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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawAmerican Immigration and Visas: The Fraud Referral Sheet for I-130s

American Immigration and Visas: The Fraud Referral Sheet for I-130s

Transcript of the above video:

In this video today, we are going to be discussing what’s called the “Fraud Referral Sheet”. Now this is an internal document that is used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, when basically they are reviewing cases they use this as a sort of a work sheet to identity possible red flags which may signal some sort of fraud or misrepresentation could be occurring within a given case.  So just to read through this. General behavioral fraud indicators guide. So this is sort of, in a physical sense, in terms of like being interviewed, some things that are going to set off red flags with respect to an interviewing officer. “Extreme nervousness, over interaction, lack of knowledge about basic questions, late for interview, answers prompted by attorney or other,  lack of interest interaction, eye contact, evasive or general answers, answers interrupted by attorney or other, attorney attempted to distract/mislead”. I find it interesting that over interaction is one general indicator of possible fraud while lack of interest and interaction is also an indicator. So what is this telling us? What it’s telling us is, “Look, these officers need to be able to tick a box or provide a quick reference to what they perceives as a possible red flag denoting possible fraud.”  So in one instance, you may have somebody that sits there and stands completely mute, and they’ll say, “Look, we think something’s a little fishy because they won’t say a word and then you have got another person who goes on like a chatterbox and again, it seems fishy”, I guess. So while on one hand, when reading this, just the plain text, it may not seem to make any sense, or be a little bit, I don’t know, almost paradoxical, but when you get into a real world setting, you understand that these are generally are used for practical purposes; they need to be able to just quickly tick a box and move on.

Other general fraud indicators - documents issued immediately before interview, documents issued immediately after interview, over submissions, pro-active/explicit/staged photographs, suspect tax filing, financial transactions, multiple applications/petitions by single applicant petitioner, common preparer known or suspected to be under investigation, preparer and notary are the same thing/ the same person, a tip letter, a tip off can obviously lead them to suspect something, suspect documents, photographic evidence suggests impostor, biometric discrepancies, denied for abandonment or withdraw after  request for evidence issued, suspicious filing history of beneficiary or applicant. An interesting one to me is the one involving suspect tax filings, financial transactions and proactive explicit stage photographs. A lot of clients ask me about photographic evidence, especially within the context of a K-1 fiancée visa and while they are good, going too far overboard to sort of stage photographs is not a good idea for exactly this reason here. Another thing that I see a lot happen especially with parties where the petitioner will live abroad, will have been living abroad for a significant period of time and won’t have been earning any income or earn minimal income and they haven’t filed their taxes, and we usually end up having to do a back filing of their taxes anyway or in some cases we do. In those cases it’s interesting because we do get a quick delay. We get a delay I think because the officers in question want to just do a further review into the overall case, again because the documents were issued as noted, and issued immediately before the interview.  You’ll see the filing date on people’s tax returns; they’ll be like 3 days before the visa interview. Well, it wasn’t done out of any kind of nefarious intention, however, for practical purposes, Yeah! The tax filing just happened to occur pretty quickly before the visa interview. In those cases I sometimes see where the administrative processing may kick in and the officer just wants to have, I think, they are just looking to have an extra quick look over the entire case file to make sure there isn’t anything overly suspect because one of these red flags was triggered. Now, specific to I-130s, and I-130s are the forms that pertain to US marriage visas and they are similar to the forms used for fiancée visas. So in family based petitions, fraud indicators guide, again from this fraud referral sheet – short time between entry and marriage, that’s for cases involving where somebody comes into the United States on like a tourist visa and really quickly thereafter gets married to their American spouse and files for immigrant visa benefit. There’s another video on this channel which specifically discusses the “30, 60, 90 rule”, and the new rule that’s been put in to take its place, the “90 day rule”. That will kind of more specifically talk to that issue. 

Unusual marriage history, children born during marriage to other parent, unusual number of children and large discrepancy in age, unusual dates on submitted documents, divorce -new marriage dates close, you see that can happen. Honestly that happens more often in fiancée visa cases where literally they’ll be waiting around for the final decree to divorce which in certain states can take a little while depending on the case load of the various courts or just the laws of the various states, we will often see a divorce which occurs shortly before the filing of a fiancée visa; although it can happen with respect to marriage visa cases as well. In those cases, I usually provide some form of a cover letter explaining the situation. Unusual large age discrepancy between spouses when found in conjunction with other indicators so that in and of itself is not to be red flag, per se, in and of itself but it should be looked at in conjunction with other things. Age discrepancy is something people contact me about rather frequently. It is something that sometimes needs to be addressed in some of these cases especially out here in Thailand where, yes, we do see, you know, a 10 year age difference between spouses is not that uncommon. However, I would argue a 10 year age difference between a 48 year old and a 38 year old as far as maturity levels and things like that, it’s not that big of a difference in my opinion and quite frankly I think that most officers adjudicating these matters really do take the time to really ascertain what’s going on in a case. They don’t just look at an age difference and dismiss things out of hand just for that alone. Unusual associations between family members – this can happen rather frequently, especially in cases involving like lots of step children and things like this where some are trying to go to the US and some are not; that can sometimes raise some red flags. Unusual cultural differences. Low employment, financial status of the petitioner - always an issue. The petitioner’s ability to support you lies in the affidavit of support which is discussed in another video on this channel, is always a major issue. Preparer, notary and minister are the same person – so the person who married the people and filed their immigration stuff and notarized it all are the same person – yes that is going to raise a few red flags. I am not authorized to marry people, but I guess I could become a minister and start doing that in certain circumstances.   I think that’s relatively rare but nonetheless, I think that that would raise some red flags. Same employer or petitioner or beneficiary – I can see some circumstances where that would raise some red flags and previous marriages to foreign nationals. 

I don’t think previous marriages to foreign nationals per se brings things up but if someone has 6 fiancée visa applications and they never actually married an individual, that 7th fiancée visa application, I think is going to be more heavily scrutinized. So just to round this up, what to take away from this video is, there are indicators that are stipulatd by Department of Homeland Security and USCIS with respect to red flags as to possible fraud in a given case; it’s going to vary case by case. In many cases these issues can be addressed; in some cases the whole issue can be forestalled. But that being said, it is circumstantially dependent and it’s not a bad idea to contact a qualified legal representative to assist in these matters.