Green card marriage fraud is when a man or a woman forms a relationship, and then a marriage, with the intent of obtaining residency in the country of their partner. It is illegal, and, more importantly, breaks hearts and ruins lives.

Countries with high incidences of gree card marriage fraud include:

  • Russia
  • Thailand
  • Morocco
  • Mexico
  • Egypt
  • Algeria
  • Nigeria
  • India

Of course, these are not the only countries where green card marriage fraud can originate from, nor are all marriages from these countries fraudulent.

Discovering that you have been married purely for the purpose of a green card can be a painful and emotional experience. Unfortunately, there is no real advice for signs to look out for before you marry to recognize if you are a potential victim. Sometimes, the family and friends of the bride or groom are also in on the scam, so simply knowing them and spending time with them before you marry is not always enough to know if you will be a victim of green card marriage fraud

However, you should always be suspicious of anyone who is trying to rush through courtship and push you into a quick marriage. They may tell you a fast courtship is normal in their country, and use this to move things forward very quickly. Put the brakes on and see how they react. Take your time, as the longer you get to know the person (and getting to know them online is never the same as getting to know them face to face), the better the chance you have of seeing the real person. Make sure you know their home address in their home country and have contact numbers for them there, should you need to track them down at a later date.

If you have been the victim of green card marriage fraud, the first thing to do is speak to your country's immigration department, who will be able to advise you on what steps to take next. Depending on what country you are in, and where you are in the immigration and visa process, you may be able to take steps to have the person removed. In the USA, you may be financially responsible for this person for up to 10 years, so it is advisable to try to keep tabs on where they are, and ensure you give the authorities all the information they need, for them to see if they are able to take steps to remove the person who has committed green card marriage fraud. Start to journal your timeline with this person, including all the incidents where you became suspicious - this may help later.

The one thing that the victims of green card marriage fraud often recall is the 'red flags' that they saw early in the relationship, but chose to ignore. They say that love is blind, and all too often it is. When starting relationships with anyone outside of your social circle, it's important to think with your head, as well as your heart. Don't ignore those red flags, and if, when pushed, the person becomes defensive, push some more, until you are fully satisfied.

A good resource for where to find help and what to do if you think you are a victim of green card marriage fraud is the Visajourney website. But, if you suspect you are a victim – don't delay. Call the immigration department and let them advise you on the steps you can take. However difficult it is to face, it's important to ensure you do not become a victim of Green Card Marriage Fraud – take the lead and take action!