Things that could make your case suspicious (part 2)

Things that could make your case suspicious (part 2)

In a previous article, a reader, who was scheduled for his visa interview, asked about some of the things which could trigger suspicions or investigations by the Embassy, and how a person could best avoid having his case looked upon with suspicion. This article discusses additional suspicious situations.

If you can avoid these situations and/or can offer proper and truthful explanations, the USCIS or Embassy may be satisfied about your case:

  1. A person obtains a green card as “single with no children,” but after obtaining the green card, petitions a spouse and children. If a person, at the time he or she was processed for a visa, claimed to be single with no children, but, after obtaining a green card, makes an “about face” and petitions a spouse and/or children, the Embassy will wonder where this instant family suddenly came from (i.e. a person obtains a green card, claiming he or she is single with no children, but after getting his green card, he or she suddenly has a 15-year-old child being processed for a visa). In such a case, the USCIS or Embassy will investigate further on the “sudden appearance” of a 15 year old child.
  2. A person claims required documents were lost or damaged due to disasters. In some cases, when the USCIS or Embassy asks for documents or pictures, the person claims the documents (such as birth or marriage certificate) or pictures were destroyed by natural disaster, even though the person had never lived, visited or ever been near the place where the alleged volcanic eruption or flood occurred. Or the USCIS or Embassy could be concerned when a person claims important documents or family pictures were destroyed by other types of natural disasters, such as fire, flood, etc.

    In one case, the Embassy became suspicious as to whether the spouse of the primary beneficiary was really the true spouse. The Embassy asked for wedding pictures, but the family claimed their family pictures were destroyed by flood. But the Embassy still wanted proof. Ultimately, the family produced a wallet sized photo that showed the “bride,” with a different groom. So, the case was put under investigation, because of suspicions that this was an imposter wife, and the man had “sold” his wife’s visa to another woman.

  3. Is the petitioner still alive? Under immigration law, a petition “dies” with the petitioner. The Embassy may ask for a notarized picture of the parent, holding up a current newspaper in front of a U.S. Post Office, Walmart, etc. to establish that the parent is still alive and living in the U.S. at the time of the interview. In addition, under new immigration laws, the petitioner must submit a notarized affidavit of support in all family-based petitions, even if the petitioner is retired or poor, or needs a co-sponsor. Obviously, if the petitioner has died before the affidavit of support was submitted, he could not submit a currently notarized affidavit of support.
  4. “Date of marriage” appears on child’s birth certificate, where the parent claims to be “single“. Some children are born illegitimate. In order to save the child (and/or the parents) from “embarrassment”, sometimes parents put down a fictitious date of marriage on that child’s birth certificate. However, if the parent is being petitioned as single (such as a single child of an immigrant or US citizen), the date of marriage appearing on their child’s birth certificate could create suspicions by the USCIS or Embassy that the parent is really married. (This is because the marriage of a person being petitioned as “single” would affect their eligibility for a visa. If they are being petitioned by an immigrant parent, the marriage would void the petition, as only US citizen parents can petition married children. However, if they are being petitioned by a US citizen parent, the wait for the priority date to be current would be somewhat longer.)

    If you truly are single, and are being petitioned as single, but there is a date of marriage on your child’s birth certificate, you should make sure you can present appropriate evidence and documentation to the USCIS or Embassy to prove you truly are single. Under no circumstance should you “buy” a late-registered or manufactured birth certificate for your child, listing the child as illegitimate. Instead, you should explain why there is a date of marriage appearing on the child’s birth certificate) rather than submitting fake documents. Giving fake documents to try to conceal information could be grounds for you to be denied a visa, due to “fraud or misrepresentations”. Please note that having an illegitimate child will not void your petition, so long as you were truly “single” at the time of the interview and before entering the U.S.

    In conclusion, you should not apply for an immigration benefit if you are not entitled to it and hope to “get away with it”. The USCIS and Embassy investigates suspicious circumstances. If you are not entitled to an immigration benefit, do not waste the time of the USCIS or U.S. Embassy.

    However, if you are legitimately entitled to immigration benefits, but your case looks suspicious (although it is truly legitimate), you should consider the assistance of an attorney who can analyze your case and properly gather the necessary documents and make a proper representation in your behalf to the Embassy, so that any questions, concerns, or suspicion will be properly explained. This way, you could possibly avoid delays, investigations, or possible denials of your visa.

Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 35 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories”, endorsements and re-enactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.

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