Having a criminal background involving particular crimes makes a person ineligible for a green card or a visa even if they otherwise would have been eligible to receive one. A criminal conviction can lead to a denied citizenship or permanent resident application.
A criminal conviction could also lead to deportation, detention, or being barred from coming to the U.S. If they were to leave. Crimes committed abroad are also taken into consideration. These could also bar someone from being able to enter the U.S. If you’re looking for an American visa with criminal convictions or wondering, “Does a misdemeanor affect immigration status?”, this article will help.
How Immigration Law Treats Crimes Differently Than Criminal Law
Criminal law uses different distinctions than immigration law. Under immigration law, there are two classes of crimes. These are crimes of moral turpitude and aggressive felonies. Crimes involving theft or dishonesty are usually categorized under crimes of moral turpitude.
Many crimes are included under the classification of aggravated felonies such as rape, drug trafficking, murder, money laundering, tax evasion, and violent crimes with a minimum sentence of one year.
What Can Be Done?
Not everyone is eligible for waivers, but a person with a criminal record from another country should first research whether or not their crime bars them from citizenship or entering the country.
A person who has been convicted of one of these crimes should speak with an immigration lawyer as a waiver form could be submitted to override immigration issues. Since the immigration consequences of criminal convictions are severe, a lawyer’s insight is helpful in filling out this form to completion. These waivers are the 212(h) waiver and the U visa waiver.
This kind of waiver is viewed as a form of legal forgiveness only given to those applicants who are not a threat to national security. If the crime was a long time ago or involved prostitution, the matter falls to a judge’s determination about whether or not the applicant deserves the waiver.
If you were convicted of another crime, whether or not you can obtain this waiver has to do with the level of violence involved, proof that you were rehabilitated, and any other factors indicating that you might deserve a second chance through this program.
A U-visa waiver is another way to provide more information about your background in an effort to persuade the USCIS to enter the U.S. This is done through Form I-192, also known as the Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant. You would submit this form in advance of when you intend to come and must show that it is in the public or national interest for USCIS to allow you inside under a U-Visa waiver.
This means showing plenty of evidence that the reasons to allow you in far outweigh any inadmissibility issues in your case. Before applying for an American visa with a criminal record, make sure you understand that you’ll need to use Form 212(h).
Crime Convictions That Can Deem You Inadmissible
Beyond what is mentioned above, there are many other crimes that allow the U.S. government to deny a green card or visa application or even to take action to deport someone. These include espionage, domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, terrorist activity, stalking, drug crimes, and illegal firearms possession. A conviction of murder or an aggravated felony permanently bars a person from citizenship.
If you are curious, “Can you go to America with a criminal record?”, an immigration lawyer should be consulted in your individual case to determine whether you qualify for a waiver. If a USCIS officer discovers that a person has committed any of these crimes, they will have no option but to deny a citizenship application and initiate removal proceedings.
How Are Expunged Convictions Treated?
Immigration law does not recognize expungements in other countries. Even criminal convictions that were removed from state records can still count against you for the purposes of immigration in the U.S. Someone who wants to argue this special case should expect that the officers could discover evidence of their crime regardless and that this discovery could be used for deportation purposes.
Contact Attorney Eric Price Today!
If you have any questions about Form I-212, reach out to Attorney Eric Price. He uses his extensive experience in the field to help people trying to fill out and submit Form I-212.