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Naturalization application doomed by false information

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//May 23, 2023

Naturalization application doomed by false information

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//May 23, 2023

Where a woman admitted that she provided false information in her tourist visa application, and her misrepresentations were material, her lawsuit seeking judicial review of the denial of her naturalization application was dismissed.


Cai Zhao filed a complaint seeking judicial review of the denial of her naturalization application. Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim.


The only question that needs to be addressed in order to resolve the defendants’ motion to dismiss is whether Zhao was lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time her application was approved. To qualify for naturalization, an applicant must establish, inter alia, that she was “lawfully admitted for permanent residence.”

The Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA, provides several grounds for inadmissibility, including when a non-citizen “by fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact, seeks to procure (or has sought to procure or has procured) a visa, other documentation, or admission into the United States or other benefit provided under this chapter.” Here, Zhao was not lawfully admitted as a permanent resident because her conduct in seeking to procure, and in fact procuring, a visa by “willfully misrepresenting a material fact” rendered her inadmissible.

Zhao states in her complaint that when she submitted her tourist visa application to the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, China, she “provided false information of her address, employment and purpose of [her] trip.” She also states that she “follow[ed] the travel agency’s suggestions to use the false information in her visa application” in order to avoid China’s one-child policy. The face of the complaint makes clear that Zhao’s misrepresentations were made “deliberately and voluntarily” and were therefore willful.

Misrepresentations under this statutory bar must also be material to render a person inadmissible. Zhao’s misrepresentations were material because it had a natural tendency to influence the decision of immigration officials, and it shut off a line of inquiry relevant to her eligibility and that might have resulted in her exclusion from the country. Knowledge of the true reason for Zhao’s desire to gain admission into the United States would undeniably have influenced the decision of immigration officials and shut off a relevant line of inquiry.

Accordingly, accepting as true the factual allegations contained in the complaint and drawing all reasonable inferences in Zhao’s favor, the court finds that Zhao has failed to state a claim for relief. The allegations in the complaint make clear that Zhao was inadmissible at the time of her adjustment of status, and that she did not obtain a waiver of inadmissibility. Zhao therefore was not lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States.

Defendants’ motion to dismiss granted.

Zhao v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Case No. 1:22-cv-937, May 10, 2023. EDVA at Alexandria (Nachmanoff). VLW 023-3-252. 9 pp.

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