August 16, 2010: Document Verification in Asylum Cases

Document Verification in Asylum Cases

I went for an asylum interview and the officer retained my originals. Why? What is she going to do? Is she going to contact my country’s embassy for verification? What are the consequences of a verification failure?
— Anonymous

Generally, the authenticity of documentation is critical in asylum claims. In many instances, the documentation is evaluated by an expert investigator who will determine its authenticity through various forms of forensic testing, and other methods of document verification.

When the documentation is an official document such as a birth certificate, that record will generally have to comply with the authentication requirements under the U.S. immigration laws, including in some instances a proper certification by a consular officer from the appropriate foreign country. When an asylum applicant provides identification documentation that is found to be or suspected to be counterfeit, it negatively affects the credibility of the applicant’s entire asylum claim.

When this happens, the asylum applicant should try to explain and/or rebut the suspicion. It should be noted that an applicant’s credibility should not be based on whether that person presented a fraudulent document at the border because s/he was fleeing persecution.

In not just asylum cases but in all cases where a person is sworn under oath, it is always important to tell the truth and provide authentic documentation. It may be wise to consult with an immigration attorney with extensive experience in asylum applications.

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys