Naturalization and False Claims to Citizenship
Claiming to be a United States Citizen can turn into a devastating situation should a foreign national do so in order to obtain a state or federal benefit. A noncitizen can quickly be put into removal proceedings for falsely claiming to be a US Citizen. The most common situations where this occurs are:
- Registering to vote
- Selecting “US Citizen” on an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form
- Claiming to be US Citizen on student loan application
- Attempting to obtain US Passport
- Claiming to be US Citizen for any other benefit that US Citizenship is required
Should a noncitizen be deported on this basis, they are not allowed to return to the United States. Once put into removal proceedings, but before deportation occurs, there are some exceptions. If you falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen but meet the following criteria, you may be exempted from removal proceedings:
- You are a child whose parents were both U.S. citizens
- You were under the age of 18 when you falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen
- You were a lawful permanent resident before the age of 16
- You reasonably believed that you were a U.S. citizen when you made the claim
Another possible exception is that you made the false claim before 1996, when this rule became effective. Otherwise, you may apply for a waiver based on inadmissibility for fraud or willful misrepresentation. If you believe that you falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen or are already in removal proceedings for doing so, then you should seriously consider contacting an attorney. Once you are deported, you are unable to reenter the United States.
Cynthia Waisman, an attorney, focuses her practice in the area of Immigration Law. For more information, go to our website http://www.immigrationattorneytampa.net or call Tampa (813)279-6180 or Clearwater (727)712-2299.