You cannot have “assumed name” fingerprints

You cannot have “assumed name” fingerprints

Dear Atty. Gurfinkel:

In 2004, I applied for a visitor’s visa but was denied.  The next year, I secured an “assumed name” passport, which was a Philippine passport with my picture but someone else’s name.  I tried my luck again under the assumed name, but the Embassy caught the fraud and again denied my visitor’s visa.  But I did not give them my real name at that time.

My U.S. citizen daughter recently petitioned me, and I was very careful not to list my assumed name on any of the paperwork, even where it asked for other names used.  Recently, the Embassy sent an email, asking for NBI clearance for me under the assumed name, and an explanation as to why I used that name when I applied for a visitor visa in 2005.

How did they ever discover my fraud or use of an assumed name, when I did not disclose my real name at that time, and didn’t disclose the assumed name in connection with my daughter’s petition?  What’s going to happen now?


Very truly yours,



Dear NT:

What some people forget is that when a person applies for a non-immigrant or immigrant visa, such as a tourist visa, student visa, working visa, green card, etc., the person is fingerprinted at the Embassy.  Those fingerprint records are saved and stored in the Embassy’s data base.   If a person applies for another visa at a future date, they are again fingerprinted.  The U.S. government then runs their fingerprints through various databases to check for any criminal history, previous denials, etc.

In your case, it is likely you were fingerprinted when you applied for your visitor’s visa in your real name, and again when you applied under an assumed name.  You were once again fingerprinted years later in connection with your immigrant visa under your daughter’s petition.  Although you applied for a visitor’s visa under an assumed name,  your fingerprints don’t change, and every person’s fingerprints are unique to that person.

Therefore, when the Embassy ran a fingerprint check in connection with your immigrant visa, the fingerprints they took during your two previous visitor’s visa applications popped up, including the assumed name you used.  Now, it is likely your immigrant visa will be refused for fraud.

If a person commits fraud, they would need to file a fraud waiver, that will demonstrate how an immigrant or citizen spouse or parent (not child) would suffer “extreme hardship” if the person is not forgiven for their fraud.  If a person has no spouse or parent who is a citizen or immigrant (called “qualifying relative”), they cannot apply for a fraud waiver.  In your case, if you have a spouse or parent who is a citizen or immigrant, you may be eligible to apply for a fraud waiver.

But the important point for people to remember is that they are ordinarily fingerprinted each time they apply for any kind of immigration benefit, including: visa at the U.S. Embassy; immigration benefits in the U.S. by USCIS (such as work authorizations, adjustment, etc.); by CBP when crossing the border or entering the U.S. at an airport; old asylum cases, etc.  In fact, USCIS has now established a “deportation/denaturalization squad” to go after people who may have been caught at the border and sent home but reentered the U.S. under a different name and were able to get a green card or even U.S. citizenship under that different name.  Tens of thousands of old fingerprints from the 90’s have now been inputted into the government’s computer database, and they are comparing those old fingerprints to new fingerprints. If they find a match between fingerprints of a person who had been caught with fraud, convicted of a crime, or other violations, they may go after that person to either strip them of their green card or citizenship

If you have multiple identities which may raise issues about eligibility for immigration benefits, you should seek the advice of an attorney, who can evaluate your situation and determine the best course of action or possible remedies.


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