Ask the Consul General {US Embassy – Barbados & Eastern Caribbean Advice Series #3}

  • I have a visa 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?

No. Please do not attempt to purchase a fraudulent document of any kind to present during your interview. While the U.S. 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 U.S. 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.

  • What are the consequences of committing fraud to obtain a visa?

US Embassy prepares this series as a service to travellers in the region from the USA

US Embassy prepares this series as a service to travellers in the region from the USA

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 U.S. citizen or saying that you work for a company that does not exist. Committing fraud is a very serious offense with grave consequences. Presenting false or misleading information during the interview can cast doubt on the validity of your entire application and result in a permanent refusal. 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.

For the person committing fraud, the consequences are extremely serious. Visa interviews are conducted under oath. 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 willfully 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 U.S. citizens. Even U.S. citizens who obtained their immigrant visas through fraud may lose their U.S. citizenship and be deported.

The Consular Section’s Fraud Prevention Unit aggressively pursues fraud, and those willfully committing fraud are likely to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

  • What can I do to avoid fraud or the appearance of fraud?

Educate yourself about the visa categories and requirements for each at (non-immigrant visas) and (for immigrant visas). If you know that you are not qualified for a visa, do not apply. It is possible that you could qualify in the future. A poor attempt at fraud now could destroy any legitimate chance you have of ever traveling to the United States in the future.

  • I was arrested when I was very young. Should I mention this during my visa interview?

If you have had problems with the law in the anywhere in the world, in United States or with U.S. immigration authorities in the past, chances are that the U.S. 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.

  • My friend is filling out my visa application for me. Will that present any problems for me?

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. If you pay someone else to get documents for you, the documents you receive may be false and cause you to permanently become ineligible for a U.S. visa.

Prototype passport card

Prototype passport card

For a non-immigrant visa, even if someone helps you to fill out the online DS-160 application, the applicant is required to “Sign and Submit” their application. This electronic signature certifies that your answers are true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief. The submission of an application containing any false or misleading statements may result in the permanent refusal of a visa or the denial of entry into the United States.

  • How do I report information about fraud to the Embassy?

If you have a tip concerning fraud that you wish to share with us, you may contact the Fraud Prevention Unit by e-mailing us at or calling us at (246) 227-4000 (Monday-Friday 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.) or sending a fax to (246) 431-0179. Please provide the full name and date of birth of the person you are referring to whenever possible. By assisting to reduce fraud, you are helping to make visa processing easier and more efficient for all applicants.

  • Any further questions about this, or other Consular and travel topics can be found at our website.
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