Select Page

Passport and Visa Fraud

Passport and visa fraud is a violation of immigration law, but it is also a federal crime punishable by federal prison time and likely deportation from the United States.

Passport and visa fraud has always been a crime under federal law. However, it is now a clear priority of the federal Department of Justice to focus on the prosecution of immigration crimes to the fullest extent.

It is always important to obtain the assistance of an experienced federal CrImmigration defense attorney when charged with any federal crime, but it’s especially important when charged with a criminal immigration offense because it is a very specialized area of law.

Passport Fraud

What is a U.S. passport? What is a U.S. passport card?

A passport book is a travel document issued by the U.S. Government to a U.S. citizen for travel to and from the United States. U.S. passports are recognized as legal proof of a person’s identity and U.S. citizenship. In Fiscal Year 2010, 13.6 million passports were issued to U.S. citizens. More than one-third of the U.S. citizen population holds a valid passport.

Ready to join STERN Law?

Tell Us Your Question, Situation and/or Request Below or Call Us at (404) 990-4112
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

A passport card is a wallet-size travel document that can only be used to re-enter the United States at land border-crossings and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The card provides a less expensive, smaller, and convenient alternative to the passport book for those who travel frequently to these destinations by land or by sea. The State Department began issuing the passport card in July 2008. As of June 2011, the Department has issued more than 4.5 million passport cards.

How is passport fraud committed?

Assuming the identity of a deceased person to apply for passports


Using fake support documents, such as fake birth certificates


Using stolen and altered passports


avoiding the two-parent signature rule for children


Federal crime statutes involving Passport Fraud:

18 USC 1541 Issuance Without Authority

18 USC 1542 False Statement in Application and Use of Passport

18 USC 1543 Forgery or False Use of Passport

18 USC 1544 Misuse of Passport

18 USC 911 False Claim to Citizenship

18 USC 1546 Fraud and Misuse of Visas, Permits, and Other Documents

18 USC 371 Conspiracy to Commit Offense or to Defraud the United States

18 USC 1028 Fraud and Related Activity in Connection with Identification Documents and Information

18 USC 1028A Aggravated Identity Theft

Visa Fraud

What is a visa?

The U.S. visa is a document, obtained at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, granting a foreign traveler permission to apply for admission into the United States at a port of entry. It is not a guarantee of entry into the United States. Department of Homeland Security inspectors determine if, and for how long, a non-citizen is admitted.

There are two types of visas:

1 Immigrant visa: For people who intend to live permanently in the United States, as provided by the Immigration and Nationality Act.

2 Nonimmigrant visa: For people who wish to visit the United States temporarily–for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, or study.

What are typical types of visa fraud?

Presenting false documents to apply for a visa

Concealing facts that would disqualify one from getting a visa, like a criminal history in the alien’s home country

The sale, trafficking, or transfer of otherwise legitimate visas

Misrepresenting the reasons for requiring a visa

Counterfeiting, forgery, or alteration of a visa

Federal crime statutes involving Visa fraud:

18 USC 1546 Fraud and Misuse of Visas, Permits, and Other Documents

18 USC 1001 False Statements or Entries Generally

18 USC 1028 Fraud in Connection with Identification Documents

18 USC 201 Bribery of Public Officials

18 USC 371 Conspiracy to Commit Offense or to Defraud the United States