How to report immigration marriage fraud

Updated March 23, 2017

It is against the law to marry someone solely for the purpose of remaining in the United States. Marriage fraud represents a serious vulnerability in American national security, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Each year, dozens of suspected marriage fraud rings result in indictments. Arrests of people suspected in marriage fraud often uncover other criminal activity. In 2008, ICE made 238 criminal arrests related to marriage fraud schemes, which resulted in 198 convictions. Marriage fraud carries a penalty of up to a £162,500 fine and/or five years imprisonment. Although there are legitimate reasons to report marriage fraud, there are many people who have ulterior motives for their reports, which results in ICE officials being bombarded with false or inaccurate reports.

Familiarise yourself with what constitutes marriage fraud before contacting any government agency. The Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986 exist to deter immigration-related marriage fraud. Any immigrant who gets a new status in the United States based on marriage will have that status considered conditional if the pair have been married less than two years. The couple must apply to remove the conditional status in the 90-day window before their second anniversary. If the immigrant cannot prove the marriage is valid, his or her status can be terminated and that person can be deported. More than 400,000 individuals annually seek new status based on marriage. Law enforcement officials are often called on to investigate suspected marriage fraud cases that involve large numbers of people and large financial transactions.

Gather your evidence and consider your motives. Be prepared to let law enforcement officials know the names, addresses and phone numbers of the people you suspect are engaged in marriage fraud. Be able to provide proof of your allegation and be ready to respond to questions about who you are and why you are making this report.

Contact the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tip Line at 866-347-2423 to report any suspicious behaviour or suspected immigration-related crime. When you call, know that your conversation will be recorded and that it is a crime to provide a false report. You will be told that the information you provide will be given to the appropriate ICE representative, who may or may not investigate the matter. There is no guarantee that the information you provide will result in any law enforcement action.

The FBI also investigates certain marriage fraud cases, so you may also contact your nearest Field Office to make an official report.


Consider that you may be wrong or your own motives may be suspect. This is a serious accusation and if you intentionally file a false report, you may be the one to wind up behind bars. Do not attempt to deal personally with anyone who could be investigated for marriage fraud.

Things You'll Need

  • Names and contact information of suspected parties
  • Credible evidence of the crime
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About the Author

Angela Ogunjimi has been a prize-winning writer and editor since 1994. She was a general assignment reporter at two newspapers and a business writer at two magazines. She writes on nutrition, obesity, diabetes and weight control for a project of the National Institutes of Health. Ogunjimi holds a master's degree in sociology from George Washington University and a bachelor's in journalism from New York University.