Criminal and Related Violations

Proving inadmissibility does not apply in your case is a method used mainly to overcome criminal and ideological grounds of inadmissibility. When dealing with criminal grounds of inadmissibility, it is very important to consider both the type of crime committed and the nature of the punishment to see whether your criminal activity really constitutes a ground of inadmissibility. For example, with some criminal activity, only actual convictions are grounds of inadmissibility. If you have been charged with a crime and the charges were then dropped, you may not be inadmissible.

Another example involves crimes of moral turpitude. Crimes of moral turpitude are those showing dishonesty or basically immoral conduct. Commission of acts that constitute a crime of moral turpitude can be a ground of inadmissibility, even with no conviction. Crimes with no element of moral turpitude, however, are often not considered grounds of inadmissibility. Laws differ from state to state on which crimes are considered to involve moral turpitude and which are not. Still other factors that may help you are the brevity of any prison terms, how long ago the crime was committed, the number of convictions in your background, conditions of plea bargaining and available pardons. Sometimes a conviction can be “vacated” if you can show it was unlawfully obtained or you were not advised of its immigration consequences, though under recent case law, the USCIS may refuse to recognize this.

As you can see, proving that a criminal ground of inadmissibility does not apply in your case is a complicated business. You need to have a firm grasp not only of immigration law, but the technicalities of criminal law as well. If you have a criminal problem in your past, you may be able to get a green card, but not without the help of an experienced immigration lawyer.

Waivers are not available for commission of crimes such as attempted murder or conspiracy to commit murder or murder, torture or drug crimes, except for persons previously admitted as permanent residents, if they have been convicted of aggravated felony since such admission or if they have less than seven years of lawful continuous residence before deportation proceedings are initiated against them. Waivers for all other offenses are available only if the applicant is a spouse, parent or child of a U.S. citizen or green card holder; or the only criminal activity was prostitution or the actions occurred more than 15 years before the application for a visa or green card is filed and the alien shows that he or she is rehabilitated and is not a threat to U.S. security.

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