wedding-322034_640In an effort to gain U.S. citizenship, many people “marry” another in an effort to make this process easier. The U.S. Customs and Immigrations Enforcement Agency frowns upon so-called sham marriages, and may deny someone a Green Card as a result. When determining whether or not a sham marriage exists, authorities will look at a number of different factors.

The biggest factor in determining if a marriage is real is intent. This means that both parties must have intended to become husband and wife in the traditional sense whenever the ceremony took place. As a result, the couple should be taking steps toward building their lives together, as the actions that are taken after the marriage takes place will largely determine whether officials consider it to be a scam.

Immigrants can be subject to more scrutinizing than others if their marriage took place less than two years ago. In addition, customs officials may talk to neighbors, co-workers and family members in an effort to determine the couple’s intentions. In some cases, investigators may even perform surveillance on one or both parties in order to see if they are indeed acting as a married couple during the course of everyday activities.

Those who are deemed to be part of a sham marriage can have their petition for legal residency permanently denied. Rather than enter into a sham marriage, it could be beneficial to speak with an immigration attorney in order to determine the lawful manner of entering this country that is best under the circumstances.