Visa or Green Card Denied for False Information on Immigration Forms?

If you submit false information - or omit damaging information - your immigration application can not only be denied, but you may face other serious consequences.

Any time someone submits a visa application that contains false information, it is considered a fraud against the U.S. government. The result is that the person may face a substantial delay or denial of the visa and quite possibly the denial of subsequent immigration applications.

In fact, because lying on a visa application is a violation of federal law, a person in the U.S. who helps an applicant falsify an application to gain entry into the U.S. can actually be indicted and prosecuted by a federal grand jury if the matter is formally investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

Some examples of false information that can result in visa denial include the following:

  1. false personal information
  2. failing to reveal past visa refusals
  3. lying about past criminal activity or convictions

What Would Constitute False Personal Information?

All of the following types of information are considered "personal," and therefore lying about them could result in a visa being denied:

  1. legal name or alias
  2. date of birth
  3. financial information (for example, many visa applications ask you to prove that you'll be able to support yourself in the United States), and
  4. information about marriages or other family members.

What's Wrong With Not Mentioning Past Visa Refusals?

All visa applicants are asked if they have ever been refused a visa in the past. If failing to mention a past refusal is the reason your current application was denied, what you likely didn’t realize is that information pertaining to previous visa refusals was already documented and available to the officer processing your application. Therefore, if you were ever refused a visa but failed to disclose it, regardless of how harmless failing to disclose the information may have seemed, you have committed a fraud -- and will likely get caught.

What Happens If I Don't Reveal Information About Past Crimes?

You'll be asked about your criminal record in any visa application. However, information pertaining to any arrests and criminal convictions is also readily available to immigration officers during the processing of the visa. If failing to mention a crime is why your visa was denied, you probably feared that your criminal history would result in visa denial -- as is indeed possible. But if you also provided false information pertaining to an arrest or conviction, you now actually have two separate problems to deal with.

Can I Ever Get Another Visa?

If providing false information on your application was an intentional attempt to hide a particular fact, then you'll need to realize that immigration laws treat false information on a visa application very seriously -- and possibly as a crime of moral turpitude. In order to get another visa to the U.S., you will need to convince the U.S. government to forgive or overlook the past misrepresentation, by requesting a waiver of inadmissibility. The type of waiver you will need depends on the type of visa you were applying for: a temporary (nonimmigrant) visa or a permanent (immigrant) visa.

Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa: How to Apply for a Waiver of Your Misrepresentation

If your nonimmigrant visa application is determined to contain false information and is denied, you will need to submit a new visa application and request a waiver from a U.S. consulate outside the United States. There is no special form to file with the visa application. Instead a consular officer will:

  1.  schedule an interview for you and question you about the false information provided
  2. after the interview, decide whether a waiver should be granted, based on your explanation and:
  • the type of misrepresentation and its seriousness
  • the reason for your travel to the U.S., and
  •  any effects of your travel, whether positive or negative, on the interests of the U.S. public.

The consular officer will report to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with a recommendation as to whether or not to grant the waiver. If the consular officer does not completely feel you deserve a waiver for your misrepresentation, and makes an unfavorable recommendation to the DHS, your application will likely be denied again. 

Applying for an Immigrant Visa: How to Apply for a Waiver of Your Misrepresentation

If you are seeking to come to the U.S. permanently, you can file for a waiver of the misrepresentation using Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. While this waiver does not require a consular recommendation, it has much stricter criteria, and again, is granted on a purely discretionary basis. This waiver is particularly difficult to get simply because if it is granted, the person will be permitted remain in the U.S. permanently.

In the event your misrepresentation involved the commission of a crime, whether you were actually convicted or not, it is possible you will not even be eligible for the waiver. Some crimes, by law, cannot be waived. 

What Are the Criteria for an Immigrant Visa Waiver?

You can learn more about the criteria for the I-601 immigrant visa waiver and misrepresentations pertaining to crimes in the article: "What Happens If I Lie About Criminal History on a U.S. Visa Application?" However, given the complexity involved in filing a successful immigrant waiver application, you should contact an experienced immigration attorney to determine your eligibility and to assist you through the process.

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