Ask the Consul – Fraud and Consequences

An image of a visa.

These days, more and more Dominicans are visiting the United States. Everyone knows someone who has gotten a visa and everyone has heard stories about what you need to do to get one.

To apply for a visa you complete a written application and you attend a personal interview. With both steps people will offer you advice about what to write and say. But the answer is simple. Tell the truth.

Whether the person advising you is a friend or a lawyer charging money for their assistance, telling a consular officer anything other than the truth is bad advice. Misrepresenting the truth to a consular officer can have serious consequences.

At a minimum, providing false information on the application or giving false statements or documents to the consular officer will cause the officer to refuse the visa. The details will remain part of your permanent record and will be seen by other officers if you apply again in the future. Your reputation and credibility will be damaged. Additionally, providing false information may result in a life-long ban against you.

It is also important to know that helping someone else to give false statements to a consular officer can have equally serious consequences.  Providing someone else with false employment documents or making false statements about them even over the phone is considered to be human smuggling. These smugglers will have their visas revoked and will receive a permanent ban.

We see this daily. In a recent interview, a man claimed to be an engineer with a reputable company. He had documents from someone claiming to be his boss but who was really just a friend trying to help. With a short investigation, officers learned the truth. The applicant was refused and permanently banned. The friend, who was only trying to help, had his visa revoked and was banned as a human smuggler. On top of that, his own boss found out what he had done and fired him.

Don’t make that mistake. Your application and interview are your responsibility. If you tell the truth but do not get the visa you wanted, you can always apply again when your situation has changed. But if you provide false information hoping for a visa today you may instead face a lifetime of consequences.