There are several various ways for people to obtain their green card while in US. But one of the most common and fastest ways is to marry a US citizen. Even if it is a simple and fast way to obtain a green card, this process is also subject to much fraud and abuse, because of those who are entering into a marriage with a U.S. citizen solely for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits; this might be a friend who is a U.S. citizen and is willing to” help” or a person who asks for payment of money in order to go through with the marriage an marital interview process.
Sometimes, married couples, even if in love and that entered the marriage in good faith, might raise suspicions to an immigration officer. This can be triggered sometimes because of miscommunications, misunderstandings, anxiety, being too nervous and giving answers that don’t match; age, race, cultural and background difference also might be a factor. If that is the case the immigration officer may ask the couple to come back for second and third interview. Their case in such situations may also be referred to USCIS’s Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) unit to make a site visit to the couple’s home.
If you are in this situation and you are called back for another interview, or USCIS makes a visit at your home, suspecting that you are in a fixed marriage, please don’t try to “fix” your marriage on your own, but reach out to a competent attorney who can review and savage your case.
If FDNS comes to your house, it is typically an unannounced and unplanned visit, usually early in the morning. During the time of FDNS visit, the officers wants to observe and confirm that both spouses are living in the same house and share the same living space, especially if you marked on your documents that both of you are living at the same address. If one of you in reality is leaving elsewhere, even is the couple might have a documented reason of not leaving together, due to one of the spouses’ work or school, this for sure will raise the USCIS’s officer’s suspicions about you being in a fixed marriage. The FDNS will also want to see your sleeping arrangements, if both of the spouses are sleeping in the same room and bed. Does the couple have roommates living under same roof, such as US citizen’s ex- girlfriend or boyfriend? Are there any pictures/portraits on the walls of US citizen’s ex-girlfriend or boyfriend or ex-spouse? Or if the house is full of married couple’s pictures together and memories (photobooks, ornament decorations with names or dates related to the married couple, decorative gifts from other family members or friends).
FDNS could also check your closets and medicine cabinets, to see if both your clothes are in the closet and if the medicine cabinet contains men’s and women’s care products, such as cologne for men and perfume for woman, shaver, etc. If the closets contain only one spouse’s articles of clothing, and the medicine cabinet contains only that spouse’s medications as well, it looks like you’re not living together. They will also want to see that there are two toothbrushes in the bathroom and ask which one is each of the spouses. They might also ask you to show them your house key, car keys, etc. FDNS could also knock on neighbors’ doors, and ask your neighbors if they are aware you are husband and wife, if they saw each of the spouses coming and going out of the house. They may even be shown a picture of the couple. If the neighbors say they saw only one person living there, and they never saw the other spouse, it could also be a sign of a fixed marriage.
Nowadays, USCIS has become more sophisticated and their databases are way more extended than in the past. USCIS has access today to many more agencies and authorities, that is why I cannot stress enough that people should never enter into a fixed marriage. There are cases you might hear about that someone was able to trick the system and was lucky to “get away”. If an immigration officer will decide that you are in a fixed marriage, you are blacklisted for life, and no future petition can be approved in your name.
If you do find yourself in a situation that USCIS has suspicions that you are in a fixed marriage, but in reality you are in a bone fide marriage, based on love, I strongly recommend reaching out to an attorney for assistance, so that a specialist can take another look at your case and provide you with needed legal guidance to reduce the USCIS suspicions and questions, and mediate any miscommunications that lead to raising initially those suspicions.
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