Like anyone else, foreign nationals do not wish to admit some sad truths.  These are the top 5 things you MUST tell your immigration attorney, and why.  When you reveal them, also give your lawyer the documents relating to these issues.

1. Lack Of Child Support Payments

Times are tough.  However, failure to pay child support or making late payments will probably affect your immigration application.  There may be criminal consequences for failure to pay.  Also, your attorney is going to have a hard time persuading immigration officials or an Immigration Judge that your United States child will suffer economic hardship without you when there is a record that suggests otherwise.  It is possible to fix these matters by making alternative payment arrangements.

2. Lack Of Involvement With A United States Citizen Child

Some foreign nationals have little or no involvement with their children for many reasons, especially if there are ongoing problems with the other parent.  However, not being involved with your child can hurt your immigration case.   In some cases, an immigration attorney needs to prove that children will suffer an emotional hardship due to a parent’s deportation.  This will be an impossible defense if there is little involvement.  Proof of involvement includes photographs, evidence of family trips, medical and school records showing the parent’s attendance at appointments and events, and listing the parent as an emergency contact.

3. Prior Deportation Orders

A past deportation order does make your case more difficult, but your attorney must know about it.  Some foreign nationals hope that the orders are so old that no one will notice.  Technology is improving; the truth will come out.  The best way to defend against it is to tell your attorney upfront.  A good attorney will work around the order and have a legal argument prepared either for Immigration or an Immigration Judge.

4. Prior Immigration Cases That Were Denied

If you or your parents filed any applications with Immigration or the Department of Labor, tell the immigration attorney and bring all the documents to the first consultation.  A denial does not necessarily mean that you have no way to remain in the United States legally.  To the contrary, it may be easier to fix the old case rather than trying to start all over again.

In fact, a prior case may save you today.  A foreign national who is present in the United States illegally and is the beneficiary of a visa petition or labor certification might still be eligible for the immigration benefit despite their illegal status.  The deadline for the visa application or labor certification used to be January 14, 1998, but this deadline was extended to April 30, 2001.  It is possible that many cases were denied just because they did not meet the January 14, 1998 deadline.  These cases could be resubmitted for approval as long as the applications met the April 30, 2001 deadline.

5. The United States Citizen Spouse Is Really Your Friend, or Your Enemy

Last, but not least, tell your immigration attorney if you are not married to a spouse.  Of course, you signed the marriage license and were there for the ceremony, but a marriage is something else.  Foreign nationals that are not living with their spouses, with intent to remain in that relationship for a long time, need to have a heart-to-heart discussion with their lawyers.  A good lawyer will not let a foreign national in such a situation apply for benefits with Immigration.

The risk of deportation or arrest is simply not worth it.  There are other options that will only be discussed if the truth comes out.  For example, if there has been emotional abuse, residency through the Violence Against Women Act would be a better strategy.  Even though there are no police reports about such abuse, the attorney will help the foreign national get the deserved benefit.