Paper marriage is quite common in UK and USA among expatriates from poor countries. Muslims and non-Muslims are equally involved in this practice. Is it an acceptable thing to do from Islamic point of view if exercised without any lustful intentions, in fact, solely for economic reasons? As a result of paper marriage people get nationalities of wealthy countries and can then help out the families who are suffering in their respective countries.
What we understand from the term “Paper Marriage” is that a man and a woman who are not husband and wife, enter into a contract whereby they pose to be husband and wife in front of the legal authorities of the particular country.
If this understanding of the term is correct, then without shadow of a doubt it is a simple and clear case of fraud. Moreover, the process of naturalization is also quite likely to involve giving a statement under oath that the two are lawfully wedded husband and wife. In such a case it would also become a case of perjury. We must not forget that the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said that the biggest among the big sins (Kabaair) is to give a false witness (which is the same as perjury).
In these circumstances, it seems obvious what Islam’s standpoint on “Paper marriage” would be. No matter how big the advantages that may follow such naturalization, the fact remains that this process is going to be considered a huge negative factor in a person’s account on the Day of Judgment. Therefore, if a person holds his success in the hereafter dearer than the temporary “good” in this world, he should follow a path that is straight and according to the likings of God, whether it is mentioned in the Shari`ah or has a firm basis in the conscience of a man.