immigration & your criminal record

Criminal activity, whether committed in the U.S. or outside of the country, can have a heavy impact on your immigration status and eligibility. Prior criminal charges may make it difficult to obtain a visa or a green card. Immigrants may also be deported if they are arrested for criminal activity. If you are looking to become a lawful permanent resident, you should be aware of the impact a criminal record may have.

Can I Get a Green Card if I Have a Criminal Record?

It can be exceedingly difficult to obtain a green card with a criminal record, but it may be possible. If you have a serious crime on your record, it is unlikely that you will be able to successfully obtain a green card. If you have been charged with less serious crimes, it still may be possible to receive your green card.

There are several factors to examine when determining if you may be eligible for a green card. Your attorney can help you review your record and evaluate it based on the following factors:

  • The specific charges you were convicted of and the definition of those charges.
  • The specifics of your case.
  • Your age at the time of the crime.
  • The maximum sentence or penalty that your crime would justify.

Your lawyer can help you compare the above facts of your crime to immigration laws addressing criminal convictions and assess whether it may be possible for you to get your green card.

What Crimes Can Prevent Me From Obtaining a Green Card?

U.S. immigration laws list a number of crimes that are inadmissible and
can cause you to be ineligible for a green card. These crimes include:

  • Controlled substance violations
  • Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude, or crimes with evil intent
  • Kidnapping
  • Prostitution
  • Human Trafficking & profiting financially from the trafficking of a
    family member
  • Money laundering

There are other crimes that are not listed, which may still be used as grounds for denial at the discretion of the immigration authorities. Crimes such as aggravated felonies, including rape, murder, sexual abuse of a minor, theft, and money laundering, may cause your green card to be denied.

If you have a criminal record, it is important to understand how your record may affect your eligibility for immigration and naturalization. A qualified criminal defense attorney who is experienced in immigration issues can be an invaluable resource to help you apply for your green card, even with a criminal record.

George Holton Yates, Attorneys At Law, P.C. is committed to helping our clients protect their future, including their ability to successfully immigrate to the U.S. Our Virginia Beach criminal defense attorney is a former prosecutor and is backed by more than 30 years of experience in all areas of criminal law.

Contact our offices today to request a free consultation. Call (757) 785-0201.