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Unintentional misrepresentation during the immigration process

Whether the immigration process is family-based or employment-based, individuals face complex paperwork and a challenging schedule. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for errors to slip through the cracks and ultimately lead to strict penalties for fraud or misrepresentation. Even an innocent misrepresentation on immigration paperwork, personal history or work experiences can derail the entire process often leading to devastating consequences.

Depending on numerous factors, misrepresentation can ultimately lead to different penalties, including:

  • Denial of entry
  • Application refusal
  • Loss of status
  • Revocation of citizenship
  • Legal prosecution

Throughout the process, an individual must accurately answer questions and provide the requested information that correctly represents who they are and the details of their various histories – personal, educational and occupational. Hiding information or misrepresenting facts on any paperwork is strictly forbidden.

Is “failure to disclose” considered a misrepresentation?

Depending on the type of immigration and various other factors, the process itself could last months or years before it is finalized. During this time, it is not uncommon for circumstances to change. When this happens, however, it falls to the applicant to ensure their life is correctly represented across all immigration documentation. From a change in employment status to a physical move, this paperwork must be revised accordingly. Failure to disclose significant life events can lead to disaster in the process.

Unintentional or innocent misrepresentations can arise from several factors, including:

  • Applicant provides incorrect or insufficient data
  • Applicant experiences significant life changes that are not reflected in the documentation
  • Family members or former supervisors provide information (family history, letters of employment, etc.) that is incorrect
  • Professional organizations such as school officials, law enforcement or physicians provide information that is incorrect

While the applicant is ultimately responsible to correct any indirect or unintentional misrepresentation, it might be wise to work with an experienced immigration lawyer. A legal professional can provide guidance, advice and representation through all stages of the process.