What factors do immigration officers look at when determining whether a marriage is a sham?

The immigration officer will look at many factors including:

  1. if there is a large disparity in the age of the petitioner and the beneficiary,
  2. if the petitioner and the beneficiary can speak in a common language,
  3. if friends/family are aware and supportive the of the marriage,
  4. if the marriage has been arranged,
  5. if the beneficiary is or has been targeted for removal by the immigration officers,
  6. if the parties have been cohabiting since the marriage,
  7. if the beneficiary is a friend of the family, and
  8. if the petitioner has previously file immigration petitions especially for previous spouses.

Immigration examiners have been instructed not to inquire about extremely personal matters such as details of sexual relations but can ask questions regarding frequency and dates or places of sexual relations.

Marriage based immigrants who have been married for less than two years at the time of the decision receive conditional Permanent Residency status. They are required to submit additional evidence of their commingled lives by the second anniversary of receipt of their immigration status. In addition, the couple may face a second interview.

The U.S. Immigration office may also move on its own to terminate the an immigrant’s conditional permanent residency status if it can prove that the marriage was legally invalid, the marriage was terminated or annulled as a result of the death of the spouse, the marriage was a sham, or a fee was paid (other than attorney fees) for the filing of the immigration petition.


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