The immigration process is very strict. Applicants are obliged to provide detailed and truthful information about themselves, which immigration will verify. This is to preserve the integrity of the process and to ensure that anyone granted a U.S. immigrant or non-immigrant visa will be a fine addition to the community — instead of a problem that law enforcement has to keep in check.

Applicants may think that immigration authorities only know as far as what the information in an application form provides. But in reality, they know much more. The immigration service and state department know a lot about the applicant and their case.

Immigration Does Rigorous Background Checks

Immigration does not solely rely on the information provided by an applicant in their forms. Its authorities do rigorous background checks, finding out all they can about the applicant, their education and work history, their addresses, contact information, relationships, and any criminal records they may have.

Chances are, things that were not disclosed on the forms will come up as questions in the immigration interview or be verified after the interview is completed. Whatever the detail or whenever the background check is conducted, immigration is absolutely going to check and verify issues about the applicant and their case.

What Does Immigration Know?

Immigration knows way more than applicants think, which is why immigration attorneys always advise their clients to be truthful and make full disclosures on their forms. Some of the most thorough checks conducted involve criminal history, address history, and even social media presence.

Criminal History

If an applicant has a criminal record, they can bank on immigration to find out about it. Whether it be a minor misdemeanor or a prior immigration criminal history, applicants must be prepared to address it.

Lawyers can usually help resolve any issues with criminal history by disclosing the record with immigration, providing memos, or bringing forth legal precedent that shows why the applicant is qualified for the visa or immigration benefit despite their criminal history. However, other times, lawyers may be honest with their clients and say that owing to their criminal record, it’s not a good idea for them to move forward with filing their immigration case.

Address History

Immigration forms are going to ask about the applicant’s address history, including the specific dates when they lived there. This will be verified by immigration and it should come as no surprise that they will have a detailed account of an applicant’s current and past addresses from their background checks.

Social Media Presence

Many people don’t know this, but immigration also checks the applicant’s social media accounts. This usually happens in family-based and employment-based cases. For the former, immigration may use social media posts to determine if the applicant is indeed married to a U.S. citizen, which would qualify them for a marriage-based green card.

This is why lawyers always advise their clients to be careful about what they post on social media, especially if they have an ongoing case with immigration or otherwise.

The Worst Thing to Do on an Immigration Application

It’s safe to assume that immigration knows everything about the applicant and their case. And if not, they will undergo a rigorous background check to find out. With that, the worst thing that an applicant can do is to lie. In immigration’s eyes, lying on an immigration petition or not disclosing the full story is considered fraud or misrepresentation — something that can severely harm an immigration case.