Crimes That Can Affect Your Immigration Case

by | Apr 7, 2022 | Immigration

If you are planning to travel or migrate to the United States and have a criminal record you will be wondering what the impact will be on your immigration application. A criminal conviction regardless of whether it is considered a petty crime or not, regardless if it happened in the United States or outside can affect applications for visas, green cards, or even citizenship. 

Here we will outline what you need to know about which crimes make you inadmissible to the United States. 


What is Inadmissibility? 

Under the U.S. immigration law, if you are found inadmissible this means you or a loved one can be subject to not being allowed entry into the United States, any visas, or residence permits. 

Watch Legal Takes: How Crime Can Affect Your Immigration Case

Crimes That Make You Inadmissible

Crime of Moral Turpitude 

A crime of moral turpitude or a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) is a term used in immigration that has no statutory definition. An example of a crime of moral turpitude is armed robbery. Generally speaking, crimes committed against a person’s property, sexual crimes, or crimes against the gun government all come under CIMT. 

If you have been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude there is still a chance you may not be inadmissible, under the petty offense exception. If you are only convicted of one crime, where the maximum penalty does not exceed one year and you are only sentenced to a jail term of 6 months or less, then you may meet this exception. 


Multiple Crime Convictions 

If you have been convicted of two or more crimes where the total amount of jail time was five or more years, then you are barred from immigrating to the United States, regardless of whether the crimes were crimes of moral turpitude. 


Drug Offense 

You can be rendered inadmissible if you are either convicted or admit to all of the elements in a federal or state drug crime, this includes both serious and ‘not-so-serious’ drug crimes such as possession with the intent to distribute. This element of inadmissibility law can be really unforgiving as there is no petty offense exception for drug crimes committed when a minor, like there are for crimes of moral turpitude mentioned above. However, there is a waiver for marijuana convictions under 30 grams. 


Trafficking of a Controlled Substance 

If you or a close relative such as your spouse, mother, or father has been convicted of trafficking controlled substances then your immigration petition can be marked inadmissible. If the crime was committed within the past five years, the proceeds were shared with you and you knew, or should have known where the money was coming from, your case will be deemed inadmissible. 



If the United States Immigration Services (USCIS) believes that you are entering the United States to engage in prostitution or have engaged in prostitution within the past 10 years you could trigger grounds of inadmissibility. 


Immunity from Prosecution 

If you committed a serious crime in the United States and were subsequently granted immunity from prosecution, you can be barred from immigrating to the United States. You may have provided a witness testimony in exchange for immunity. In order for this law to be used against your immigration case, you must no longer be in the United States due to your immunity from criminal jurisdiction. 


These are just some criminal convictions that can make your immigration case inadmissible. There are many more convictions such as human trafficking, money laundering, and terrorism that would also fall under this category. However, there are certain waivers and exceptions available despite some of these inadmissibility triggers. It’s important to consult an immigration lawyer who can review your case and represent you to give you the best chance of gaining the desired outcome in your immigration case. 


Attorney Ify can represent you, be in your corner fighting for your rights and guide you through the United States immigration process. 

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