Entering the U.S. Under a Different Name

By Reuben S. Seguritan



If an alien enters the United States by using someone else’s name, this is considered as fraud or willful misrepresentation of a material fact and is a ground of inadmissibility. This act will prevent the alien from obtaining lawful permanent residence or a green card.


However, the alien may apply for a waiver to forgive this fraud of using a different name. To be eligible for this waiver, the alien must have a qualifying relative. The law considers only US citizens and lawful permanent resident spouses or parents to be qualifying relatives. Children are not qualifying relatives for purposes of this waiver.


The alien must demonstrate extreme hardship to the qualifying relative in case of a finding of inadmissibility. Several factors are relevant in determining extreme hardship. These are: the qualifying relative’s family ties in the United States; political and economic conditions in the country of origin of the alien; the financial impact of departure from the US by the qualifying relatives; and health conditions of the qualifying relatives and; the unavailability of suitable medical care for the qualifying relatives in the country of the alien.


Not only must these eligibility requirements be met, but the alien must also show that his case warrants a grant of waiver in the exercise of discretion by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The negative factors must be balanced with the equities or the social and humane considerations in one’s case.


Obtaining a waiver is not easy. The waiver application must be detailed and complete and sufficiently show that the qualifying relative would suffer extreme hardship if the alien is not allowed to remain the United States.


In a case that our firm handled, we were able to help a client obtain his green card despite the misrepresentation he committed as he entered the US with an assumed name more than thirty years ago.


Our client left the Philippines in the 1980s to escape poverty and political strife, entered the US using a passport and B-2 visa with a different name, and remained past his authorized period of stay.


Two years later, he met a fellow recent immigrant who was working as a nurse at a New York hospital and would later get her green card and then her US citizenship. They fell in love, had children, and lived together as husband and wife ever since.


For more than three decades, our client kept secret his immigration status from other people until he neared retirement age. Unless he becomes a lawful permanent resident, all his hard work and perseverance since he arrived in the US would be for naught. He had to come to terms with his past and decide whether to finally apply for a green card. Faced with the possibility of being denied a green card if found ineligible for a waiver and eventually deported, he sought our firm’s assistance.


We showed the immigration authorities that his US citizen wife would suffer extreme hardship whether she remains in the United States by herself or is forced to relocate to the Philippines to be with our client.


We submitted proof of her health conditions, including diabetes and hypertension, for which she was receiving top-notch medical care in the US, and compared that with the high cost of medicines and treatment in the Philippines. We pointed out that the wife has many family ties in the US, including her US citizen children, while she no longer has family in the Philippines.


We also argued that relocation would cause financial hardship because she would lose her job at the hospital in the US but most likely not get hired in the Philippines because of her age and the unfavorable labor market conditions for nurses there.


Our waiver packet included supporting affidavits and documentation to evidence the wife’s extreme hardship as well as our client’s good moral character.


Fortunately, we were able to convince the USCIS that the US citizen wife would face extreme hardship if the waiver is denied and that our client was deserving of a favorable exercise of discretion. The waiver application was approved and our client was given a green card.