Impact of a Criminal Record on My Immigration Status

Immigration status

During the process of applying for a green card,  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service needs to know if you’ve had any law enforcement problems that might stand in the way of becoming a citizen. The Immigration process is complex, and it’s easy to miss little things in your reporting. That’s why Voloshen Law has experienced immigration lawyers in Bucks County, PA.

What to List on the Application

The application requires you to list incidents you’ve had with law enforcement, no matter the country. You’ll need citations, criminal charges, and arrests. Charges that were dropped later also apply.

You can leave out traffic violations. And, by the way, this is not the time to try and lie. Doing so lessens the chance of getting a green card dramatically. The USCIS will check your record based on the information you provide, so be accurate. You really don’t have a lot to worry about unless serious crimes haunt your past.

Now, here comes the tricky part. Say you were found guilty or pled guilty, and the court didn’t put it on your record. You’ll need an immigration firm with green card lawyers to help determine if that conviction will disqualify you.

The Big Three

In terms of the impact of a criminal record on your immigration status, you really don’t have a lot to worry about. There are only three crimes for which you’ve been convicted that eliminate your eligibility:

  • Aggravated Felonies

An aggravated felony includes things like human trafficking, burglary, money laundering, and murder. Such felonies will make you inadmissible for citizenship.

  • Crimes of moral turpitude

Crimes of moral turpitude are those someone commits with malicious, evil intent. The definition of “evil intent” is rather subjective. So the SUCIS bases its determination on previously closed cases. Crimes under this heading include rape, torture, and fraud.

  • Illegal drug convictions

Within immigration law, illegal drug involvement covers convictions for personal use, drug trafficking, and possession of controlled substances. Any crime where there are 30 grams or more of a substance involved makes you inadmissible. If your conviction was about cannabis, there might be wiggle room. Consult the offices of Voloshen Law for a consultation.

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Waiver of Inadmissibility

You can make a request to the Citizenship and Immigration Services so they eliminate your crimial history as a reason to deny your green card. A Waiver of Inadmissibility has limitations. For example, you cannot get a waiver for the “Big Three.”

It is important to note that convictions can lead to deportation if you do not have a non-immigrant visa. What’s most important is that the review sees no threat in your stay. If a crime happened 15 years ago, for example, and time or community service was served, that particular incident (other than the Big Three) won’t impact your immigration status.

Let Voloshen Law Help You

Confused yet? You are not alone. The ongoing changes to immigration law make it nearly impossible for people outside legal jobs to understand. Voloshen Law wants to help you navigate your case as smoothly as possible. Reach out to us through our online contact form or by calling our Huntingdon Valley, PA office at 215-437-7854.


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