Can a Misdemeanor Prevent You From Getting a Green Card or U.S. Visa?


There are several reasons why someone may be denied a U.S. visa or a green card, and the conviction of a crime is among those reasons. It should be obvious that serious crimes such as murder would disqualify someone, but what about misdemeanors? Unfortunately, even those smaller crimes can prevent someone from getting their green card or U.S. visa.

Why Misdemeanors Can Disqualify

Unfortunately, whether or not a misdemeanor will disqualify you is not a simple question. It will often depend on the type of crime and whether it falls under a certain category. Drug crimes, or a “crime of moral turpitude” can be disqualifying. A crime of moral turpitude is a crime that is considered depraved or contrary to social norms. If someone has several drug convictions, they can be found to either be a drug trafficker or a drug abuser. Either one of these determinations can make someone inadmissible for a green card or a U.S. visa.

How Is It Determined?

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, a U.S. official will take it into consideration when reviewing your green card or U.S. Visa application. They will carefully review the details of the crime to determine whether it meets the definition of a crime of moral turpitude, or if it meets the criteria to deny you based on drug convictions.

Misdemeanors That May Make You Inadmissible

There are certain misdemeanor crimes that most commonly lead to disqualification. Shoplifting, simple assault, misdemeanor domestic violence or battery, and harassment could all disquality, although they all also might qualify for a petty offence exception. Possession of marijuana under 30 grams, solicitation and sale of drugs, or any violation that leads an official to believe you are a trafficker may disqualify you.

Petty Offence and Young Offender Exceptions

A petty offense exception may apply if the crime carries a maximum penalty of less than a year and the offender’s sentence was six months or fewer. If you were under 18 at the time of the crime, then you may also qualify for a youthful offender exception.

As with any legal issue involving immigration, it is always best to consult a reputable immigration attorney to protect your rights at all times during the application process.

f you’re need of an expungement, the Law Office of Mark Herman can help. Reach out online or call 612-382-4545 for a free consultation.

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