Immigration And Criminal Defense Lawyers

Can I get a U.S. green card if I have a criminal record?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2023 | Immigration Law |

A criminal record can impact your ability to gain entry into the U.S. on a green card. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency has strict rules on who gets into the country and negatively considers people with criminal records. The agency doesn’t allow foreign nationals who have committed certain crimes to enter the U.S.

However, you may still be able to enter the country, depending on the offense committed. You can use the waiver provision in the U.S. or petition the agency to pardon your crime and issue you a green card.

Which crimes can make you inadmissible to the U.S.?

Some crimes can make you inadmissible to the U.S. However, not all crimes may require a conviction in court; just admitting to a crime is enough to make you inadmissible. Below is a list of crimes that can make you inadmissible:

  • Crimes involving moral turpitude: This may include an attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime. However, crimes committed by applicants below 18 years of age or with a maximum penalty of not more than one year in prison are excluded.
  • Drug violations: If you were convicted of or participated in trafficking controlled substances, then you may not be granted entry into the U.S. This also includes knowingly aiding, abetting, assisting, colluding or conspiring in illicit drug trafficking.
  • Aggravated felonies: Crimes such as rape, money laundering, murder and other trivial offenses such as theft, prostitution, kidnapping and human trafficking are considered aggravated felonies. Such crimes carry harsh penalties, including inadmissibility to the U.S.

Some crimes can be waived

If you have a criminal record, you can request a waiver. A waiver or legal forgiveness will excuse your criminal history. This means that your criminal history won’t be used as a barrier to getting a green card. However, some crimes, such as murder, drug convictions and torture, cannot be waived.

Having a criminal record can complicate your green card application, but it may not necessarily lead to your application getting denied. Therefore, if you’re unsure how your criminal record could affect your green card application, consider seeking legal assistance.