Misrepresentation and Fraud Waivers
What is a misrepresentation or fraud waiver?
Simply put, if someone has been found to have made a misrepresentation or to have committed fraud in connection with an application for a visa, green card or other immigration benefit, they may be "inadmissible" which means that they can't receive an immigrant visa or obtain a green card through the adjustment of status process. You can learn more about this type of inadmissibility in the below section on the definition of "misrepresentation" and "fraud."
A misrepresentation or fraud waiver basically forgives this type of inadmissibility and allows you to move forward with the immigration process.
The penalty for misrepresentation or fraud is severe - you will be permanently inadmissible to the United States. This is true even if you have strong family ties to the United States or are married to a United States citizen. You should always check with an immigration lawyer to find out if a past misrepresentation or fraud will be an issue in your immigration case.
Definitions of Misrepresentation and Fraud
Both of these terms have very specific meanings in immigration law and it is not always easy to determine what counts as a misrepresentation or fraud under immigration law.
Fraud consists of a false representation of a material fact made with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to deceive the other party. The representation must be believed and acted upon by the party deceived to his disadvantage.
To be inadmissible for a past misrepresentation, a person must have sought to procure a visa, green card or other immigration benefit by willfully misrepresenting a material fact. In order to be inadmissible on this basis, there must be both (1) a "willful misrepresentation", and (2) "of a material fact." Both of these terms involve complex legal issues that should be discussed with an immigration lawyer. Not every statement that is called a "misrepresentation" by an immigration officer will satisfy the legal requirements of a "willful misrepresentation" and "material fact."
If you have been told that you are inadmissible due to misrepresentation or fraud, you should check with an immigration lawyer to see if you can challenge the finding of misrepresentation or fraud. Although it can be difficult to challenge these findings by an immigration officer, because these findings make you permanently inadmisssible it is often best to challenge these findings if there is a legal basis for doing so.
In some cases, you can challenge a finding of inadmissibility by showing that:
- There was no fraud or misrepresentation
- That any fraud was not intentional
- That any misrepresentation was not willful
- That any fraud or misrepresentation was not material
Making these challenges is a complex area of immigration law and it is best to work with an immigration lawyer if you plan to challenge a finding of inadmissibility based on fraud or willful misrepresentation.
Misrepresentation or Fraud Waiver Requirements
You may be able to overcome a permanent inadmissibility due to a misrepresentation or fraud if you receive a misrepresentation waiver.
To qualify for this type of waiver, you must show “extreme hardship” to a United States citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent. It can be very difficult to prove that you meet the extreme hardship standard. It isn’t enough to show that it would be financially difficult or emotionally upsetting if you are separated from your family. You have to show that the hardship to your qualifying relative would be extreme compared to the hardship normally encountered in a family separation.
Most people will benefit from the assistance of an immigration lawyer in preparing their waiver application.
Misrepresentation Waiver Costs
The costs involved in getting a misrepresentation waiver can be viewed in three groups: the required government filing fees, other required costs and attorney fees.
The required government filing fees are:
- $930 for the Form I-601 filing fee
The government filing fee must be submitted with the application. The fee can be paid by check or money order. You may also be able to pay the fee by credit card.
The other required costs that you should expect as part of the waiver process are:
- Translation costs – varies by the translator and type of documents being translated into English
- Supporting document costs – varies by what documents need to be obtained
Depending on whether you work with an immigration lawyer, you may also have attorney fees as part of the total costs of the process.
Not everyone who applies for an immigration waiver will need a lawyer to assist them with the process. You can learn more about whether you need a lawyer by reading the information on this website and by learning more about the role of an immigration lawyer in the immigration waiver process. If you decide to hire an immigration lawyer to assist you, the legal fees will vary by law firm and the complexity of the case.
How We Can Help With Your Misrepresentation Waiver Application
You are not required to work with an immigration lawyer, but working with one can be very helpful and can help minimize the stress involved in the misrepresentation waiver application process.
Our immigration lawyer misrepresentation waiver services include the following:
- Explain the waiver process to you to help you decide if it is the best process for you
- Review your immigration history to make sure that you qualify for a misrepresentation waiver
- Research and resolve any special issues with your case to minimize the risk that your application will be denied
- Prepare all forms necessary for your application, including your I-601 form
- Pepare any legal letters or memos needed for your case
- Identify the supporting documents needed for your application
- Help identify your strongest hardship factors for your waiver application
- Assist with preparing any affidavits or declarations needed for your case, including the hardship letters
- Prepare and submit responses to any standard Requests for Evidence received from USCIS