Impact on Visa from Misrepresentation and Fraud

Attorneys at the Murthy Law Firm as well as Murthy Immigration Services, Pvt. Ltd. (MISPL) in India, are often contacted by visa applicants following denials resulting from applicants having been found ineligible due to fraud or misrepresentation. The section of law that covers fraud related to efforts to obtain immigration benefits is Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 212(a)(6)(C)(i). The result of fraud findings is that such individuals are inadmissible to the United States. These applicants are not allowed to enter the U.S. or adjust status to permanent residence. The following discussion of some of the common scenarios in which fraud or misrepresentation occurs is an effort to help our readers avoid such situations.

Risk of Fraud or Misrepresentation – Permanent Bar

A finding of fraud or misrepresentation in the immigration context makes the visa applicant permanently inadmissible to the United States. This means that one who has a fraud finding against him/her may never be allowed to enter the U.S. Though waiver of inadmissibility is available under limited circumstances, it is important when applying for a visa to understand the serious consequences that can result from any misrepresentation. Such waivers are rarely granted or approved, so the impact on an individual’s life can result in a permanent bar on entry to the United States.

It is important to understand that, if one is found to have committed fraud or misrepresentation in one visa application, s/he will be prohibited from obtaining any other type of U.S. visa or immigration benefit.

Common Examples of Fraud / Misrepresentation

  • Incorrect Financial Documents:  F-1 / J-1 Visa Applicants
    Students may be refused F-1 or J-1 visas for fraud or misrepresentation for producing false financial documentation. There are unscrupulous consultants who provide financial documentation to applicants for a fee. Aspiring students who use such documentation are often completely unaware of the serious implications of producing false documents. Such applicants may not only end their ability to obtain a quality U.S. education, but potentially also close the doors to their ever entering the United States.
  • Concealing Family Living in the U.S.:  B-1 / B-2 Visa Applicants
    Under the assumption that the presence of a brother, sister, parent, fiancée, and/or spouse living in the U.S. will prompt a consulate officer to deny issuance of a visa, applicants mark “No” in responses to questions on the DS-160, which asks about relatives in the United States. In most cases, this amounts to a material misrepresentation of facts, and, if detected, will almost certainly lead to denial and a finding of fraud.
  • Submission of False Experience or Education:  H1B Visa Applicants
    H1B visa aspirants sometimes submit false experience or educational certificates in an attempt to qualify for the visa. The irony is that, in many cases where false experience letters are submitted, prior work experience may not even be required in order to be eligible for the H1B petition approval or visa issuance. Often qualification is simply based upon possessing the appropriate educational degree. Yet, by submitting these falsified documents, such applicants may find themselves ineligible for any type of visa, including the H1B.

Administrative Review for Document Verification

The common explanation provided by applicants in these situations is that consultants, employers, or friends misguided them. It must be understood that applicants ultimately are responsible for their own behavior and the information signed under penalty of perjury on the visa application forms. They alone will have to face dire consequences for their actions. Each individual is responsible for the documents presented and the forms signed in his/her case. Consulates have means of verifying such documents and often issue administrative reviews to verify the legitimacy of suspicious documentation.

Difficulty in Obtaining Any Waivers

In limited circumstances, waivers are available as a way to obtain forgiveness for the fraud or misrepresentation, and to allow entry to the U.S. These waivers are available in both the nonimmigrant (temporary) and immigrant (permanent) context. However, such waivers are highly discretionary and can be difficult to obtain.

Conclusion

This should serve as a warning to MurthyDotCom readers, so that they avoid any temptations likely to be characterized as immigration fraud or misrepresentation. The requirements for immigrant or nonimmigrant waivers are outside the scope of this article. Anyone who has already been found guilty of committing fraud or misrepresentation in connection with an immigration benefit should consult with a qualified immigration attorney to determine what options, if any, are available.

Any applicant who lies, uses false documents or otherwise engages in behavior that falls within the provisions of immigration fraud and misrepresentation often seals his/her own fate, losing the chance of any future U.S. immigration options, whether short or long term. All applicants and petitioners are encouraged to be truthful when applying for visas or any other immigration benefits. Questions as to the proper way to respond to a particular question or requirement should be discussed in a consultation with a qualified, experienced U.S. immigration attorney before any irreversible steps are taken.

This report from Murthy Immigration Services, Pvt. Ltd. in Chennai, India, was originally posted 16.Feb.2007, and has been updated for MurthyDotCom readers.

 

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.
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