Fraud on Visa Applications

Penalties for Fraud or Misrepresentation

on Visa Applications

Many people hoping to immigrate to the United States wait a long amount of time and incur many expenses. An applicant may want to immigrate so badly that they decide to engage in fraudulent activities or misrepresent themselves in their visa application. You might think that misrepresenting yourself on your visa application is not that big of a deal, but fraud and misrepresentation on visa applications are serious crimes. 

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If you are facing fraud or material misrepresentation charges, you need to speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. If you are convicted, you could be removed from the United States, or your application could be deemed inadmissible. At Ray Law International, we have defended many foreign nationals against misrepresentation and fraud charges. Contact our immigration law firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation. 

What is a Material Misrepresentation?

The U.S. government must prove that your misstatement was material. Misstating a fact on your visa application is not enough to make your application inadmissible. Instead, only material misstatements on your application can result in penalties. A material misstatement happens when the misstatement does the following:

 

  • The misstatement would make the applicant excludable from immigration

  • The misstatement shut off a line of inquiry that would have resulted in exclusion from immigration

  • The misstated fact had a natural tendency to affect the decision regarding the immigration benefit sought by the immigrant

 

A material misrepresentation can be an omission. For example, if an applicant leaves off important information in his or her application, this omission could count as an exclusion. A government immigration officer does not have to rely on the untrue statement for it to be considered a material misrepresentation. 

The Penalties for a Willful Misstatement 

The government must prove that the foreign-born individual’s misstatement was willful. Willful misrepresentation means that the person who made the misstatement knew the statement was false when he or she made it. In other words, the misstatement must be voluntary and deliberate. The penalties for committing willful misstatements include being forced to leave the United States and being excluded from applying for a visa in the future. 

The Penalties for Fraud on an Immigration Application

Fraud occurs when someone makes a false representation of a material fact with the intent to deceive the other party. The Immigration and Nationality Act does not specifically define fraud. Fraud happens when someone falsifies information in an immigration matter and intends to deceive the other party. 

 

The penalties for immigration fraud depend on the factors of the case. Penalties can include a prison sentence of 25 years if the applicant engaged in immigration fraud for the purpose of supporting acts of terrorism. The maximum penalty for committing immigration fraud for the purpose of drug trafficking is 20 years. 

 

If the defendant is a first-time offender and did not intend to commit another crime, the defendant could face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Other fraudulent immigration offenses come with a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

 

 

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