What constitutes lying to immigration authorities?
For immigration purposes, lying is understood as saying (either in written or spoken form), something that does not correspond to reality in order to obtain an immigration benefit.
Moreover, lying can be understood as having a bad moral character – which is something very important, because in order to be in the United States you must be considered a person of good moral character.
What is the purpose of lying or committing immigration fraud?
The purpose is to obtain an immigration benefit. This may be so for several reasons:
- To obtain a Tourist Visa, a Temporary Work Visa or a Student Visa.
- To obtain the citizenship through naturalization.
- To obtain the residency card (also known as Green Card).
- To enter the United States.
- To be granted political asylum, deferred action, etc.
Examples or lies or actions that constitute immigration fraud
- Lies about your marital status (single, married, separated, etc.)
- Using a fake name or another person’s name.
- Not declaring the exact number of children that you have.
- Denying the existence of family members in the U.S.A. or who are American citizens.
- Submitting false documents related to bank accounts, property, etc.
- Lying about your work experience and academic background.
- Lying about the time you have spent outside of the United States.
- Lying about taxes.
- Lying about child support payments.
- Submitting false diplomas and/or certificates.
- Submitting a false proof of employment letter.
- Telling an immigration officer at any port of entry that you intend to visit the United States temporarily as a tourist, when your true intention is different.
- Bribing or trying to bribe a Consular officer to have your Visa approved.
- Doctoring a Visa or falsifying one.
- Buying, selling, transferring or obtaining for others a Visa or any other legal document, such as a passport.
- Entering the United States with a Tourist Visa or without a Visa, as is the case of citizens from countries part of the Visa Waiver Program, with the intention of working for an American company.
Consequences of lying about immigration matters
- You will become inadmissible by reason of having committed immigration fraud. This means that you will not be granted a Non-immigrant Visa or an Immigrant Visa. You will not be able to adjust your states nor to obtain a change of Visa. You will not be able to obtain immigration benefits such as deferred action or even asylum.
- If you are in the U.S.A., a removal proceeding will be initiated once the government learns that there are issues with how you entered the country. In the most serious cases, a legal proceeding can be initiated as well, there is the possibility that you will be sent to jail and then deported after having served your sentence.
- Likewise, all officers of the American government who work on immigration matters (Consular officers, port of entry officers, USCIS, CBP, immigration court judges, etc.) will always infer a lack of credibility in you.
- Finally, any immigration benefits that you have obtained by lying can be revoked. This can be the case of many benefits, such as the Tourist Visa, the Green Card or the Citizenship.
It is important to note that very often the event you have lied about is not reason enough to have an immigration benefit or Visa denied to you. Rather, it is lying in itself is the reason that causes issues.