What Is Considered A Sham Marriage?

Immigration authorities consider a marriage fraudulent when it is entered into primarily for the purpose of evading immigration laws and obtaining immigration benefits, rather than for genuine reasons of love and companionship. Fraudulent marriages are those in which the couple misrepresents their relationship in order to gain immigration advantages.
Some common indicators of fraudulent marriages that immigration authorities might look for include:

1. Limited or No Shared History: Couples who claim to be married but cannot provide details about each other’s lives, families, or histories might raise suspicion.

2. Language Barriers: Inability to communicate effectively in a common language can suggest that the couple has not spent significant time together.

3. Age and Cultural Differences: If there is a significant age difference or vast cultural disparities between the partners, immigration authorities might scrutinize the marriage more closely.

4. Lack of Joint Financial Activity: Minimal or no financial ties between the spouses, such as joint bank accounts or shared property, can indicate a lack of genuine commitment.

5. Separate Residences: If the couple lives separately, especially if they claim to be married, it might raise concerns.

6. Inconsistent Statements: Inconsistencies in the details of their relationship or their personal histories can lead to suspicions of fraud.

7. Quick Marriage After Meeting: Marriages that occur shortly after meeting might be seen as suspicious, especially if there is little evidence of prior interaction.

8. Limited Wedding Ceremony: A simple or hasty wedding ceremony with minimal guests or documentation can be considered as an attempt to conceal the true nature of the relationship.

9. Refusal to Provide Documentation: Couples who are hesitant or unable to provide supporting documentation of their relationship, such as photographs, joint bills, or communication records, may raise doubts.

10. Lack of Witnesses: If the couple can’t provide friends, family members, or acquaintances who can vouch for the authenticity of the relationship, it might be viewed as suspicious.

11. Previous Marriages for Immigration Benefits: If one or both individuals have previously entered into marriages for immigration benefits, it could be seen as a pattern of fraud.


It’s important to note that immigration authorities carefully assess the overall circumstances of a marriage to determine whether it is genuine or fraudulent. If a marriage is found to be fraudulent, it can result in serious consequences, including deportation, criminal charges, and bans on entering the country in the future. If you’re considering marriage for immigration purposes, it’s crucial to be honest and prepared to provide substantial evidence of the legitimacy of your relationship.


There are various way to adjust your immigration status and gain permanent residence in the United States. To know what your options are, Contact Us and speak to a trusted Immigration Attorney.
Jane Asare
Jane Asare
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