Crimes by the U.S. citizen
There are generally two instances where criminal convictions can prevent a U.S. citizen from immigrating a foreigner to the US on a K1 Visa or CR Visa.
- Adam Walsh Act
Otherwise, crimes by the US citizen should not prevent immigrant processing. Even so, other crimes by the US citizen can affect how an immigration officer views the case. Officers have a great deal of discretion in deciding whether or not to issue a visa to a foreign fiance or spouse. An immigration officer may harshly examine a foreigner who is dating a US citizen that has criminal convictions.
When a US citizen has anything more than a simple traffic ticket, it helps to check with this office to determine chances of success in bringing a foreigner to the U.S.
Crimes by the Foreign Fiance or Spouse
There are many ways a foreigner can be prevented from immigrating to the U.S. based on crimes. Volumes of books are written on this subject. Courts often do not agree and so laws throughout the US are applied unevenly.
Here are some pointers:
A criminal offense is a criminal conviction or even an admission of guilt.
If the crime occurred outside the U.S., but would not be a crime if the foreigner was inside the U.S. is likely not a crime. For example, a political prisoner in Sudan will likely not be barred from immigrating to the US because the US values free political speech. By comparison, there are places where prostitution is legal, even in Nevada, but the US Federal government views prostitution as a crime.
Many immigration violations are crimes.
A crime is an offense that involves the potential for jail time. Crimes can be either misdemeanors or felonies. A misdemeanor is anything that potentially could involve jail time, up to one year. A felony is a crime that involves potential jail time of one year or longer.
A criminal misdemeanor (the minor crimes) is a problem if the offense is a “crime of moral turpitude.” These are crimes involving behavior that is considered morally reprehensible. Stealing a bicycle is bad enough, but taking it out of someone’s home at night is worse.
A single crime that does not involve moral turpitude is generally manageable, except when there is more than one offense. Multiple criminal offenses are a problem.
Criminal felonies generally are problematic.
Anything involving drugs is a serious problem. There is an exception for simple possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana. Even then, a bar waiver is needed.
You should try and obtain:
- The police report;
- Charges that were filed in court;
- Guilty plea or conviction by a judge or jury; and
- Sentencing documents.
Often, there is no waiver for many criminal offenses. In some cases, the foreigner is barred, but a waiver of the bar is possible.
US Toll Free Tel: +1.888.483.0311
Outside US Tel: +1.212.483.0311
The bottom line is that if you or your foreign fiance, spouse, or foreign children have any criminal offenses, you should contact us (or another well qualified attorney) to review the case and advise. It really helps to have the court records pulled.