One area that people often overlook in assessing the viability of their immigration cases is the impact of any previous applications. Just because their present situation may make them eligible for adjustment of status or consular processing does not necessarily mean their past immigration history is not relevant. This is obviously true when speaking of immigration court or encounters at the border, but equally true when considering any past applications or petitions filed with the government, either here domestically or abroad. Even something as simple as a tourist visa application could have a significant impact on a green card or immigrant visa application. If when applying for the tourist visa, the applicant makes any misrepresentations, those false statements could later resurface to potentially jeopardize a future permanent residence application. This occurs frequently, for example, when an applicant misrepresents his/her marital status on a tourist visa. It is common for single people to think that if they indicate they are “married,” they might have a better chance of securing a visa to the United States because an officer is more likely to believe that he/she will return. The problem is that by putting forth this representation, immigration may deem such conduct fraudulent. If the inaccuracy is discovered at the consulate, the person will in all likelihood be denied the visa. Even if not, and the person receives the visa, the problem does not necessarily go away. Any subsequent application that the person makes may potentially cause the government to look into that previous application. If the misrepresentation is later discovered, it can be used as a basis to block an otherwise legitimate application, such as a marriage based adjustment. Although the law does provide for waivers of fraud or misrepresentation, approval is discretionary, and granted only upon a showing of extreme hardship to a qualifying relative. The point is that the impact of previous applications with the Department of State or USCIS should not underestimated. Any inaccuracies, wrong information, or the omission of important facts/data need to be evaluated when considering the complexity of a case.
The foregoing is general information or opinion only. It is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice nor it create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney.