Dating Site Fraud and Green Card Scams

Marriage Green Card Scams

As a Las Vegas green card lawyer, I know from experience that the issues of green card scams and dating site fraud are of serious concern to US citizens and foreign nationals. The issue may arise in the context of a marriage green card or k1 visa matter. Today online dating is growing in popularity.  Many people date women and men online with great success. But dating site fraud is often a concern in meeting persons online especially when those persons are foreign nationals.

Many lonely hearts have been targeted by foreign nationals, fraudulently professing love and romantic interest. These romance scams involve:

  1. A green card (a fast way to the United States) –  the foreigner will pretend to be in love with  the US citizen but will abandon the US citizen after he has received a green card or make himself so awful that the US citizen will leave him after the green card.
  2. Money – the foreign national appears as if he or she desires a life with the US citizen but the US citizen must pay usually by wiring money overseas.

Because the internet allows people to correspond anonymously U.S. citizens cannot be sure of the real name, age, marital status, nationality, or even gender of men or women with whom they correspond online.

The cost of romance scams

The cost of romance scams can run into tens of thousands of dollars and include:

1 . Remittance money

2. Travel expenses – to meet the scammer and for the scammer to come to the United States.

3. Immigration filing fees and attorney’s fee

5. Support for the scammer while in the United States – food, clothing, shelter, travel, gifts etc..

You will also be responsible to pay back any money that the scammer received from certain public assistance, even after the scammer has left you. Romance scams could also result in long term damage to your credit rating as some victims have taken out lines of credit or refinanced their homes to help the scammer. More than losing all your money, the biggest loss of all could be the loss of self-esteem that results from being a victim of a romance scam.

dating site fraud

How to Spot Dating Site Fraud – Nine (9) things to look for!

  1. Quick expressions of love – The person quickly expresses love and a desire to get sexual – watch out for the eye-popping video webcam show!
  2. The person quickly tries to move the relationship from a monitored site to a personal email account.
  3. Requests for money – even though you have never met face to face
  4. Restrictions about when and how you can contact them
  5. Replies that are short or long and vague. Poor grammar and wrongly spelled words.
  6. More requests for money – This cannot be emphasized enough. The person’s luck is incredibly bad – he or she is in a car crash, or arrested, or mugged, or beaten, or hospitalized. Close family members are dead or unable to assist. The request may involve a wish for internet service at home to speak with you more privately or to pay a phone bill so she can continue calling you. They may also involve stories about him being robbed while on a trip to a foreign country or extortion by corrupt officials for him to get traveling documents.
  7. Expensive tastes – seeking the glamorous life.
  8. Profile pictures – The photo appears to have been taken at a professional modeling agency or photographic studio.
  9. You have sent money for visas or plane tickets, but the foreign national can’t seem to make it to his destinations, citing detention by immigration officials, or other unexpected reasons that prevents him from traveling.

How to avoid becoming a victim of romance scams and dating site fraud

  1. Educate yourself about dating site fraud
  2. Use dating sites that are registered U.S, businesses with real customer reviews
  3. Try to have an in-depth conversation with the person
  4. Do not send money for ANY reason to someone you meet online and have not got to know well and in person.
  5. Report suspected dating site fraud immediately to the site administrators and to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center
  6. Verify if the person’s visa is authentic – ask to see a picture of the visa. The State Department Fraud Prevention Unit can verify the authenticity of any U.S. visa via e-mail at FPMM@state.gov.
  7. End all communication.

Online dating is not just for lonely hearts

In the age of social networking online dating is very popular and no longer has the social taboo it once did. A growing number of Americans have used the internet to find great matches in the United States or overseas. With proper precautions against dating site fraud and an open heart online dating is a great way to meet trusted and compatible singles, start interesting conversations and find romance. However trusts your instincts and seek legal advice before marrying abroad or filing a fiance visa petition for anyone who is not a US citizen.

Government Resources for more information

Dating Site Scams Embassy of the United States, Moscow Russia

Marriage/Dating Scams Embassy of the United States, Kyiv, Ukraine

Romance Scams Embassy of the United States, Accra Ghana

Online Dating and Romance Scams U.S. State Department

FBI Internet Fraud Complaint Center

 Love Fraud and How to Avoid it by Donna Anderson Author of Lovefraud.com

Marriage to Green Card Holders

You can get a green card by marriage to a green card holder

Marriage to green card holders may not get the same priority under immigration law as marriage to US citizens. But such a marriage may be the basis for a green card petition. A US green card holder (permanent resident) may petition for you if you are a spouse (husband or wife). He does not have to wait to become a citizen.

Family preference green cards – Priority Dates and Visa Availability

Unlike marriage to US citizens where an immigrant visa number is immediately available, marriage to green card holders means that the foreign spouse has to wait until an immigrant visa number is available before being eligible to adjust status within the US or get an immigrant visa abroad. These petitions are for family preference green cards and as such your immigration will be subject to numerical and country limits. For visa availability for spouses of permanent residents, please see the latest month’s Visa Bulletin under the F2A category for family preference green cards.

A visa number will become available for you when the priority date becomes current on the Visa Bulletin published monthly by the National Visa Center. The priority date is the date the I-130 was filed correctly with USCIS and is used to decide immigrant visa availability.

Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing

If the Form I-130 is approved, USCIS will send your spouse a receipt notice, Form I-797, Notice of Action. If you are inside the United States in lawful status when a visa number becomes available, then you can apply to adjust status to a permanent resident using Form I-485 and supporting documentary evidence.

If you are overseas when the visa number becomes available, then the National Visa Center NVC will send you an immigrant visa checklist notifying you about what to including paying the processing fees, completing the DS-260 immigrant visa application online, submitting an affidavit of support and civil documents, completing a medical and attending an immigration interview.

Petitioning for a Marriage Green Card as a Permanent Resident vs. US Citizen

Some permanent residents believe it is better to become citizens before getting married to a foreign spouse because a petition based upon marriage to a green cardholder gets lower priority than those based upon marriage to a US citizen. But under immigration laws there are advantages to getting married as a permanent resident and filing immediately afterward:

  1. No guarantee of US citizenship
  2. The foreign spouse will get a 10-year green card instead of a two-year green card if the marriage is more than two years old at the time of adjustment or entry as on an immigrant visa – no need to file an i751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.
  3. The couple may have an easier time proving that their marriage is in good faith during the adjustment of status process as they would have been married for a longer time.
  4. The petitioner can request an upgrade of the old approved i130 petition to an immediate relative category once he becomes a US citizen by naturalization – no need to file a new petition and wait.
  5. The foreign national will feel more committed to the relationship because the green card holder spouse has began the process by which the foreign spouse can obtain an immigrant visa or green card.

Want to learn more about how to obtain a green card through marriage?

If you are considering marrying someone with a green card, please contact us to ask for a confidential consultation with our green card immigration attorney. We also offer consultation and advice on immigration waivers and USCIS citizenship applications related to the marriage green card process.

Employment green cards

Employment green cards for highly qualified applicants

If you are highly skilled or have capital to invest you may qualify to get a work visa or an investor visa that will allow you to make money in the United States for as long as you wish. Green cards are issued to up to 140,000 employment based immigrants annually to work in green card jobs. These jobs are in areas where there is a shortage of trained U.S. workers to meet the needs of U.S. employers. Some people may also be able to get employment based green cards without job offers or employers to petition for green cards for them.

The Green Card

What is your employment green card preference?

Employment based green cards are issued based upon a preference system. The preference system matter a lot because waiting times for a green card vary. The system is divided into 5 groups.

  • EB1 preference – allots approximately 40,000 immigrant visa numbers (plus any left over from the EB4 and EB5 preferences) to “priority workers,” consisting of aliens with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain transferring multinational executives and managers. An offer of employment may not be required.
  • EB2 preference – allots approximately 40,000 immigrant visa numbers the same numerical allocation, (plus any overage from the EB 1st preference) to members of the professions who hold advanced degrees or their equivalent and for aliens of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.
  • EB3 preference – allots approximately 40,000 immigrant visa numbers (plus any left over from the first and second EB preference) to skilled workers, professionals, and other workers (those needing less than two years of experience) for non-temporary, non-seasonal work.
  • EB4 preference – allots up to approximately 10,000 immigrant visa numbers to “special immigrants,” including ministers of religion.
  • EB5 preference – allots up to approximately 10,000 immigrant visa numbers for certain investors of defined amounts in a “commercial enterprise” that creates at least ten full-time jobs, subject to certain conditions designed to discourage fraud.

Filing

Immigrants in Eb2 and Eb3 preference generally must receive labor certification. Employment based immigration petitions are generally filed with USCIS on Form I-140. Though a potential employer may file for you, you may act as your own petitioner if you are an immigrant of extraordinary ability in the Eb1 preference, a second-preference beneficiary who is exempted from the requirement of a job offer (and labor certification), certain fourth preference immigrant or a fifth preference investor.

 

 

Presumptive immigration marriage fraud

Presumptive immigration marriage fraud – from green card by marriage to immigration petition for a new spouse in less than 5 years

When a permanent resident obtained a green card by marriage which later ends in divorce, an immigration petition for a new spouse cannot be approved if filed within 5 years of obtaining permanent residence unless the permanent resident can prove that the earlier marriage by which he obtained a green card was in good faith. But the standard of proof of the earlier marriage is raised beyond that required when the permanent resident was issued a green card by that marriage.

If the permanent resident by marriage files an immigration petition for a new spouse within 5 years of receiving permanent residence by law (The Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986) the former marriage by which he obtained permanent resident is presumed to have been entered into for immigration purposes without the intent to live together as husband and wife.

In this type of special circumstances marriage fraud is presumed based upon the earlier marriage by which the permanent resident obtained a green card, not the current marriage. The presumption of fraud based on the earlier marriage arises even if there was no finding of marriage fraud and the permanent established that the earlier marriage was in good faith, passed the immigration marriage interview and the joint petition for removal of conditions upon resident (I-751) was approved by USCIS.

What is presumptive immigration marriage fraud?

The Bureau of Administrative Appeals defines immigration marriage fraud as a marriage which may comply with all the formal requirements of the law but which the parties entered into with no intent, or “good faith”, to live together and which is designed solely to get around the immigrations laws. There is no requirement that the person be convicted of fraud. Presumptive immigration marriage fraud is a presumption of law applied to all cases where a permanent resident by marriage petitions for a new spouse in less than 5 years after obtaining permanent residence.

Presumptive fraud is about the earlier marriage

Immigration Marriage FraudBut with presumptive fraud a spousal petition for a new spouse within 5 years of obtaining permanent residence by marriage is enough for the adjudicator to presume that the first marriage was a fraud. The presumption however can be successfully challenged. The USCIS will issue a Notice of Intent to Deny giving the petitioner the opportunity to send evidence to show by clear and convincing evidence that the earlier marriage was in good faith. The rebuttal evidence is directed towards the earlier marriage.

A petition for a new spouse within less than 5 years alone is not unequivocal evidence of a sham marriage. Therefore the petitioner can give evidence that adequately explain the rapid sequences of events. A denied petition does not affect the permanent resident’s ability to re-file the petition for the new spouse after the 5 year period.

Evidence used to rebut presumptive marriage fraud

The evidence used to challenge a finding of presumptive marriage fraud is evidence to prove the good faith of the earlier marriage by which the permanent resident gained his status (not the current marriage to the new spouse). Some examples of the type of evidence that can be used to challenge a finding of presumptive marriage fraud are:

1.            Affidavit from Petitioner

2.            Affidavit from former spouse and former in-laws – don’t burn your bridges

3.            Affidavit from friends – who he knew the couple, how often they saw each other

4.            Affidavit from professionals – e.g. life insurance salesman, doctors that interacted with the couple and observed them during the marriage

5.            Greeting cards from family (dated) – showing family is aware of the marriage

6.            Birth Certificate of children born to the marriage

7.            Photographs of the couple together with family and friends (identified and dated)

8.            Financial statements in both names

9.            Joint Tax returns

10.          Statements in both names

11.          Divorce decree – showing property settlement and other terms of divorce (reason for termination of the marriage)

12.          Evidence showing the length of time the earlier couple lived together

Conclusion

There are lots of factors involved in successfully rebutting presumptive immigration marriage fraud. A lot depends upon the facts of the particular earlier marriage. When entering an immigration marriage it is important to have proper legal advice every step of the way. Even if you former marriage and present marriage were in good faith, your petition for your new spouse could be denied if you cannot successfully rebut the presumption that the earlier marriage was a fraud and do so using the correct legal standard.

Presumptive marriage fraud does not prevent the filing of an immigration petition for a new spouse but it makes it more difficult by requiring the permanent resident to prove the good faith of a former marriage using a higher standard.

Presumptive marriage fraud does not apply to naturalized United States citizens or to permanent residence by marriage that has held permanent resident status for over 5 years. It also does not apply to a permanent resident whose marriage end by death of the US citizen or permanent resident through which permanent resident status was received. Despite this, your prior marriage may be relevant if your present relationship began during your prior marriage existed.

Immigration laws can be very unforgiving. Seek legal representation before your act or refrain from taking action on your immigration issue. If you have any questions feel free to contact Goodin Law at (702) 423-2721 or via the Contact Us form for a confidential  immigration consultation.

Gary Goodin, Immigration Attorney Las Vegas NV

7 quick tips for the green card marriage interview

The marriage immigration interview

As an immigration lawyer in Las Vegas, I often see cases of couples interested in marriage immigration who limit their focus to just documentary evidence or paperwork not realizing the importance of the marriage green card interview. Some immigration officers are more concerned with an oral examination of the couple under oath where the couple is asked to answer questions in real time. Even with extensive documentary evidence of the good faith of the marriage, the immigration officer interviewing you may still put more weight and credibility on what she learns from the couple’s oral testimony at an adjustment of status interview.

What questions will they ask at the green card interview?

Any question that is material and relevant to the marriage relationship and your eligibility for a green card is fair game. As there is no magic list of immigration marriage interview questions, it is important to seek legal advice and prepare for the green card marriage interview.

marriage green card

7 tips for marriage immigration interview success

Arrive early. Thirty minutes early is good. If you have never been to the USCIS Service Office, do a test-run the week before at a similar time to the scheduled interview time to find out about traffic and parking.

Bring originals. Be sure to bring originals and copies of all documents submitted with the application to adjust status including your marriage certificate, divorce decree, recent pay stubs, and passport.

Wedding rings.Remember to wear your wedding rings to the interview. The presence or absence of this real piece of evidence is relevant.

Photos. Bring your albums with pictures of the marriage ceremony, reception, trips and social outings with friends and family to show the interviewing officer. A picture is worth a thousand words. But choose pictures carefully. Avoid any photo that is culturally offensive or otherwise inappropriate.

Bring your house keys. Do you each have a copy of the same house or apartment key?

Cell-phones. Bring your cell phones with your spouses number on speed dial. With the widespread use of smartphone and social media the immigration officer may wish to view your social media postings from your smart phone. Of course you have the right to refuse such as request and terminate the interview but the Department of Homeland Security may make a decision based on the evidence it has. The decision may not be the one who want.

Relax. Act affectionately and naturally with each other. Do not pretend that the marriage is perfect. A real one never is.

Conclusion

Marriage immigration interviews are crucial. Still immigration interview preparation is an area that many often neglect.

The best marriage green card interview tip of all is to get legal advice early from a competent legal professional because your future together in the United States and your ability to get or keep a job may depend on it. Also remember to be forthright and honest in answering questions as you are under oath.

If you are interested in obtaining a green card by marriage and have questions, call us to schedule a consultation at 702-423-2721 with an experienced green card attorney. We would be happy to sit down with you and your spouse to discuss your special situation.

Gary Goodin, Immigration Attorney Las Vegas Nevada

Form i751 and divorce

I751 and the conditional permanent resident

Form I751 applies to conditional permanent residents. Conditional permanent resident (CPR) status is the immigration status that you get upon entering the United States with an immigrant visa or adjusting status to permanent resident unless the marriage is more than two years old. You can be granted conditional resident status as an original immigrant spouse of a US citizen or permanent resident. The immigrant spouse’s children may also obtain CPR status when the qualifying marriage of their parent is under two years old.

Conditional residents have the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as lawful permanent residents. They have the right to file petitions on behalf of qualifying relatives and the privilege of residing permanently in the United States in agreement with the immigration laws. CPRs have a duty to register with the Selective Service System when required, and to comply with all laws and regulations of the United States including an obligation to file taxes on  income inside and outside the United States. See 8 C.F.R. 216.1.

Removal of Conditions by Joint Petition

To preserve permanent resident status a conditional resident must fulfill his obligation to file i751 conditions form for removing conditions on residence under INA section 216(c)(1). The filing is due within 90 days of the second anniversary of residence. The petition must be filed jointly with the petitioner who filed an immigration petition or fiance visa petition for you.

However, in certain cases, it is possible to file i751 alone without the petitioner in when the petitioner is dead, abusive or the qualifying marriage is legally terminated.

How are the conditions on residence removed using form i-751?

A conditional permanent resident (CPR) must file an i-751 removal of conditions form with supporting evidence and the correct filing fee within the 90-day period before the two-year green card expires. USCIS may allow late filing of form I751 under certain exceptional circumstances.

The conditional resident and the person who filed the original immigrant visa petition or fiancé(é) petition will file the I-751 form with USCIS. Both parties must sign the form.

The CPR will get an appointment notice with a specific time, date and place to capture his fingerprints, photo and  signature at a local USCIS Application Support Center. In practice a conditional resident will not have to surrender the 2-year Conditional Resident Card previously issued by the USCIS.

The conditional resident must establish that:

  1. The marriage was legal where it took place;
  2. The marriage has not been terminated;
  3. The marriage was not for the purpose of obtaining residency, and
  4. No fee (other than an attorney’s fee to assist filing) was paid.

If the USCIS Service Center Director finds that the marriage was in good faith and not to get around U.S. immigration laws, he may waive an interview. If not, the Director may ask for a marriage immigration interview or start a marriage fraud investigation. With some form i-751 petitions the USCIS may interview couples more than once. If the director approves the joint petition he or she will give written notice of the decision (I-797C, Notice of Action).

conditions i-751 - file forms i-751

Conditional permanent resident divorce

What if my petitioner refuses to sign the i751 petition?

When the marriage relationship is dysfunctional i-751 petitions may need extra care. A divorced or legally separated CPR may ask for a waiver of the joint filing requirement. To do so, the CPR must establish any one or more of the following:

  1. She entered the marriage in good faith, but the marriage was terminated (other than through death);
  2. She entered the marriage in good faith, but she or her child was battered and or suffered extreme mental cruelty;
  3. Termination of status and removal from the United States would cause  extreme hardship.

A conditional  resident who is unable to file a joint petition because divorce or annulment proceedings have started, may not apply for a waiver under the good faith marriage exception until the marriage is legally terminated.

If the couple is separated and has started divorce or annulment proceedings, the USCIS may still approve an I751 petition. The USCIS Service Director may not deny your I751 petition just because you are separated or have started divorce proceedings. However separation or the start of divorce proceedings may suggest that you entered into the marriage to get a green card.

Can I get a waiver if I am separated but not divorced?

There is no waiver of the joint filing requirement if you entered into a good faith marriage but are separated or in divorce proceedings. However, if you are in divorce proceedings and cannot get your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse to file jointly, you may still ask for the waiver based on termination of the marriage.

A conditional resident who does this will get a USCIS Request for Evidence (RFE) for a decree with a response time of 87 days. The conditional resident gets the opportunity to prove eligibility for the waiver by submitting a copy of a final divorce decree or annulment.

It is a good idea to seek legal advice during the breakdown of the marriage before pursuing a waiver based upon divorce. You should also consider that obtaining a final divorce decree may take longer than the RFE response time.

What if divorce proceedings start after we filed the joint I751 petition? Do I have to re-file?

If the CPR filed an I-751 petition jointly but later become separated or have a pending divorce the USCIS will issue the CPR a Request for Evidence (RFE) with an 87-day response period. In the RFE, the USCIS will ask the CPR to send a copy of the final divorce decree. It will also request a written statement from the CPR that the jointly filed petition be treated as a waiver petition.

Avoiding-i-751-interview – Bona fide marriage evidence

To avoid an I-751 interview, you must demonstrate to the USCIS that your marriage was in good faith marriage and not just for a green card. You can prove a good faith marriage by showing that you lived together and mixed your finances by having joint assets and liabilities.

Bona fide marriage evidence may include tax returns showing that you filed taxes as married even if one of you made no income. You must show shared experiences – you vacationed together, were together at social outings and spent time together with family and friends.  Evidence of bona fide marriage may also include birth certificate of children together, proof of pregnancy, fertility treatment or even medical records related to a miscarriage.

Conclusion

As each person has a different immigration and marriage situation you should seek specific legal advice on how to file forms i-751 from an experienced immigration attorney. If you have any questions about removing conditions on residency or other immigration through marriage concerns contact us at 702-423-2721 to book an initial consultation. We also offer consultations for complex marriage immigration interview matters.

What is K3 Visa?

The K3 Visa

As a Las Vegas immigration lawyer I often see cases where a US citizen is petitioning for a spouse living abroad and become concerned about the time it will take to bring the spouse to the United States. The k3 visa might be one option that the US citizen might consider. K3 visa waiting times can be shorter than waiting times for I-130 Petitions. However in practice K3 waiting times can be shorter or longer than posted USCIS processing times; and there is no guarantee. The processing times for some I-130 Petitions can also be shorter than posted processing times. Tactically though a K3 visa petition is something to consider if a married couple is very concerned about long waiting times.

Las Vegas Immigration LawyerPurpose of K3 visa

The LIFE Act of 2000, allows an alien who

  1. has a valid marriage to a U.S. citizen (husband or wife) and who is
  2. the beneficiary on Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and
  3. the beneficiary of an approved petition on Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e),

admission into the United States as a K3 non-immigrant to adjust to immigrant status (get a green card) while inside the United States. The K3 visa is different from the K1 visa in that the K1 alien is merely engaged to marry a U.S. Citizen and is seeking admission as a non-immigrant K1 to get married in the United States and adjust to immigrant status (green card).

Benefit of K3 Visa

  •  Avoids long wait abroad. Prior to the passage of the LIFE Act the spouse of a U.S. citizen who resides abroad had to wait for the length of time it took to process an immigrant visa which could be a year or more in some cases.
  • Derivative  K 4 status for children. The dependent children of the spouse of a U.S. citizen with an approved I-129F petition, who are accompanying or following to join their K 3 parent get admission on K 4 derivative status.
  • Admission for 2 years.  K 3 non-immigrants are initially admitted for a 2 year period. Extensions of stay are available for K3’s whose adjustment of status is not complete.
  • Employment in the United States. K-3/K-4 aliens must apply to USCIS for a document evidencing employment authorization using Form I-765.

End of K3 visa status

Termination of K3/K4 status. K3/K4 status automatically terminates 30 days after

  1. The denial or revocation of the Form I-130 petition;
  2. The denial or revocation of the immigrant visa application (Forms DS-230) filed by the alien;
  3. The denial or revocation of the alien’s application for adjustment of status (Form I-485) to that of lawful permanent residence;
  4. The K-3 spouse’s divorce from the U.S. citizen (final judgment);
  5. The marriage of an alien in K-4 status.

The K-4 status also ends with the denial of any of these petitions or applications for a K-3 parent. Nevertheless, a denial or revocation of a petition or application is not effective unless you have exhausted the administrative appeal applicable to your application or petition.

Conclusion

K3 visa applications can take unexpected twists and turns. Put the matter into the hands of a knowledgeable and experienced immigration lawyer. If you have any questions call us at 702-423-2721 to schedule a consultation to determine potential eligibility for the K3 visa.

Gary Goodin, Las Vegas Immigration Lawyer at Goodin Law P.A. 702-423-2721.