Thu | Aug 16, 2018

Immigration Corner | I told a lie

Published:Tuesday | November 29, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I live in Jamaica and I got married to a United States (US) citizen who is in the army. My husband is going to file for me to live with him in America. However, in the past I told a lie about not having anyone in the US, on my non-immigrant visa application with the US embassy in Kingston. I was denied the visa. Can you please tell me how this will affect my immigrant visa petition? I really need your help.

- J.M.

Dear J.M.,

If you gave false information on a non-immigrant visa application in the hopes of securing a visa, you have committed immigration fraud. This would make you permanently ineligible for any type of US visa - unless you were granted a waiver.

People believe that when applying for a non-immigrant visa they should complete the application form by answering the questions in a manner that would benefit them and that, in so doing, they will be granted the visa. Folklore and unscrupulous 'visa fixers' lead people to believe that they should tell the embassy what they want to hear in order for the applicant to be successful. Some persons are granted the visa with the lies they have told, but often, those lies come back to haunt them in one form or another. It is a common belief that if you admit to having a close relative in America that you will be denied a non-immigrant visa. This may be so, but when completing any visa application, it is important to always tell the truth - even if that means that you will be denied the visa. Circumstances change and you may be unqualified for a visa today and a couple years later, you are found to be qualified and granted a visa.

In your situation, you should be truthful in providing information in your husband's petition and if you are denied the green card, your US citizen husband would have to apply for a hardship waiver. Your husband would have to demonstrate that he is experiencing extreme hardship that would only go away if you came to live with him in America and that he could not live with you in Jamaica.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida.