Immigration Fraud and Penalties

Using fraud or willful misrepresentation to try to be admitted into the U.S. is a mistake. It may backfire and you may be deemed inadmissible into the U.S. It’s best to be as truthful as possible, hope for the best and not put yourself in a position where you need to explain things that aren’t true and why you said them. If you’re in Kentucky and feel you need to resort to stating things that aren’t true to obtain an immigration benefit or admissibility into the U.S., talk to us so we can find a better way for you to reach your goals.

An applicant can be found to be inadmissible if he or she gets a benefit through fraud or willful misrepresentation. These are two different things under immigration law, but they have common elements. A determination that a person is inadmissible due to willful misrepresentation requires a finding that the applicant willfully misrepresented a material fact. The immigration officer must find all of these things to be true:

  • The person obtained, or tried to obtain, a benefit available under immigration law
  • The person made a false statement
  • It was willfully made
  • It was material or relevant to the application
  • It was made to a U.S. government official

If the above are shown, the person would be inadmissible due to willful misrepresentation. Evidence of intent to deceive isn’t necessary. Inadmissibility because of fraud must be based on a finding of all the above elements plus an intent to deceive. If the applicant wasn’t able to get the benefit, he or she can be deemed inadmissible for trying to obtain an immigration benefit by fraud.

Even though an applicant has been found to be inadmissible due to fraud or willful misrepresentation, he or she may be able to get a waiver allowing them to enter the county or get an immigration benefit anyway.

  • This would provide humanitarian relief and promote family unity
  • The person would be seen as deserving of a waiver due to positive factors outweighing the fraud, willful misrepresentation or other negative factors

A waiver is available only to applicants who can show an extreme hardship to one of the following:

  • A U.S. citizen parent or spouse
  • A lawful permanent resident (LPR) parent or spouse
  • A citizen fiancé/fiancée
  • If the person is covered by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the VAWA self-petitioner, or his or her citizen, LPR or qualified alien parent or child.

Whether or not a waiver of inadmissibility based on fraud or willful misrepresentation is available depends on the immigration benefit being sought. A waiver may be available for those seeking one of these:

  • An immigrant visa or adjustment of status as part of a family-based petition or as a VAWA self-petitioner
  • An immigrant visa or adjustment of status due to an employment-based petition
  • A nonimmigrant K visa (fiancé/ fiancée of a U.S. citizen and their accompanying minor children, foreign spouses or step-children of U.S. citizens)
  • A nonimmigrant V visa (spouses and unmarried children under age 21, or step-children of an LPR)

If you live in Kentucky and may be in a situation where a willful misrepresentation or fraud occurred while trying to get an immigration benefit or be admitted into the U.S. and you have questions about what you should do, contact our office so we can discuss the legal process, the applicable law and how we can help.