Diamonds Are Forever, And So Is Fraud

Diamonds Are Forever, And So Is Fraud

Before 1996, if a person committed fraud (such as trying to enter the U.S. under an assumed name, submitting fake/bogus documents, etc.), the fraud was erased from their record after 10 years.

But in 1996, then-President Clinton signed a law that provided that fraud stays on a person’s record forever. That means if a person committed fraud many years ago, such as applying for a visitor visa under a different name, etc., that fraud will still come back to haunt them years later when applying for an immigrant visa.

I had many cases where a person was petitioned by a parent, brother, sister, etc., only to have the visa refused because, many years ago, they had been charged with fraud.

Even if you fail to disclose the fraud on your forms, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Embassy will likely still have a record of that fraud. In most cases, the person was fingerprinted and photographed (even under an assumed name) when caught with the fraud, and when they are fingerprinted again for their immigrant visa, a hit or match will pop up in the government’s computers, documenting the fraud. And failing to disclose a past fraud could constitute a brand new fraud. Arguing that you “forgot” about the past fraud because it happened so long ago is not an excuse.

Even if you committed fraud, there could still be hope if you are eligible to apply for a fraud waiver. To be eligible, you must have a parent or spouse who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (called a “qualifying relative”) and demonstrate that your qualifying relative would suffer extreme hardship if you were not granted your green card or immigrant visa.

If you have fraud on your record, I advise that you consult with an attorney who can evaluate your situation and determine the best course of action, including assisting in the preparation of a fraud waiver if you are eligible.



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