Consequences of Marriage Fraud

Marriage is a universally recognized institution around the world. It is based on a couple mutually agreeing to join together with shared rights and responsibilities. Countries and cultures have divergent views on the type of relationships and rights associated with marriage. One of the commonly associated benefits of marriage between couples of different nationalities is the ability to sponsor a spouse so the couple can live together.

With any perceived benefits, marriage fraud is a persistent problem for many immigration and visa agencies. High profile marriage cases have recently made news such as the case of the British citizen, Jelili Adesanya, who married his daughter, Karimotu Adenike, is a fake marriage. Their plan was to obtain Karimotu permanent residency then divorce. Karimotu would then petition for her real husband and her four children.

A more recent case was when a British court sentence three people up to 20 months in prison for marriage fraud. The Pakistani groom forgot his Hungarian’s bride’s name prior to the wedding. At the registrar’s office, the groom called his marriage fixer to ask his bride’s name. The registrar became suspicious and contacted the immigration authorities. The fixer received 20 months in prison and the faux marriage couple each received 17 months in prison.

In Thailand, there have been a recent crackdown on fake marriage registrations. This involved a corrupt government official who supplied the names of Thai women for fake marriages to foreign men to allow them to stay in Thailand under a marriage visa. Most of these men with from South Asian and African countries where Thai Immigration is stricter with entry visas. The 193 men using the fake marriage visas were charged, fingerprinted, photographed and deported from Thailand. The government official was indicted and charged with a crime.

Previous involvement with marriage fraud will affect the ability those involved with obtaining future immigration or travel visa to other countries. Questions regarding previous attempts of fraud to bypass visa regulations are generally contained in government visa applications. When the transgressions are revealed, many countries will require additional evidence to overcome the presumption of fraud. For some nations like the United States, marriage fraud is a crime that will make the applicant inadmissible without a waiver.

If you are considering the marrying someone for the sole purpose of obtaining government benefits, it is important to consider the legal penalties for such actions. In many countries, marriage fraud is a serious crime that will put the participants in prison and be charged with a heavy fine. In addition, it may prevent you from being issued a visa to travel to outside the country in the future.