Like many immigrants to the United States, you may have chosen to move to this country to seek gainful employment. After all, you must support yourself and your family members. Still, if you are not careful with your new-hire paperwork, you may find yourself in a tough spot. 

Most U.S. employers have an obligation to verify the identity and employment eligibility of everyone they hire. To do so, they must complete and retain an I-9 form. This requires asking you to provide some information and documents. Being untruthful, though, has serious immigration consequences that may be impossible to overcome. 

Work authorization and immigration status 

By the end of your first day of employment, your employer is likely to ask you to complete the first section of the I-9. While this section is mostly biographical, it also requires you to affirmatively confirm which of the following you are: 

  • A U.S. citizen 
  • A noncitizen national 
  • A lawful permanent resident 
  • An alien with work authorization 

If you do not have work authorization or valid immigration status, you may think about checking the U.S. citizen box. This is not a good idea, though. On the contrary, asserting that you are a citizen on the I-9 constitutes a false claim to citizenship. 

False claims to U.S. citizenship 

Falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen may render you both inadmissible and deportable. Unfortunately, there are no waivers for either of these. Therefore, if you are trying to obtain a green card or another immigration benefit, government officials may deny your request. If you already have a valid status, a false claim to citizenship may result in your permanent removal from the country. 

Clearly, it is important always to be truthful when completing an I-9. If you have made misrepresentations in the past, you should be cautious about filing for immigration benefits. By understanding the extreme consequences of a false claim to U.S. citizenship, though, you can better plan for your future in the United States. 

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