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Immigration With a Criminal Record and Waivers of Inadmissibility

Posted on in Immigration

Westchester County NY immigration visa denial attorneyMany people seeking entry to the United States have something in their background, such as a criminal conviction, which could cause U.S. immigration authorities to declare them “inadmissible,” which means their immigration visa will be denied. If this happens to you, the only way to get your immigration visa approved is to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility

Visa Applicants Must Be Honest About Their Criminal Record

When you apply for an immigration visa, you will be asked if you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime, and you will be required to provide details. Even if your record was later expunged (cleared), you must still admit to any past crimes.

Not every crime will make you inadmissible, and even if you are initially declared inadmissible, you can appeal that decision.

Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude Can Make You Inadmissible

A person may be declared inadmissible if they have ever been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT), such as:

  • Murder - deliberately and maliciously killing another person.
  • Manslaughter - unintentionally causing a death, perhaps as a result of carelessness or provocation.
  • Aggravated battery - a serious physical assault.
  • Rape - a sexual assault involving penetration.
  • Prostitution.
  • Theft, bribery, forgery, or fraud.
  • Immigration fraud, including making a material misrepresentation of facts about oneself during the visa application process (for example, failing to admit to a criminal arrest or conviction). 

Example of a Crime that Qualified for a Waiver of Inadmissibility 

If your visa application has been denied due to a crime, you may be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility under certain circumstances.

Consider this case of a man who was arrested in his home country for destruction of property (breaking a window) and theft at age 16. When he applied for U.S. immigration 13 years later, the man failed to reveal those crimes. U.S. immigration officials discovered the arrest and conviction when they obtained the man’s criminal record, which also showed that these juvenile offenses had been expunged, leaving the man with a clean record. However, because the man had not admitted the crimes on his application, he was declared inadmissible for committing the crime of immigration fraud (material misrepresentation). 

His request for a waiver of inadmissibility was initially denied. On appeal, the man was declared admissible. The appeals officer decided that the applicant’s failure to reveal his juvenile offenses was not a material misrepresentation. If the applicant had revealed his criminal record on his visa application, he would have been deemed admissible because of these circumstances:

  • He was under the age of 18 when he committed the offense.
  • The offense was committed more than five years before the date of the visa application.
  • If imprisoned for the offense, he was released more than five years before the date of the visa application.

Process for Getting a Waiver of Inadmissibility Due to a Crime

When a person has been judged inadmissible due to their criminal record, the process for obtaining a waiver of inadmissibility is quite complicated. It involves completing a 12-page form and gathering relevant pieces of evidence to support your case. If the initial request for a waiver is denied, you will then have to appeal that decision. An experienced immigration attorney can help ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible for you.

A Fairfield County, CT Immigration Lawyer Can Help

If you are concerned about your admissibility to the U.S. due to past crimes, ask an experienced Darien immigration attorney about the possibility of getting a waiver of inadmissibility. Attorney Hector Gonzalez-Velez has been helping immigrants to the U.S. for over 15 years and will go the extra mile to overcome any obstacles, so that you can legally immigrate to United States. Contact Gonzalez Law Office, LLC at 203-323-1440. 





Fairfield County Bar Association Connecticut Bar Association American Immigration Lawyers Association Connecticut American Immigration Lawyers Association
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