I came to the U.S. under a different name; is there hope for me?

I came to the U.S. under a different name; is there hope for me?

Dear Atty. Gurfinkel:

I came to the US under a different name on a visitor’s visa. The passport and visa had my picture, but somebody else’s name. I still have that passport.

I recently married a US citizen for love, and hope to get a green card. Is there hope for me, since I entered the US under a different name?

Very truly yours,


Dear ES:

Yes, there could be hope for you, despite having entered the US under a different name. (Please note I said there is “hope”, but as an attorney, I cannot, and do not, “guarantee” success or approvals.)

In your case, you could be eligible to file for adjustment of status because you were “inspected,” meaning you presented yourself to an immigration officer who checked your visa or other papers, and admitted you to the US (or allowed you to enter). Even though you were inspected under a different name, that still constitutes “inspection.” The fact that you saved that passport provides evidence of your inspection. This is critical to a person’s ability to file for adjustment in the US: proving you were “inspected.”

Many people who entered the U.S. under a different name eventually wind up either losing or misplacing the passport they used to enter the U.S., or they mailed it back to the agency in the Philippines. If they don’t have proof of inspection, it could be considered that they entered the US without inspection (or are “EWI”), and would not be eligible to adjust status in the US, even through marriage to a citizen, unless they have the benefit of Section 245(i). This was a law allowing people who entered without inspection to still get a green card in the US, provided they were petitioned on or before April 30, 2001.

However, in your case, you also committed fraud by entering the US under a different name. Therefore, you would be required to submit a fraud waiver, demonstrating “extreme hardship” to a “qualifying relative”, who would either be a spouse or parent who is a US citizen or immigrant (legal permanent resident).

What would need to happen in your case is your citizen spouse could petition you, and you could also file for adjustment of status and fraud waiver. Of course no guarantees can be made, but there could be hope in your case, despite having entered the US under a different name.

If this situation applies to you, you should seek the advice of an attorney, who can evaluate your situation and determine your eligibility, guide you through the process, and help prepare the documentation and represent you at your interview.

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