Accused of Marriage Fraud - Notice of Intent to Deny

If you were accused of marriage fraud, please do not hesitate to contact an immigration lawyer for help.  The information on this page should help you to understand what the accusation means and generally how to go about responding but it is not a substitute for legal advice geared towards your specific situation.  This article will focus on your response to your notice of intent to deny, honesty in responding to the officer, and the consequences of marriage fraud in immigration.

Responding to a claim of marriage fraud will require quite a bit of time devoted to your personal details and you will want to make sure that you can trust the immigration lawyer that you are working with.  Please do not hold back any information from your lawyer because we are not gifted with mind reading powers and we cannot protect you from things that we do not know.  None of these cases are easy and this can be a scary time in anyone’s life so be prepared for the long road ahead of you and work with someone that you feel can explain what is happening each step of the way.  

With all of that said, lets get started:

When might I be accused of marriage fraud?  
This accusation can come up after your green card interview.  It can also come up when you are filing to remove the conditions on your green card or when they are reviewing how you received your green card when they are reviewing your citizenship petition that you filed based on 3 years of being a green card holder through marriage.  Before you actually receive a denial you may receive a Notice of Intent to Deny that details why USCIS wants to deny your case.  If you went to a green card interview where they asked you and your spouse a series of questions while you were separated, then you may get a list of specific questions and answers from your interview or it may be about how your petition did not include enough documents to show that you have a genuine marriage.  Sometimes the Notice of Intent to Deny does not even say that marriage fraud is an issue.  It may just generically state that there are consequences to filing a petition based on a fraudulent marriage.

How long do I have to respond to the Notice of Intent to Deny?
The Notice of Intent to Deny will tell you exactly how long you have to respond.  Do not delay in getting your documents together or contacting a lawyer to help you in your response.  Try to give yourself enough time in your response by acting quickly.  Some issues may need to be responded to with additional evidence and other may need to be responded to with a detailed affidavit.  Remember that an affidavit is a sworn statement where you are swearing that you have told the truth.  Being honest in your responses is important, but if you entered into a situation which may have been fraudulent and you want to respond to your Notice of Intent to Deny contact an immigration lawyer to go over what your best strategy might be for your next steps.  

What are some of the consequences of marriage fraud?
The consequences could include civil or criminal penalties, fines or a jail sentence for the US citizen and the foreign spouse.  If they make a decision of marriage fraud, then this can prevent the US citizen and the foreign spouse from getting any other immigration benefit.  This means that if someone files for you because you paid them to and your marriage is determined to be fraudulent then later you marry your longtime love who is a citizen and they try to file for you it will be denied because of your previous marriage fraud.  This is what makes it so important to respond quickly and with the best evidence that you can to show that your marriage is not fraudulent when you get a Notice of Intent to Deny.

Remember that it is always harder to fix something that went wrong after the fact than it is to do it correctly from the beginning, so the earlier that you contact a good immigration lawyer the better off that you will be.  

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.