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Will a Criminal Record Impact my Ability to Immigrate?

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Whether you are applying for a Green Card within the U.S. or you’re waiting to move, you’re probably wondering how any past criminal records may impact your ability to successfully immigrate into the U.S.

If you don’t have any past run-ins with the law, you won’t have to worry. But for some applicants, filling out the criminal history section of their applications can be stressful. Below, our legal team discusses what you should know about the potential impacts of a criminal record on your Green Card eligibility.

Certain Crimes Can Barr Eligibility

Not every type of criminal history makes it impossible to get a Green Card. According to U.S. immigration law, three general types of criminal convictions will typically barr an individual unable to receive a Green Card:

  1. Aggravated felonies. This includes crimes like murder, drug trafficking, filing a false tax return, or sexual abuse of a minor.
  2. Crimes involving “moral turpitude.” This generally refers to a crime with “evil intent” and may include murder, rape, fraud, or animal abuse/fighting.
  3. Crimes involving illegal drugs. Most drug-related convictions, including for possession and use, make individuals ineligible for Green Cards.

Keep in mind, however, that even if one of the above crimes is present on your criminal record, you may be able to obtain Green Card eligibility by filing a “waiver of inadmissibility,” which your attorney can help you with. So while criminal convictions often complicate the immigration process, they won’t necessarily lead to a denial; it will vary on a case-by-case basis.

Get Experienced Legal Assistance Today

Falsifying information about any prior criminal activity won’t get you far, as USCIS has the ability to find this out quite easily. Lying to any extent on an immigration form can cause you to be ineligible, even if you were not ineligible for the fact you did not include in your application.

Before filling out your Green Card application, especially with priors, it’s always recommended that you speak with an immigration attorney to ensure that yours is completed properly and you have the best chances of being approved. At Maney Gordon Zeller, our full-service legal team is here to guide you through the immigration process so you can pursue the American Dream.

Contact Maney Gordon Zeller at (800) 708-4399 to learn more about your legal options today!


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