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Immigration Polygraph Testing

Polygraph examinations can be used to help in a successful resolution of a client’s immigration case. Currently, polygraph examinations are used to determine if the individual has been “inspected and admitted or paroled” under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 245(a). Below is information on how a polygraph examination may satisfy the burden of proof of inspection and admission.


One of the primary immigration benefits granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) is adjustment of status. To be eligible, an applicant must demonstrate that he or she has been “inspected and admitted or paroled” under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 245(a).


To establish eligibility for adjustment of status under INA section 245(a), an alien seeking to show that he or she has been “admitted” to the United States pursuant to INA section 101(a)(13)(A), need only prove procedural regularity in his or her entry which does not require the alien to be questioned by immigration authorities or be admitted in a particular status.


Proving inspection and admission is dependent on the credibility of a client, corroborating evidence that makes the client’s story believable, and the sympathies of the case. In nearly all instances, there will be no evidence to the contrary. There are three strategies in corroborating evidence of credible testimony.

  1. Obtaining Customs and Border Protection Records of Admission.

  2. Obtaining Witness Statements.

  3. Use of Polygraph Evidence; Goel Decision.


Polygraph evidence may help the adjustment applicant satisfy the burden of proof of inspection and admission. The following Federal Court rulings allow for the use of polygraph examinations to verify the credibility of your client.


  1. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 125 L. Ed. 2d 469, 113 S. Ct. 2786 (1993). Guides the application of Federal Rule of Evidence 702, which provides the standard for admissibility of expert testimony.

  2. United States v. Crumby, 895 F. Supp.1354 (1995). The court noted that polygraph exams are admitted in most federal courts, and their widespread use in federal courts significantly weakens the argument that polygraph evidence is inherently unreliable.

  3. United States v. Cordoba, 104 F.3rd 225, 1 (9th Cir. 1997). A bright-line rule excluding polygraph evidence is not consistent with the flexibility in decision-making granted to the trial judge.

  4. Mohamud v. I.N.S., 45 Fed. App. 674, 3 (9th Cir. 2002). Defendant Mohamud was administered a polygraph examination in order to corroborate his asylum claim. The independent expert polygraph examiner verified the veracity of Muhamud’s claim. The court admitted the polygraph examination into evidence and ruled in favor of Mohamud.

  5. Goel v. Gonzales, 490 F. 3rd 735 (9th Cir. June 14, 2007). The Ninth Circuit ruled that an Immigration Judge may consider polygraph evidence during a removal hearing.

Issues and Strategies in Inadequate Inspection Cases; Owren, Turid L.; Sultan, Tarik H.; Hurwitz, Leah W.; Ginsburg, Richard M.; “They Just Waived Me In!”; 2010.

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