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Claiming US Citizenship

August 20, 2013

Claiming Us Citizenship: Consequences

Author: New York Deportation Attorney Alena Shautsova

Claiming US citizenship is one of the Immigration law offences which will make a non -citizen permanently inadmissible and on top of that may also cause criminal charges be filed against the person.

Immigration law waivers may waive a variety of immigration law violations, including waiving consequences of certain criminal offences. However, there is a provision in Immigration and Nationality Act, that makes a claim of US citizenship to be a permanent and inexcusable immigration law offense which caused inadmissibility and/or deportation.

Now, there are a few very limited exceptions. First of all, it is important in what form the claim of US citizenship was presented. Did the person state he/she is a citizen? Did he/she apply for a US passport?

If the person’s parents were US citizen, and the person started permanently residing in the US before the age of 16, and the person reasonably believed at the time of the claim that he/she was a US citizen. Additionally, if the claim was made before the IIRAIRA (1996) a waiver may still be used.

Application for a US passport not only constitutes a claim of a citizenship, but also is a criminal offense of moral turpitude. It makes the person deportable and inadmissible.

How about those who used false US passports to enter the country? There is a provision that a person who enters the US using false documents, generally considered to be inspected and admitted, although they still have to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility based on fraud/misrepresentation.

However, there is no inspection and admission if the person used a false US passport. See Matter of Areguillin, 17 I&N Dec. 308, 309 n.3 (BIA 1980), where we stated that an alien who gains admission to the United States upon a knowing false claim to citizenship cannot be deemed to have been “inspected and admitted.”

Further, non-citizen who unlawfully vote, expose themselves to the danger of being permanently inadmissible. Only a US citizen may participate in elections of the President, and members of Congress.

If you have questions regarding unlawful claims of US citizenship, call Deportation attorney Alena Shautsova 917-885-2261 or email at

Category: Deportation