The Effect of Criminal Offenses on a K1 Visa or CR Visa Application

1. 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 U.S. on a K1 Fiance Visa or CR Marriage Visa.

  1. IMBRA – International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (read about IMBRA waivers)
  2. Adam Walsh Act (read about Adam Walsh Act waivers)

Otherwise, crimes by the US citizen should not prevent immigrant processing.

Allan Scott Lolly

managing attorney

Even so, other crimes by the U.S. 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 fiancé or spouse. An immigration officer may harshly examine a foreigner who is dating a U.S. citizen that has criminal convictions.

When a US citizen has anything more than a simple traffic ticket, it helps to check with our legal office to determine chances of success in bringing a foreigner to the U.S.

2. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. because the U.S. values free political speech.
  • By comparison, there are places where prostitution is legal, even in Nevada, but the U.S. 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” (CIMT). These crimes involve behavior 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

  1. The police report
  2. Charges that were filed in court
  3. Guilty plea or conviction by a judge or jury
  4. Sentencing documents

Call for Assistance — Often, there is no waiver for many criminal offenses. In some cases, the foreigner is barred, but a waiver of the bar is possible. Initial consultation is FREE.

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.

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    More About Our Immigration Law Firm

    To date, the immigration law firm of Allan S. Lolly & Assoc. P.C. has successfully obtained well over 15,000 K1 fiance visas, CR marriage visas, green cards, immigration bar waivers, VAWA benefits, Asylum benefits, and other family and employment visas.

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