I Entered The U.S. Under An Assumed Name; Is There Hope?

I Entered The U.S. Under An Assumed Name; Is There Hope?

Dear Attorney Gurfinkel:

Years ago, I applied for a visitor’s visa under my real name and was denied.  I applied again under a different name and was successful.  I was able to enter the U.S., but under that assumed name.  I kept that original passport and visa and still have them.

I recently married a U.S. citizen who wants to petition me, but I am concerned about my chances and whether I would need to go back to Manila to be processed for my visa.

Is there hope for me, despite having entered the U.S. under a different name?


Very truly yours,



Dear NR:

It could be possible for a person to obtain a green card in the U.S., even if they entered the U.S. under a different name.  Our office has successfully obtained green cards for many people in this situation.

First, it was a good thing you kept the passport you entered on, even though it was under a different name.  That passport (with the entry visa) would prove that you were “inspected” when you entered the U.S., which is a necessary requirement to apply for a green card in the U.S. (unless a person was grandfathered under Section 245(i)).

I’ve come across many cases where a person entered the U.S. under a different name but immediately sent back the assumed name passport to the Philippines, threw it out, or burned it.  In such a case, they would have no record of having entered the U.S.  Ironically, to get a green card in the U.S., it would be better to keep the passport and admit the fraud in connection with your case.

Second, you obviously committed fraud by entering the U.S. under an assumed name.  In such a case, you would need to apply for a fraud waiver as part of your paperwork.  A fraud waiver is where you basically ask for forgiveness from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) based on showing “extreme hardship” to a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, called “qualifying relatives.”  (Note: children are not considered qualifying relatives for fraud waivers.)

Fraud waivers and showing extreme hardship to a qualifying relative require an extensive showing, based on many factors, requiring extensive evidence and documentation, as well as compelling affidavits from the qualifying relatives, which are detailed in the USCIS’s Policy Manual (PM).

In your case, your U.S. citizen spouse could petition you, and you can apply for adjustment of status and a fraud waiver, so long as you have proof of inspection and properly show extreme hardship to a qualifying relative.  If approved, you have cleared your name and would have a legitimate green card.

I want to be clear that I am not “guaranteeing” results.  Each case depends on the facts, circumstances, evidence, and how well it is put together and packaged.

But if a person committed fraud and has a qualifying relative, they should consult with an attorney about a fraud waiver and eligibility to adjust status in the U.S.  Alternatively, if the person is outside the U.S. and charged with fraud at the U.S. Embassy, they could also possibly be eligible for a fraud waiver, which, if approved, would result in them being issued their immigrant visa.


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