CLAIMING US CITIZENSHIP ON I9 FORM WILL CAUSE PERMANENT INADMISSIBILITY
Author: New York Immigration attorney Alena Shautsova
According to the laws of the US, when an employer is hiring an employee, the employee must fill out I-9 form: this form helps an employer to determine if the potential employee has a proper employment authorization and may accept employment in the US. The form consists of simple questions and check boxes and one of those check boxes asks the filler to answer if he/she is a US citizen or US national. Of course, answering YES or checking off this box will mean that the person who is filling out the form has the proper documentation to work in the US.
Many immigrants without employment authorization are tempted to check off that little square “Citizen or National of the US.” However, many of them ignore the drastic consequences.
This happened in the case of Nyabwari. She entered the US on a visa, overstayed it, and later married a US citizen. She though she would have no problem receiving her green card. Indeed, many with the same situations can got citizenship.
However, the government learned that at some point in time, while in the US, Mrs. Nyabwari was working illegally, and to make the situation worse, the government discovered that Mrs. Nyabwari submitted form I-9 to her employer stating she was a US citizen or US national.
Mrs. Nyabwari’s explanation that she did not understand who the national was, did not help her. Both, Immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals said that checking off that one box caused Mrs. Nyabwari to be PERMANENTLY inadmissible into the US, as this was a violation of the US laws for which there is no waiver.
The end of Mrs. Nyabwari’s immigration saga is very sad: she will likely to have to leave the country permanently or to stay in the US illegally forever. This serves as a great lesson: if you in doubt, you must consult an attorney to avoid “deporting” yourself before your time.