Internet Romance and Marriage Fraud
Many Americans befriend Moroccans through Internet dating and social networking sites and these relationships often lead to marriage or engagement. While many of the marriages between Americans and Moroccans are successful, the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca warns against marriage fraud. It is not uncommon for foreign nationals to enter into marriages with Americans solely for immigration purposes. Relationships developed via correspondence, particularly those begun on the Internet, are especially susceptible to manipulation. Often, the marriages end in divorce in the United States when the foreign national acquires legal permanent residence (“green card”) or U.S. citizenship. In some cases, the new American or permanent resident then remarries a wife he divorced before, around the same time as entering into a relationship with a sponsoring American citizen.
Some of the signs that an Internet contact may be developing a relationship with an American in order to obtain an immigrant visa through marriage are:
Declarations of love within days or weeks of the initial contact;
Proposals or discussions of marriage soon after initial contact;
Requests to the American to visit the foreign national’s home country soon after the declaration of love or proposal;
Responses to messages from the American friend are along the lines “I love you/Sorry I missed your call,” or similarly one-sided conversations;
Once engaged, married, or an immigrant visa petition is filed, suddenly starts missing scheduled appointments to chat or call.
While chat rooms, dating and social networking sites are great ways to make friends across international borders, the U.S. government urges Americans who meet foreign nationals on the Internet to take the time necessary to get to know them well before considering marriage and to keep in mind the signs noted above. Entering into a marriage contract for the principal purpose of facilitating immigration to the United States for an alien is against U.S. law and can result in serious penalties, including fines and imprisonment for the American citizen and the foreign national involved.
Marriage in Morocco
This document is intended only as a guide to marriage in Morocco. Requirements may vary according to local authorities and are subject to change. Marriage is a legal act governed by the law of Morocco and U.S. citizens are subject to those laws as interpreted by the appropriate Moroccan authorities.
Marriages cannot be performed at U.S. Embassies or Consulates, nor do U.S. diplomatic personnel have the authority to preside over marriages. A Moroccan marriage is recognized in the U.S.; you do not need to register your marriage at the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca.
The length of time needed to marry in Morocco varies. A non-Moslem man who wishes to marry a Moslem woman may anticipate one to three months to complete the process, including the time needed to convert to Islam. In general, the process is less complicated for a Moslem man who wishes to marry a non-Moslem woman.
The marriage process is handled by the Government of Morocco. After obtaining a completed Affidavit of Nationality and Eligibility to Marry and notarized passport pages from the US Consulate in Casablanca for $100 fee, you will need to translate the Affidavit of marriage as well as all your foreign documents into Arabic.
Below is a list of documents needed in relation to getting married in Morocco, the first two are required from the US Consulate:
- An Affidavit of Nationality and Eligibility to Marry. This document is obtained at the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca by appointment at: http://morocco.usembassy.gov/appointments-2011.html. There is a $50 fee for a Consular Officer to notarize the document. This affidavit is valid for six months from the date it is signed and notarized at the U.S. Consulate.
- Copies of your biographic passport and the page containing your entry date to Morocco must be notarized at the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca for a $50 fee.
- If divorced, provide original or certified copies of proof of dissolution of any previous marriage(s).
- If former spouse is deceased, provide original or certified copy of his or her death certificate (s).
- Provide an original or certified copy of your birth certificate.
- Evidence of employment from employer in the United States or source of income.
- A written statement indicating your intention to marry in Morocco.
- If resident in Morocco, a copy of the residency card.
- If resident in Morocco, obtain a Moroccan police record from the Ministry of Justice in Rabat (Office of Penal Affairs and Pardons). (For U.S. citizens, resident in Morocco, you will need both an American and Moroccan police record.)
- If male, a notarized statement of religious denomination or a certified copy of a conversion document to Islam. (Conversion documents are obtained from and notarized by Adouls, or religious/court notarials, at the Ministry of Justice in Rabat.) Women do not need this document.
- A medical certificate of good health from a doctor in Morocco. This document must be obtained in Morocco.
- Four (4) recent passport photos (3cm x 4cm, please note this is the same size required for a Moroccan passport).
- The fee for submitting an application for marriage to an Adoul is 150 Moroccan Dirham.
- An American police record must be obtained from a police department in the state where you last resided or from the FBI BEFORE coming to Morocco.
Where can I obtain the copy of my police record?
The U.S. Consulate cannot provide police records. U.S. citizens who would like to obtain their police records are required to contact the FBI. If you have not obtained your police records, you will need to submit your fingerprints to the FBI. The Consular Section cannot take your fingerprints and the Moroccan authorities will only fingerprint individuals who are resident to Morocco (holders of a carte de séjour). If you already have your fingerprints and wish to submit the criminal background check by mail, you will need:
- Fingerprint card with your name, date of birth and place of birth;
- An informal note explaining the reason for your request;
- And a certified check or money order payable to the U.S. Treasury for $18.00 in U.S. currency.
Please send your documents and the required fee to the FBI at the following address:
FBI, CJIS Division
SCU – MOD, D-2
1000 Cluster Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306
The FBI will send your record in approximately 8 to 10 weeks. For more information on Criminal Record Checks, please refer to:
Important note about document requirements: This list is not exhaustive. Moroccan authorities may ask for additional information or other documents.
What do I do next?
Take your completed Affidavit of Nationality and Eligibility to Marry and other documents to the following Government of Morocco office to be certified. There is a fee for this certification. The length of time needed to complete this phase of the process varies from a few days to a few months.
Annexe du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères & de la Coopération
After obtaining the certification from the above office, you and your fiancé (e) must provide the Family Law Section at the Prosecutor’s office at the Court of Appeal in the city where you will be married with all the required documents. Authorization to marry should be granted after the court completes administrative processing. The length of time required for this process varies. The file with your documents is forwarded to a family judge who will inform you of the next steps you must take in order to obtain your Moroccan marriage certificate.