If you do not have valid immigration status, it may be tempting to say you do. For example, it may seem harmless to check the U.S. citizen box on an I-9 form to secure employment to support yourself and your family members. Doing so, though, is a terrible idea.
U.S. immigration officials do not look kindly on those who make a false claim to U.S. citizenship. Therefore, if it is possible you may have made a false claim in the past, it is advisable to explore all your legal options as soon as possible.
What is a false claim to U.S. citizenship?
According to the USCIS policy manual, a false claim to U.S. citizenship is simply saying you are a citizen when you are not. If you make a false claim to obtain any benefit under federal or state law, you may be in trouble.
Here are some examples of false claims to U.S. citizenship that are often problematic:
- Registering to vote in most U.S. elections
- Casting a ballot in most U.S. elections
- Claiming to be a U.S. citizen on immigration forms
- Declaring you are a U.S. citizen to obtain public benefits
- Saying you are a U.S. citizen to land a job
What happens if you make a false claim to U.S. citizenship?
Making a false claim to U.S. citizenship typically renders you both removable and inadmissible. This means the government can kick you out of the country. Immigration officials can also prevent you from returning.
Likewise, depending on how you make your false claim, you may be vulnerable to criminal charges. After serving your sentence, immigration authorities are likely to deport you.
Can you apply for a waiver?
With many immigration-related infractions, such as unlawful presence, an inadmissibility waiver is available. These waivers permit immigration officials to overlook your ground of inadmissibility. Regrettably, there is no waiver for making a false claim to U.S. citizenship.