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    November 16

  • 12:09 AM

ASK THE CONSUL: The visa process

rhondathompson, rhondathompson@nationnews.com

Added 19 August 2010

Q: I have a interview coming up soon for my immigrant visa and I am unable to get an updated birth certificate in time. I heard that there are persons who can get me the document quickly. Should I choose to obtain one using this faster method?A: No. Please do not attempt to purchase a fraudulent document of any kind to present during your interview. While the US Embassy requires applicants to come prepared for the interview, presenting a document that was fraudulently obtained or that contains information that is not correct can result in your being found permanently ineligible for a US visa and prevent you from ever going to the United States. Instead, please explain your circumstances during the interview and the interviewing consular officer will discuss any missing documents that you may still need to acquire in order to successfully complete your immigrant or non-immigrant visa processing.You will then be given an opportunity to legally obtain the missing documents you need.Q: What are the consequences of committing fraud to obtain a visa?A: Sometimes visa applicants commit fraud in an effort to obtain a non-immigrant visa or an immigrant visa.Misrepresentations can range from overstating one’s income to falsifying employment or family relationships, such as pretending to be the spouse of a US citizen or saying that you work for a company that does not exist. The Consular Section sees many otherwise qualified applicants who wrongly believe that making false statements or presenting fraudulent documents is the only way to obtain a visa.If you commit fraud, you may be found permanently ineligible for a visa to enter the United States. In addition, a person found guilty of knowingly and wilfully falsifying or concealing a material fact or using a false document may be fined a considerable fee and/or sentenced to jail time. Permanent residents (those with green cards) who have engaged in fraud may be deported or lose their opportunity to become US citizens.  Even US citizens who obtained their immigrant visas through fraud may lose their US citizenship and be deported. Q: What can I do to avoid fraud or the appearance of fraud? A: Educate yourself about the visa categories and requirements for each at www.travel.state.gov/visa/tempvisitors.html (non-immigrant visas) and www.travel.state.gov/visa/immigrantstypes.html (for immigrant visas). Q: I was arrested when I was very young. Should I mention this during my visa interview?A: If you have had problems with the law anywhere in the world, in the United States or with US immigration authorities in the past, chances are that the US Embassy either already knows about it, or will discover it before you are interviewed for your visa. Be honest during your interview and tell the consular officer about any brush with the law.In many cases a waiver may be available for applicants who have made mistakes in the past, so be sure to answer questions on any legal problems completely and truthfully. Q: My friend is filling out my visa application for me. Will that present any problems for me?A: It is important to remember that you are responsible for what information you give to the consular officer during your interview.  Your signature on the application indicates that you have read everything in the application and that any verbal statements or written documents presented are true and correct. If you are applying for an immigrant visa, it is recommended that you obtain documents like marriage and birth certificates personally. Review the information in those documents to make sure it is correct before appearing for your visa interview.If another family member, friend, or legal representative has acquired the documents on your behalf, double check them to be sure that they are true. • Any further questions about this, or other Consular and travel topics can be found at US Embassy Bridgetown’s website at http://barbados.usembassy.gov.

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