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Immigration Corner | Can I apply for a visa if I was caught lying before?

Published:Tuesday | June 4, 2019 | 12:09 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington:

Someone lied 10 years ago to the United States Embassy, not knowing that they had the truth at hand that he was arrested in the USA for a misdemeanor criminal charge. He was turned down at that time of his visa application and has since expunged the record of the crime. He has been working at a stable company, established himself and been maintaining a good record.

Can he now try again to apply for a visiting visa at the US Embassy?


Dear LD,

All non-immigrant visa applicants must acknowledge that not everyone is entitled to an American visa to visit the United States. A US visa is a privilege, not a right; and it is also discretionary.

Unfortunately, your friend is inadmissible to the United States on two counts. Lying in an attempt to receive an immigration benefit (in this case a visa), is immigration fraud and is a permanent bar to entering the United States – either as in immigrant or temporarily as a non-immigrant. Time does not cure this bar, and the only way to be allowed into the United States is if the person is granted a waiver.

The second count of inadmissibility would be the misdemeanor conviction. Although you

have not indicated what the charge was, it was enough that your friend thought he should lie about its existence to the consular officer in his attempt to secure a visitor’s visa. Having the charge expunged does not erase it from consideration by the consular office in the discretion to grant a visa.

Your friend has pretty much made it so that he could not just walk into the US Embassy and apply for a visa without an application for a waiver. This waiver would present factual and legal argument to the US Department of State as to why he should be allowed to visit the United States notwithstanding his two issues of fraud and a criminal conviction. Additionally, since his arrest was in the United States, his previous entry into the United States has to be examined. He should consult with a US immigration lawyer and explain his entire life story, in particular the instances raised in your correspondence.

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