7. IMMIGRATED AS UNMARRIED
SON OR DAUGHTER - BUT REALLY MARRIED
This is a problem because of different family classifications in our immigration system:
• Permanent Resident parents (Green Card holders) may file petitions only for unmarried sons or daughters (in the F2B category);
• American citizen parents may file petitions for either unmarried sons or daughters (in the F1 category) or for married sons or daughters (in the F3 category);
• The waiting times for married sons and daughters is always longer than for unmarried sons or daughters;
• Some unmarried sons and daughters with pending petitions by their parents, become married and have no way of reversing this change in their marital status;
These distinctions and preferences induce some people to hide their true marital status when getting their Green Cards. This is called "visa fraud". The legal result is that the Green Card they are holding in their hands is actually not valid.
When the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) finds out about such fraud, they will issue a Notice To Appear (NTA) (known as deportation hearing) in Immigration Court for the purpose of deporting the violator. (To read more about Immigration Court - click here).
This situation is not unusual. The Immigration law provides a special waiver ("pardon") for this kind of visa fraud. To benefit from such a waiver you should be careful not to get entangled in more lies on top of the original, first lie. The smart thing is to consult with an experienced Immigration lawyer as soon as possible after you get your Green Card, seeking advice how to protect your future in the U.S.
When you get the Notice To Appear, a planning session with an experienced Immigration lawyer before the first appearance in Immigration Court may help you save your Green Card.