After you battle through the United States immigration process and finally get your passport, you may find that some of your family, especially your siblings, may ask to borrow your new passport. And, you may feel pressured to let them borrow it, especially if they are working through the United States immigration process as well.
Is this really an issue?
Yes. According to the United States Customs and Border Protection’s Laredo Field Office, it has become an increasingly common issue, along with sharing citizenship documents, in general. Specifically, from the beginning of the year to August, the Laredo Field Office’s adverse actions and formal removals increase by over 150%. The CBP claims that the vast majority of this uptick has been from people using lent entry documents or falsely claiming they are United States citizens.
Is it illegal?
Yes. Lending your entry documents, like passports and visas, along with falsely claiming citizenship has severe consequences. For the United States citizen, you could lose your freedom and even your status, depending on where you are in the process. For the person looking to become a citizen, you could lose your ability to lawfully enter the United States or become a citizen.
For example, Section 1544 of Title 18 makes the misuse of a passport criminal. This is for both the use of and the attempted misuse of someone else’s passport. The penalties are harsh as you could face up to 10 years in prison, in addition to a $250,000 fine.
If the passport misuse was used for terrorism or drugs, there are enhanced penalties, thanks to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. This is why you should always contact your Tampa, Florida, immigration attorney prior to doing anything with your immigration documents or traveling in or out of the United States.