Certain types of convictions will make someone inadmissible to the United States. If you want to immigrate to the U.S. and obtain a visa or a green card, your record must be free of certain crimes or you will not be allowed to enter. Even if you haven’t been formally convicted, sometimes having a criminal history is enough for immigration officials to deny you entry.
Inadmissibility means that you are not allowed to come to America on a visa or green card, but the good news is that sometimes there are exceptions made to someone’s inadmissibility status. Those exceptions are called inadmissibility waivers. To get an inadmissibility waiver, you need to meet specific eligibility requirements and petition to waive your current status. You can find this in Section 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which has a specific waiver that you can file to try to obtain a green card or visa, even if you have a criminal history.
Which crimes make you inadmissible to the U.S.?
Not all crimes make an immigrant inadmissible to the United States. There are specific grounds for inadmissibility in immigration law that define what are grounds for refusal and what are not. Crimes which are usually inadmissible include violent acts, drug violations, immoral crimes or having an abundance of various criminal convictions in your background.
Which crimes might be waived?
Even if you are convicted of a crime that falls within the guidelines of inadmissibility, there are times when an exception can be made. If you are convicted of the following crimes, you might still be able to apply for an inadmissibility waiver.
- Crimes involving moral turpitude (unless it involves torture or murder)
- More than two crimes in your past that led to more than five years in prison (unless it involves torture or murder)
- Possession of less than 30 grams or less of marijuana
- Commercialized vice or prostitution
- Other crimes not proven in a court of law
You will not be granted an inadmissibility waiver if you are convicted of:
- Drug trafficking
- Possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana
- Torture or murder
- Human trafficking
- Money laundering
- Egregious acts against religious freedom while serving in a governmental position abroad
What requirements are necessary to meet waiver standards?
If you have been deemed inadmissible for immigration to America, you can meet the requirements for a waiver of inadmissibility if you meet the criteria listed below.
- The crime in your history is due to prostitution and you have received rehabilitation.
- It has been over fifteen years since your conviction and you can prove that you aren’t a risk to the security, safety or welfare of the U.S. or its citizens
- You have a self-petition for the Violence Against Women Act.
- You have a relative who qualifies for an extreme hardship waiver
What if you have a criminal conviction that involves a violent or dangerous crime?
If you have a record of conviction for either a dangerous or violent crime, it will be harder to get a waiver of inadmissibility. Since there might be extraordinary circumstances leading up to your crime, it might be possible to be granted permission and have your waiver approved. In certain cases, you may be allowed to clean up your record as well. There are several free criminal record expungement help available and you may try to seek their professional help in this area.
If you are looking to immigrate to the U.S. by obtaining a visa or a green card, your previous criminal history will determine if you will be granted entry or not. If you have been told you have inadmissibility restrictions, it is possible to get your status waived and to enter the United States. The best way to have your inadmissibility status waived is by having an immigration attorney help you file out the 201(h) form and plead your case for you.