From family-based immigrant visa petitions to asylum, U.S. law offers a variety of ways for individuals to immigrate to the country. If you have a nonimmigrant visa, legal permanent residence or no status at all, you must be careful not to claim to be a citizen of the U.S.
A false claim to U.S. citizenship is often catastrophic for intending immigrants. After all, U.S. immigration law considers those who have untruthfully claimed to be citizens to be both inadmissible and deportable. This means you may not be able to secure legal immigration status in the U.S. or may have to leave the country forever.
What is a false claim to U.S. citizenship?
Federal law prevents individuals from falsely claiming to be U.S. citizens for the purposes of receiving immigration benefits or any benefit under federal or state law. Registering to vote, identifying as a citizen to obtain a job, applying for a U.S. passport or claiming to be a citizen when filing a family-based immigrant visa petition may be problematic. Other false claims to U.S. citizenship may also cause problems, unfortunately.
Is a waiver available?
You may have heard many grounds of inadmissibility are waivable. Regrettably, a false claim to U.S. citizenship is not typically one of these. Therefore, you probably cannot pursue a waiver for a false claim you have made in the past.
Some false claims to U.S. citizenship are criminal offenses that may result in both jail time and removal from the country. Consequently, if you believe you may have made a false claim to U.S. citizenship, it is critical for you to understand both your exposure and your options before filing any immigration paperwork.