Crimes That Make U.S. Visa or Green Card Applicants Inadmissible

When applying for a U.S. visa or green card, there are numerous factors that immigration authorities take into account.  To determine an applicant’s eligibility, they evaluate his or her criminal history. Certain criminal convictions can render an individual inadmissible. Simply stated, it means that they are ineligible for a visa or green card. Here, we explore the crimes that can make U.S. visa or green card applicants inadmissible and the legal consequences of these convictions. Please note that immigration laws are complex and subject to change, so please consult an immigration attorney for the most up-to-date advice.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude

Crimes of moral turpitude (CIMTs) are one of the most common grounds for inadmissibility. These crimes are generally characterized by dishonesty, immorality, or the intent to harm others. Examples of CIMTs include:

  • Fraud
  • Theft
  • Assault with intent to harm
  • Domestic violence
  • Prostitution
  • Drug-related offenses

It’s important to note that not all criminal convictions fall under the category of CIMTs. Whether a specific offense qualifies can depend on various factors, including the state laws where the conviction occurred. It also includes the specific circumstances of the case.

Aggravated Felonies

Individuals convicted of aggravated felonies are automatically deemed inadmissible for a U.S. visa or green card. Aggravated felonies are serious crimes that may include offenses such as:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Drug trafficking
  • Firearms trafficking
  • Money laundering
  • Fraudulent schemes or deceit with a loss of over $10,000

Note that even if an individual already has a green card and commits an aggravated felony, they can still face deportation proceedings.

Controlled Substance Violations

Convictions related to controlled substances, such as illegal drug possession or trafficking can result in inadmissibility. In some cases, even admitting to drug use without a formal conviction can lead to a visa or green card denial. The severity of the consequences depends on factors like the type of drug involved and the amount.

Crimes against National Security

Individuals who have been involved in espionage, terrorism, or other activities that pose a threat to U.S. national security are inadmissible. This category also includes:

  • Individuals who have engaged in activities supporting terrorist organizations
  • those who have been associated with terrorist groups

Multiple Criminal Convictions

Having multiple criminal convictions on one’s record can also lead to inadmissibility. Immigration authorities may consider the cumulative impact of these convictions when evaluating an applicant’s eligibility.

Prostitution and Commercialized Vice

Engaging in prostitution or other activities related to commercialized vice can result in inadmissibility. This category is broad and encompasses various activities related to the sex industry.

Anyone wishing to enter or stay in the United States legally must be aware of the offenses that can render a candidate for a U.S. visa or green card ineligible. Keep in mind that immigration regulations are complicated. Thus, a criminal conviction may have different consequences based on several factors.

If you have a criminal record and are facing inadmissibility, we recommend that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney. This is especially helpful for green card applicants with criminal histories. An attorney can provide personalized guidance and help navigate the complexities of immigration law. Moreover, an attorney can help you negotiate the complexity of immigration law and maybe obtain waivers or other remedies for your situation.