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U.S. changes policy on when visa holders will be presumed to have lied

Individuals from certain countries are only allowed entry into the U.S. if they have been granted a visa. When applying for a visa, such individuals will generally give their plans for what they will be doing when they are in America to U.S. officials.

Sometimes, after entering the U.S., things happen to a visa holder that make them want to change their plans for their activities in America. When considering making such a change, it is important for a person to understand what impacts such a change could have on their overall immigration situation. In some instances, such a change might trigger a government presumption that a person lied when initially laying out their plans to officials.

Recently, the U.S. Department of State made a policy change in what sorts of situations would automatically trigger such a presumption when it comes to individuals who require a visa to come to America. Previously, the policy was that such a visa holder would be presumed to have lied if they changed their plans within one month of coming to the U.S. to something they didn’t mention to officials. Under the new policy, this window of presumption has been expanded to covering the first three months following a person entering the United States.

Being presumed to have lied about one’s plans for one’s time in the U.S. when initially seeking out a visa can have major impacts on a visa holder. It can expose them to being deported. It also could also be a bar to them pursuing U.S. visas, visa renewals or changes of status in the future.

What implications do you think the policy change will end up having?

Talking to a skilled immigration lawyer can be important for visa holders who are considering changing their plans for what they will be doing in the United States. Such attorneys can provide explanations of the potential ramifications of such a change. They can also provide visa holders with guidance on what options might be available for pursuing changes they desire to make to their plans for their time in the U.S. in a way that wouldn’t harm their immigration situation.

Source: The New York Times, “State Department Tightens Rules for Visas to U.S.,” Gardiner Harris, Sept. 18, 2017

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