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Ask the Consul

Why do I have to provide evidence of my relationship if I am petitioning my spouse or fiancé for an immigrant visa?

May 16, 2011

Committing relationship fraud in order to obtain an immigration benefit is a pervasive problem that carries with it harsh penalties. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigates claimed relationships and verifies the validity of documents presented.  DHS also seeks criminal prosecutions.  The petitioner may be imprisoned for up to five years, or fined $250,000, or both, for entering into a marriage contract for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration law even if they are doing so to help a friend or family member. 

In addition, once you have been caught in marriage fraud you can never be petitioned by anyone again even if the subsequent relationship is genuine.  Every day at Embassy Santo Domingo, consular officers refuse a large number of applicants for relationship fraud whose cases are then sent to DHS for investigation and possible prosecution.  Applicants should never apply for a visa where the claimed relationship is not genuine.

Therefore, when applying for a spouse/fiancé visa, the Consular Section strongly recommends that the petitioner be present at the interview.  We often need to verify information between both partners in order to prove that the relationship is genuine. Please take all photos out of their albums so they can be passed to the consular officer under the interview window. The Consular Section does not accept any video or audio evidence of a relationship.  Any photos submitted at the time of the interview will be returned to the applicant.

The Unites States Government remains committed to reuniting families.  Applicants who fraudulently claim a relationship to a United States Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident in order to obtain an immigration benefit do so at great personal risk. They also consume valuable time and resources that should be used to facilitate visa issuance to genuine applicants.

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