Criminal Convictions and the U.S. Immigration System

Criminal Convictions and the U.S. Immigration System

First and foremost, not all criminal records will make you ineligible for a Green Card or hurt your chances of becoming a US Citizen. You may face additional challenges depending on your criminal past, but you should speak with an immigration attorney to fully understand your rights and options.

There are, however, certain kinds of crimes that result in you being ineligible for a green card or visa and other crimes make you subject to deportation even after obtaining and visa or green card.

At Landerholm Immigration, we understand how intimidating it might be to pursue a pathway to citizenship with a criminal record, and if that is your story, we hope this article will be helpful. This will not be an exhaustive examination of what crimes will or won’t keep you from a Green Card or visa, but it will give you insight as to how the U.S. government treats immigrants with criminal records.

Criminal Records - Grounds for Ineligibility

A criminal record that involves more certain crimes may make you ineligible to immigrate permanently. If you have been convicted or admitted to committing one of these crimes, USCIS will not approve your immigration status and may deport you:

  • A controlled substance violation
  • Multiple criminal convictions involving “moral turpitude”
  • Trafficking of a controlled substance
  • Prostitution
  • Involvement of serious criminal activity
  • Violations of religious freedoms
  • Human trafficking
  • Benefactor of human trafficking
  • Laundering activities
  • Firearms convictions
  • Domestic Violence
  • Child Abuse
  • Sex offenses, and more

The only exceptions to these crimes are those that were committed before the age of 18 and more than 5 years in the past. The other being a crime where you served less than one year in prison and was not sentenced to more than 6-months.

Waivers Available for Criminal Records

Waivers are granted to those who have committed certain types of crimes. This waiver is given in forgiveness for your illegal activity and will allow you to pursue your immigration application, Green Card or Visa. Only some crimes are waivable, many are not, so be careful about this, and please hire an experienced immigration attorney to help you through the waiver process.

We hope this has given you some insight into immigrating into the U.S. with a criminal record. If you have been charged or convicted of a crime and are unsure about whether you can still seek an immigration application, Green Card or Visa, please give Landerholm Immigration a call at (510) 488-1020, or contact us online to set up an appointment with our experienced immigration lawyers. (510) 488-1020.

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