Till Papers Do Us Part – Does your partner want to marry you only for a Green Card?
Marriage to a U.S. citizen has traditionally been the most popular way for a foreigner to gain permanent residency (Green Card) and an expedited path to U.S. Citizenship.
It is undeniable that marriage fraud has been going on since the introduction of the very first immigration laws in the United States. In the past few years, the government has tightened up employment-based Visa requirements and has also implemented a number of policies to effectively detect and deport illegal immigrants, even those without a criminal record. These stricter policies have led more and more foreigners to resort to marriage fraud.
As you may know, in a traditional marriage fraud scheme the foreigner pays an agreed sum of money to a U.S. citizen to enter into a sham marriage, set up fictitious joint residency, financial accounts, staged pictures.
However, many foreigners have become so desperate to the point of faking a whole relationship for months (and even years) and playing with people’s feelings just to get a Green Card.
This short article is directed to all people that are currently (or will be) in a relationship with a foreign national that does not have a Green Card.
How to detect a fraudster
A good starting point in determining whether your partner is just interested to marry you for a Green Card is to examine the basic factors that the U.S. government (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) consider as “red flags”. While there may be plenty of legitimate relationships where one or more of these factors exist, it is important to be aware of them.
Ten years (or more) younger than you
If your partner is ten years (or more) younger than you, I would recommend that you take the “red pill” and proceed to a self-assessment. If you are average-looking and your partner is a younger, very attractive person, chances are that he or she only really loves your citizenship status.
If your partner has recently (1 year or less) divorced but would jump into a new marriage with you right away, it is very possible that he or she is trying to scam you. This is especially true if his or her ex spouse is living in the United Stated without legal status (or expiring Visa). This is how the scam works: a couple would fictitiously divorce, marry other people, get their Green Cards, seek a divorce immediately right after, and magically get back together with their ex-spouse.
Completely different cultural background
Everyone is attracted to the idea of having an exotic spouse. But to avoid getting scammed, you may want to ask yourself questions like: “does that six feet tall beautiful person really love me?” or “what do I really know about Brazilian people and their culture?”.
Inability to speak fluently the same language
If you and your partner cannot speak the same language fluently, it is possible that he or she does not see a marriage with you as something permanent. It is unrealistic to believe that you could be forever with someone you can’t fully communicate with.
Expired Visa or status expiring within 6-12 months
This is one of the most recurring situations. If a partner starts testing your feelings about marriage (even if you just recently met), chances are he or she is either undocumented or has his or her Visa (most commonly an F-1 student Visa or a J-1 “exchange program” Visa) expiring in the next 6-12 months. Be particularly careful with those that are in this country with a tourist Visa. Most of these people systematically spend 3-4 months each year in the United States until they find someone to scam for a Green Card.
Noticeable disparity in income or personal assets
As said in the “ten year younger” example above, it is now time to take the “red pill” and open your eyes. If you don’t have a stable job, or have a low paid job, while your partner comes from a well-off family, it is highly possible that he or she just wants to marry you, get a Green Card, and seek a divorce.
Other easy ways to spot a lying partner
What I have described above are the most self-intuitive scenarios. If you decided to face the truth, and really want to know your partner’s intentions, I strongly recommend you test him or her on the following topics.
Plans to remain legally in the country
Don’t be afraid of asking your partner if he or she has any ability whatsoever to remain in the United States legally besides getting married to you. While it has become very hard to obtain a work Visa, it is certainly not impossible, especially for someone with advanced degrees.
When asked this question, most people will give you a defensive attitude. If your partner tells you that he or she will go back to his or her country if you don’t get married, stay assured that it means that he or she will stay in the United States (legally or illegally) and find another prey to execute this Green Card scam.
Inquire about her immigration history
It is very important that you pay attention to your partner’s immigration history, as it might be a good indicator of his or her character. For instance, some people manage to get work Visas through bogus employers; many others simply buy a fake Green Card and fake social security card. Instead, working off the books (cash) is not a negative factor, even if he or she does not pay taxes on it (but bonus points if he or she pays taxes on a cash salary).
Ask your partner if he or she has a social security card and, if so, how she obtained it. If you are not sure he or she has a real social security card, this is what I recommend you do. Tell your partner that your credit score (report) is very important to you, and that she should also sign up with creditkarma.com, a free credit monitoring service. If he or she is using a fake social security card, any possible excuse not to use such credit monitoring services will be given.
Check carefully your partner’s social media activities
Nowadays almost everyone (especially younger people) puts special importance into their social media activities. If your partner is less than 35 years old and tells you he or she does not have (or never had) any social media profile, chances are he or she is lying to you. If your partner is an active social media user but never posts pictures with you, you are probably about to get scammed.
Pay attention to the way his or her parents and siblings interact with you
It is extremely important that you meet your partner’s parents in person. In most cultures, parents would not tolerate that their child is only getting married for a Green Card. Be particularly careful if your partner tells you that he or she does not speak to his or her parents. In such a case, it is very possible that he or she is simply hiding the sham marriage plans from them.
In less frequent cases it is even possible that your partner’s parents approve the sham marriage plans (remember that your future in-laws can get a Green Card through their child once he or she becomes a U.S. citizen). In such complex scenarios, you may want to continue your inquiry with his or her siblings, and put his or her parents to the next test.
Formal marriage ceremony
I guarantee you that in the overwhelming majority of cultures, marriage is taken very seriously by someone’s parents. To make sure your partner (and his or her family) is being truthful to you, tell him or her that you (and your family) want to have a formal, religious ceremony. Almost all the scammers will try to convince you that they do not care about a religious ceremony, a white dress, and a formal reception with family and friend. If your partner would rather get married in a city hall (or courthouse) without family and friends, chances are he or she is scamming you.
Hang out with his or her friends as much as possible
Another good idea to sense your partner’s true intention is to hang out with his or her friends as much as possible. If your partner is with you just to marry you for a Green Card, you will sooner or later notice something unusual in his or her friends’ behavior. Be particularly careful if your partner tells you he or she does not have any friends, as he or she might just try to hide them from you.
This is in my opinion the easiest way to test your partner’s true intentions. Even if you do not really plan on having children (or just not in the near future), you must ask your partner if he or she is ready to have children with you. In the vast majority of foreign cultures, a person will not have a child with someone he or she just want to use for a Green Card, especially if he or she is 30 years old or younger. If your partner tells you he or she is not ready to have children, don’t be afraid to tell him or her that you are not ready to marry. At that point, if he or she was really trying to scam you, he or she will most likely break up with you in a matter of weeks.
Walking away from a beautiful, younger partner takes a lot of guts. But remember, the pain you will suffer walking away from him or her now will be nothing compared to when you realize he or she had only married you for a Green Card.