples who do not have documentary proof of joint assets. That is why it is advisable to have a joint bank account, have both names on the mortgage or rental agreement, each name on the title of vehicles, and so forth. If children are born from the marriage, a copy of the birth certificates of each child will also suffice as evidence that your marriage is genuine. A married couple who seem to lead separate lives from one another and cannot prove that they even live together will be another cause for suspicion.

How to Prove that Your Marriage is Legal when You Marry an Immigrant: Know your spouse!

This seems so basic, but people who commit marriage fraud do not know their "spouse" very well at all and USCIS can usually see through people who are trying to commit marriage fraud. Unless your culture(s) prohibits you from meeting prior to the marriage, you must prove that you know one another. Even couples who have entered arranged marriages can prove after their wedding that they have settled into their marital roles and provide evidence of the legality of their marriage.

Immigration officials are not trying to trap you when they interview you and your spouse separately and ask you when each spouse was born, where you met and how you became acquainted with one another. These are questions that should come easily for a married couple who really know each other and are in a legal marriage. This is also the right time to bring along photo albums of your wedding day and other occasions before and after your wedding to prove that you did not just meet on your wedding day for the purpose of committing marriage fraud.

Some couples take offence at such personal questions and may become disheartened when they learn that they must prove to immigration officials that they are a genuine couple, not a couple of criminals. But this is not the right attitude to have. Immigration officials have a very important job to do. Your co-operation will make their jobs easier and ensure that you and your spouse stay together.

Once you have satisfied USCIS that your union is legal, you and your spouse will not have to worry about the threat of deportation or prison. Gather as much information as you can prior to immigration interviews and answer questions honestly. As long as you have nothing to hide it should not be difficult to prove that your marriage is legally binding.



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