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After the wedding bells: Problems some immigrants encounter

When you married a U.S. citizen and came to Georgia to begin your life together, you assumed there would be an adjustment period. After all, you'd never been married before, and you also happen to be an immigrant, both issues that often present challenges. Depending how long you have been living in the United States and the current condition of your legal status, you may be worried that you could be at risk for removal. At some point, immigration officials may question your marriage itself.

If authorities accuse you of marriage fraud, not only might it impede your ability to obtain a green card, it can cause all sorts of other legal problems as well. Under suspicion, you would have to provide evidence that substantiates the legitimacy of your marriage. Seeking clarification of state and federal immigration and marriage laws ahead of time may help you avoid major stress.

Get the facts

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department lists certain types of behavior as fraudulent where marriages between immigrants and U.S. citizens are concerned. The following information may alert you to a potential problem regarding your own situation:

  • When a U.S. citizen who believed his or her marriage was legitimate asserts that the immigrant spouse defrauded him or her, it may prompt a marriage fraud investigation.
  • It is never legal for a U.S. citizen to accept payment to marry an immigrant for the purpose of helping the immigrant evade U.S. immigration law.
  • If the government suspects your spouse married you as a favor to help you get a green card, your residency in the United States may be at risk.
  • If you incur a marriage fraud conviction, you may face immediate deportation.
  • Marriage fraud conviction and deportation may prevent you from being able to re-enter the United States.

One of the ways the government uses to determine whether you (or others) are guilty of marriage fraud is to conduct a marriage interview. In such circumstances, you would likely have to answer questions regarding details of your relationship with your spouse. Such questions might include things like where you went on your first date, what color your bedroom is or what your spouse's favorite breakfast happens to be. Officials compare your answers to your spouse's to help determine whether your marriage is legitimate.

Protecting rights and avoiding removal

Thousands of Georgia immigrants and others face serious legal issues regarding the legitimacy of their marriages. Many are able to overcome problems that arise by relying on experienced representation in their interactions with immigration authorities.

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