Success Story - Overcoming Marriage Fraud Issues
February 2010 - ByShahzad Ahmed with NeJame Law
She finally discovered Mr. Right. She met him in an online chat room and so their relationship began. But he was abroad. She had gone to meet him several times and ultimately they decided to marry. Accordingly, she filed a fiance petition for him and upon the issuance of a fiance visa, he gained entry to the U.S. As required by law, they married within 90 days and shortly thereafter, he filed for his permanent residency.
Like many applicants, he thought that his is a simple marriage case, and therefore it would be a good idea to save some money and represent himself. After all, he had made it to the U.S. from his home country by proving to the U.S. Consulate that their fiance relationship was bona fide. So he filed the applications himself, and a marriage interview was scheduled.
At the interview, the couple was in for a shock. The officer viewed the new marriage with great suspicion. Not only was the marriage relatively new, but there was little evidence for the bona fides of the marriage. Moreover, the couple did not properly understand the questions asked and so there appeared to be contradictions in their respective testimonies. It appeared to the officer that the marriage was a sham, arranged solely for the purpose of having him immigrate to the U.S. The interview ended with hostility on both sides and the officer issuing a denial of the permanent residency.
The couple was frightened with the outcome. But before packing his bags to his home country, the husband contacted our law firm. We carefully reviewed the couple’s marital history going back to the time they met each other online. We assisted them in gathering all the evidence of their initial communications. photographs, and had them state their history in the form of an affidavit.
It also helped for our firm to know the officer from previous interviews. We wrote a correspondence to the officer enclosing the proof of the bona fides. We also pointed out in our letter that according to the immigration law, the USCIS must issue a notice of intent to deny prior to actually denying the case, so that the applicant could have an opportunity to address any concerns; therefore, the case was improperly denied.
Soon, the couple’s case was reopened and another interview was scheduled. This time, they were thoroughly prepared. Also, we accompanied them to the interview, where they explained away the previous discrepancies. The officer took their testimony under oath and after listening to their testimony, approved the husband’s application for residency. In the weeks following the interview, he received his Resident Alien Card.
This story of our clients highlights how the government is increasingly scrutinizing marriage cases and hence the increasing importance of having an experience and professional immigration counselor on your side.
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