Crimes That Can Render Immigrants Inadmissible in the U.S

Whether you are applying for permanent residency or have already received green card status, violating U.S. law can make you ineligible for an immigrant visa or even result in cancellation of your green card. In most cases, immigrants are rendered inadmissible by the U.S. government if they are convicted or admit to have committed crimes involving moral turpitude or aggravated felony. As a foreigner in the country, it is your duty to honor and abide by the local legislation. The classification of criminal offenses may vary slightly from state to state, which is why consulting Ohio Immigration Lawyer is in your best interests.

Minor traffic infractions and other noncriminal misdemeanors are unlikely to affect your immigration status. A criminal record referring to crimes committed within the last ten years can be problematic. Fortunately, there are always exceptions, based on the severity, circumstances, and outcome of the crime. Crimes involving terrorism and espionage are unforgivable for obvious reasons. Many immigrant criminals are deported immediately or detained for an unspecified period before being sent back to their home country. Convictions for serious or extremely violent crimes can result in permanent inadmissibility, i.e. you can never legally cross the U.S border again in the future. 

Therefore, if you are subject to any criminal charges, you must act quickly to prevent conviction. Apart from consulting an immigration attorney to know your options, you will need to work with a criminal defense lawyer to have your charges reduced or removed. With certain cases, acquiring full or unconditional pardon is potentially possible; conditional acquittal may also allow you to stay in the U.S under stricter stipulations. Your defense attorney will help determine whether taking a plea deal can be beneficial or an adversary to your case. 


Common criminal grounds for inadmissibility in the U.S:

Moral Turpitude

Actions that go against basic morality and humanity can be identified as crimes of moral turpitude. These offenses are a stigma on the society and reflect the offender’s violent tendencies. Crimes involving harm to human life and property fall under this category. If the crime was committed as a minor more than five years ago, or if the expected punishment of the crime is less than a year of imprisonment, then being excused is quite plausible. 


Aggravated Felonies

These include state and federal felonies that have caused major damage to human life or colossal financial loss to the state/country. Murder, voluntary manslaughter, child abuse/pornography, and money laundering are a few examples of aggravated felonies.


Drug Crimes

Use, abuse, possession, and trade of any illegal or controlled substance/drug is a serious crime that may lead to inadmissibility. No matter how big or small your role in the drug trafficking business, law enforcement will address it harshly. If you are suspected to be involved in a drug related illicit activity, a conviction may not even be necessary to sentence you. 


Prostitution or Human Trafficking

If you have willfully engaged in prostitution or benefited from the prostitution/human trafficking business in any way, you will be held liable for commercialized vice. The trafficker’s family will also face the consequences, with the exception of minor children. 


Multiple Criminal Convictions

Multiple criminal convictions are a major red flag, no matter where you aim to travel or migrate. If you have been deemed guilty for two or more criminal offenses, and the total prison sentence equals five years or more, future stay and entry in the U.S. shall be denied. 

Scroll to Top