Understanding INA § 204(c): Marriage Fraud and Its Impact on Green Card Applications

INA § 204(c): Understanding Marriage Fraud Restrictions

Allegations of a fraudulent marriage can be overwhelming. Not only does it threaten your immediate relative status and pending or approved petition, but it also can feel like an attack on your relationship with your spouse. Moreover, the penalties could be life-changing.

Section 204(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) explicitly disallows the approval of a visa petition if the beneficiary participated in a fraudulent marriage in order to subvert immigration laws. There are severe consequences linked to fraudulent marriages entered into to obtain immigrant status under the INA. This is a strict barrier that prevents individuals from gaining immigration benefits through deceit.

The challenge lies in demonstrating that a relationship is a bona fide marriage, not one staged for immigration benefits. Our immigration laws demand credible evidence relevant to the legitimacy of the marriage. This not only protects the integrity of the United States immigration process but also ensures fairness for all applicants.

At JQK Immigration Law Firm, our experienced immigration attorney can help you understand the requirements under immigration laws and the relevant evidence necessary for your immigrant visa petition. If you need assistance having a visa petition filed or to pursue lawful permanent residence, contact us today for a consultation.

Consequences of Marriage Fraud under INA § 204(c)

Under INA § 204(c), an immigrant who is a spouse of a lawful permanent resident will not be approved for a petition for a visa if US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes a marriage fraud finding. There are various consequences for immigrants found to have committed marriage fraud and their citizen spouse or lawful permanent resident spouse.

Marriage fraud under INA § 204(c) involves severe legal repercussions. When individuals are found guilty of entering into marriages to evade immigration laws, they can face significant penalties. This includes a permanent bar on the approval of any future immigrant visa petition, citizenship application, risk of deportation, and criminal penalties.

Marriage Fraud Bar

Aside from having a current petition denied, any new immigrant visa petition can also be denied because of a past finding of marriage fraud. Under INA § 204(c), the individual involved in marriage fraud is permanently barred. This means they cannot gain lawful permanent resident status through future petitions. This prohibition is strict, emphasizing the seriousness of the offense and its long-term implications for the individual’s immigration prospects. This includes asylum and similar.

Impact on Green Card Applications

Being found guilty of marriage fraud significantly affects green card applications. If a finding of marriage fraud is confirmed, future green card petitions are automatically denied. This holds true irrespective of the genuine nature of any subsequent marriages. The impact on green card applications can include a ban on all immigration benefits, increased risk of deportation, and renounced citizenship status.

Risk of Deportation

Aside from being barred from future immigration benefits, individuals found guilty of marriage fraud may also face deportation. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) takes these violations seriously, and the consequences can include removal from the country. This makes it imperative to adhere strictly to immigration laws and avoid fraudulent practices.

Legal Consequences

If an individual is found to have committed marriage fraud, they may also face criminal charges under 8 USC § 1325(b). The penalties include:

  • Up to 5 years in prison
  • Fine up to $250,000

Defending Against Allegations of Marriage Fraud

Marriage visas can allow immigrants to be lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the US. Allegations of marriage fraud can adversely affect approval for entry to the US and becoming a lawful permanent resident.

Gathering Evidence of a Bona-Fide Marriage

When facing allegations of marriage fraud, gathering strong evidence is crucial. Collecting photos showing shared experiences, joint financial documents, and leases indicating cohabitation. Personal affidavits from friends and family can also be powerful testimonies.

Examples of valuable documents include:

  • Bank statements
  • Joint tax returns
  • Utility bills

Collecting this evidence can demonstrate the genuine nature of a relationship with the appropriate governmental officials.

Legal Representation and Defense Strategies

Having experienced legal representation is critical. Working with a qualified attorney who understands the complexities of marriage-based immigration cases can be crucial.

Effective defense strategies include:

  • Demonstrating consistent and continued cohabitation.
  • Providing detailed chronologies of the relationship.
  • Preparing for possible interviews and inspections.

Your lawyer can also address pitfalls that lead to green card denials by understanding common issues encountered during the application process.

Our goal is to build a compelling case that underscores the authenticity of our marriage and refutes any claims of fraud. This thorough approach ensures that we are well-prepared to defend against allegations and achieve a positive outcome for our immigration status.

How JQK Immigration Law Firm Can Help

If you have been accused of trying to knowingly mislead immigration officials, the team at JQK Immigration Law Firm can help. At JQK Immigration Law Firm, we handle cases involving INA § 204(c) and marriage fraud accusations. Our team has extensive experience defending clients against these serious allegations.

One of our seasoned immigration lawyers will provide you with:

  • Case Review and Analysis: We thoroughly review your case to identify weaknesses in the government’s allegations.
  • Evidence Gathering: We help collect and present clear and convincing evidence to support the legitimacy of your marriage.
  • Legal Representation: Our attorneys represent you in immigration proceedings, including hearings before the Board of Immigration Appeals.

We aim to help you navigate the complex legal landscape of INA § 204(c).

Contact JQK Immigration Law Firm for Your Immigration Needs

An allegation of marriage fraud finding can be devastating. Understanding INA § 204(c) and its serious consequences is vital. At JQK Immigration Law Firm, our team can provide personalized guidance to navigate these challenges.

Our top priority is treating you with the dignity and respect you deserve. If you need assistance from an experienced immigration attorney, contact us today for a consultation. We are here to provide you with the support you need.

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