According to section 275(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the penalty for marriage immigration fraud may include a prison sentence, a fine or both. An immigrant who committed marriage fraud would most likely be deported and have a current visa revoked. Immigrants may also lose the eligibility to obtain a green card or U.S. visa after committing marriage fraud.
Marriage fraud is defined as an instance where a foreign-born person marries a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident with the sole intention of securing a green card. The I.N.A. states that citizens who knowingly commit marriage immigration fraud may face a prison sentence of up to five years, a fine up to $250,000 or both. Individuals may also face charges related to visa fraud, harboring an alien, conspiracy or falsifying statements. If such charges are made, each charge may carry additional prison sentences and financial penalties.
The extent of such penalties depends on the particulars of each case. The highest penalties are reserved for U.S. citizens or residents who participate in major conspiracy operations; however, enforcement of punishable offenses for marriage fraud is a top priority of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Immigrants may also be prosecuted, but if charges cannot be implemented, they are likely to face deportation and banishment from returning to the United States, even if they enter into a legitimate marriage with a U.S. citizen in the future.