MATRIMONIAL FRAUD AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

“Marriage fraud,” that is to enter into or endeavor to enter into a marriage for the sole purpose of procuring immigration benefits, is a very serious charge in the immigration context.

Attempting to procure or procuring immigration benefits through a sham marriage can lead to inadmissibility and/or deportation, depending on the alien’s situation.

In the case of Salas-Velazquez, the Petitioner who was a native and citizen of Mexico entered the United States as a visitor for pleasure. He purported to marry a citizen of the United States, and, on the basis of that alleged marriage, filed a petition to adjust his status to that of a permanent resident alien. That petition was denied in 1989 on the ground that the marriage was fraudulent, entered into for the purpose of evading the immigration laws. Almost two years later, in 1991, the Immigration and Naturalization Service served petitioner with an order to show cause, charging him with deportability.

A hearing was held before an immigration judge, during which petitioner made a motion for adjustment of status based on a second marriage, also to a United States citizen. There was no dispute as to the genuineness of the second marriage. The immigration judge denied this motion. Later, the judge found that petitioner’s first marriage was fraudulent, that petitioner and his first wife never lived together, and that petitioner contracted the marriage for the purpose of immigrating to the United States. On the basis of this evidence, the judge sustained the charges of deportability. Salas-Velazquez v. INS. 34 F. 3d 705 – Court of Appeals. 8th Circuit 1994.

Beside of the severity immigration consequences, a person who enters into a marriage for the purpose of evading any provision of the INA can be prosecuted and if convicted, faces term of imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000.00, or both imprisonment and a fine. See 8 U.S.C. § 1325(c).

Travelers can apply for travel authorization and enroll in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, known as ESTA Program before they enter the United States.

This allows them to stay for 90 days or less without the need for a visa.
Whether you are planning a vacation or a short business trip, if you are not a U.S. Citizen or a Permanent Resident, then you will generally need to apply for a visa to enter and legally stay in the United States.

If you are only hoping to see a few sites, visit some friends, or go to a business conference, however, there is a good news, you may be able to enter through the Visa Waiver Program, or VWP.

Let’s look at possible reasons to travel under the “Visa Waiver Program.”
You can enroll in the Visa Waiver Program if you are planning to transit through the United States to another country.

Other activities you can do through the Visa Waiver Program include:
TOURISM ACTIVITIES such as a vacation, visiting friends or relatives, medical treatment, social events, participation in musical or sports events, if you are not being paid to participate and enrolling in a short recreational course, for example, a cooking class.

BUSINESS ACTIVITIES such as consulting with business associates, attending a scientific, educational or professional conference, short-term training where you are not paid by a U.S.-based source, negotiating a contract.

Entering the United States through the Visa Waiver Program does not authorize you to work or study if you decide to stay long term.

If you want to enter the United States through the Visa Waiver Program, you must meet all the following requirements to be eligible:

1. You are a citizen of a Visa Waiver Country;
2. You are applying to stay in the United States for 90 days or less;
3. You are traveling to the United States for business or tourism
purposes;
4. You will also need an e-passport to participate in the VWP.
*An e-passport has an electronic chip embedded in it that give your
document extra security.

Before you travel to the United States, you must enroll in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Program. You can do this online through a secure website run by the Department of Homeland Security and CBP.

To apply you will need a valid passport from a Visa Waiver Program Country, a valid e-mail address, your home address and your telephone number; the phone number and e-mail of an emergency contact, you can pay for your ESTA online with your credit card or Paypal.If you have a Global Entry ID number or a point of contact in the United States, you have to enter that information too.

You can apply for ESTA as soon as you know you have plans to come to the United States.

The ESTA is valid for 2 years, or until your passport expires whichever comes first. You can use for multiple trips.

BRINGING YOUR PARENTS TO VISIT YOU IN THE UNITED STATES. IS THE TOURIST VISA THE ANSWER?

The B-2 “Visitor for Pleasure” visa, along with its cousin the Visa Waive Program, are the most widely used vehicles for entry into the United States.

The B-2 visitor visa has many specific uses, but more importantly, it also has specific situations where its use is expressly prohibited.

The B-2 visitor visa category can be one of the most complex and difficult to address because the issues and factors involved in the decision are almost entirely subjective. Moreover, the decision of the consul occurs far from the immigration lawyer and is not subject to review or formal appeal. If the reason for the denial is known, applicants may present “better” evidence in subsequent visa applications.

Generally speaking, an individual is allowed a B-2 visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act to temporarily visit the United States for pleasure. The term “pleasure” refers to “legitimate activities of a recreational character, including tourism, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment, and activities of a fraternal, social, or service nature. By statute, a B-2 visitor is expressly precluded from coming for the purpose of study (with a few well-defined exceptions) or performing skilled or unskilled labor, or as a representative of foreign press, radio, film, or other foreign information media coming to engage in such vocation.

B-2 visitors to the United States generally may be admitted for not more than one year and may be granted extensions of stay in six-month increments. So long as their passports are sufficiently valid, admissible B-2 visitors should be admitted for a minimum of six months, regardless of whether less time is required; exceptions may only be made for “good cause.”

What would the US Consul consider in determining B-2 visa eligibility?

The applicant must maintain an unabandoned foreign residence; he or she must intend to enter the United States for a period of specifically limited duration, and the applicant must be seeking admission for the sole purpose of engaging in legitimate activities relating to pleasure; the applicant must have adequate funds to avoid unlawful employment and to complete the purposes of the proposed visit, etc.

The criteria listed above are intended only as guidelines, and meeting them is not to be considered conclusive of the applicant’s intent. Denial of the visa “is required by law” where the consular officer is not satisfied with the applicant’s intent to return or abide by the terms of nonimmigrant status.