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Visa Fraud


Welcome to the Fraud Prevention Unit of the U.S. Embassy in San José.  Our principal mission is to safeguard U.S. borders by detecting and stopping fraud in applications for U.S. passports, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas.  We accomplish this critical goal by training Consular Section staff on fraud detection, maintaining close cooperation with U.S. and Costa Rican law enforcement agencies and deploying our staff of highly trained investigators to conduct interviews and investigations.

The consequences of fraud are extremely serious.  If you commit fraud, not only will you lose the benefit that you are seeking, but you may also have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and you may even go to jail.  The Fraud Prevention Unit, working closely with the American Citizen Services Unit, the Immigrant Visa Unit, the Nonimmigrant Visa Unit, the Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security, aggressively pursues fraud cases, referring individuals as appropriate for prosecution under U.S. and/or Costa Rican law. For further information, simply click on one of the links on the left side of the page.

Only U.S. Embassy employees working behind the windows inside the Embassy can handle your visa application. Please be aware that some applicants have been approached in the waiting area or outside of the Embassy by persons who claimed they could assist in the visa process for a fee, and some applicants have been cheated of significant amounts of money by these persons. 

Beware of persons who say they can advise you on how to obtain a visa, whether they are charging you money for the advice or offering the advice as a friend. Visas are obtained only from the U.S. Embassy, via the procedure described above. The presentation of false information on the visa application form, on documents, or during the interview, whether by you or by someone acting on your behalf, can result in a permanent ban to travel to the U.S. -- even for an immigrant visa for which you might later qualify.

Millions of foreign visitors travel to the U.S. each year. While the U.S. welcomes foreigners of all backgrounds regardless of race, religion, gender or cultural background, at the same time, the U.S. must do everything it can to keep everyone safe within its borders. Travelers who falsify documents, regardless of where they come from, threaten the safety of U.S. citizens and fellow travelers. Individuals who violate U.S. law by attempting entry with fraudulent documents are subject to prosecution and/or may be found permamently ineligible for any type of visa.

We take fraud seriously

Presenting false documents or making false statements to a Consular Officer can result in a permanent ban from entering the United States. 

Don’t do it!

If you have any questions, please contact us at