India Biannual Fraud Update

The India Biannual Fraud Update, issued by the Department of State, provides details on the level and type of immigrant and nonimmigrant visa fraud in India-wide consular operations and concludes that fraudulent applications, particularly in the regions of Gujarat and Punjab, are still significant.

We encourage applicants at any Indian post to consider the information below prior to applying for immigrant or nonimmigrant visas abroad. Should you have any concerns about proper documentation, please contact our office.

The Update states that in FY2009, the nonimmigrant visa classes most often targeted for fraud were B1/B2 business travelers/tourists, H-1B temporary workers, F1 student visas, and P3 culturally unique artists. The most commonly targeted immigrant visa classes were IR1s or CR1s (immigrant visas for spouses of U.S. Citizens), F2B (unmarried sons and daughters 21 years of age or older of Permanent Residents) and F2A (spouses and children of Permanent Residents).

Nonimmigrant Visas

Fraudulent nonimmigrant visa applications constitute the vast majority of cases referred to the Fraud Prevention Unit. B1/B2 visa fraud is the most common. Several posts are in the process of implementing improved fraud detection measures. For example, once a fraudulent document package is identified, Chennai conducts an extensive text search to identify additional cases with the same fraudulent details.

With respect to H-1B fraud, all posts regularly encounter inflated or fabricated educational and employment qualifications. H and L fraud conferences have been held throughout India to better train officers.

Student applications, even legitimate ones, have been highly scrutinized due to the involvement of document vendors who present fraudulent documents for applicants. Chennai has encouraged Indian students not to rely on visa facilitators.

Immigrant Visas

False family relationships and fictitious marriages and divorces plague the F and CR categories across all posts. Because the Indian custom of arranged marriages makes adjudicating IR and CR particularly difficult (as husband and wife often do not meet until just before marriage), Fraud Prevention Officers often rely on online phone lists to locate phone numbers in the area in which applicants live and call neighbors to obtain information about the applicants.

Posts also frequently encounter misrepresentations of marital status in order to benefit from later “current processing dates” and misrepresentations of the ages of children in order to become eligible to immigrate.

The Update notes that the primary factors affecting fraud rates are the existence of regionally-based fraud rings and document vendors throughout the country that produce fraudulent documents for visa application and travel purposes, the ease of obtaining genuinely-issued, but fraudulent passports, and the ease of obtaining fraudulent civil documentation.

Map with North America depicted in white, with the most populated cities represented as small black dots, with darker shades indicating higher population density

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