False Claims to U.S. Citizenship: Hidden Pitfalls & Potential Defenses

For the most part, U.S. immigration laws are complex and confusing. Some are little known or frequently overlooked. Some carry serious consequences that may result in a permanent bar to immigrating to the U.S. One provision that is especially problematic is section 212(a)(6)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This dictates that any foreign national who falsely claims to be a U.S. citizen for any purpose or benefit under the INA or any federal or state law, including to obtain a job or vote in the U.S., is permanently inadmissible to the U.S. Such a false claim also makes the person removable from the U.S. The law covers all false U.S. citizenship (USC) claims made on or after September 30, 1996, and does not provide any waiver to overcome the bar.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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