Fraud and Misuse of Visas, Permits, and other Documents

Legal Counsel for Immigration Fraud Criminal Charges

The effects of an immigration fraud conviction under 18 USC 1546 are permanent and extremely serious. Once convicted, the offender is permanently barred from receiving immigration benefits. Under 18 USC 1546, there are several types of immigration fraud:

  • Document fraud or identity fraud refers to the making, sale or use of forged identity documents like birth certificates, driver's licenses, passports, or Social Security cards. It may also involve identity theft and any attempt to procure genuine identity documents through illicit means.
  • Benefit fraud is the deliberate misrepresentation, distortion, or omission of facts on an application to get an immigration benefit including legal residency or a valid visa. Because thousands are looking for any means to freely enter, work, or reside in the U.S., benefit fraud attracts schemers, middlemen, and co-conspirators looking to profit from this crime.
  • Asylum fraud refers to those who seek refugee status by fraudulent means. Many fraudulent asylum seekers portray themselves as victims of religious or political persecution in their native countries.
  • Marriage Fraud refers to anyone who enters into a marriage under false pretenses for the purpose of evading U.S. immigration law.
  • Consequences of Fraud

    Aside from being barred from the country, there are other substantial consequences for this type of crime. Anyone who, while under oath, makes false statements or describes as true the false statements of an application, affidavit, or other immigration document may be found guilty of perjury. This carries a sentence of up to 5 years and fines.

    General document and benefit fraud, including marriage fraud, is a felony offense in the U.S. carrying a maximum prison sentence of five years on the first offense and stiff fines of up to $250,000.

    It is important to note that everyone, including U.S. citizens, can be convicted under 18 USC 1546 for conspiring with, or aiding and abetting an alien perpetrate the offense.

    Extreme Hardship and Fraud Forgiveness

    There have been many instances where a green card is sought via legitimate means but access to legal status is denied due to prior document fraud or conviction under 18 USC 1546. For a small minority, there are circumstances where a waiver (or forgiveness) is available. In order to be eligible for fraud forgiveness, the alien must meet certain requirements. First, the alien must have a qualifying relative (spouse or parent) who is a U.S. Citizen or green card holder. Moreover, the alien must prove that their spouse or parent would face extreme hardship if the visa or green card was denied.

    Preventing Fraud

    New Jersey immigration lawyer

    If you are planning to seek a legal status and submit an application with USCIS, you must do so lawfully. There are many ways to protect yourself from document fraud. Do not sign blank applications, petitions, or other documents. If you cannot understand the text, terms, or conditions of any document, do not sign it. Never sign anything that contains false statements or erroneous information. Finally, be sure to get a receipt whenever you make payments to a representative.

    Hire an Immigration Lawyer

    At the Law Offices of Simone Bertollini, I have assisted clients charged in Federal Court with Visa misuse and other clients appealing a denial of family-based immigrant petitions based on marriage fraud. As a New Jersey Immigration Attorney, I can advise you on the best course of action to take to protect your rights. I am admitted to the New Jersey as well as the New York Bar, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the Southern District of New York, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuit.

    For immediate legal assistance on your case, please contact us or fill out a case evaluation form.

    Internet Marketing Experts The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.