Skip to navigation
Dedicated Representation Helping You Overcome Your Legal Challenges SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION

Will My Criminal Record in Another Country Apply in the U.S? 

Gurian Group, P.A. Sept. 28, 2022

Criminal Record and Handcuffs on A DeskThe United States is known for its strict immigration policies, especially when it comes to admitting immigrants with criminal backgrounds. “Will my foreign criminal record apply in the U.S. and lead to the denial of my visa application?”, some of you may wonder.  

The answer to this question depends on the specific crime or crimes on your record and other factors. In fact, you may still be able to immigrate to the U.S. with a criminal record if you can obtain a waiver.   

As an immigration attorney at Gurian Group, P.A., I help foreigners understand their options to immigrate to the U.S. if they have criminal records or are otherwise found inadmissible or ineligible for a visa. With an office in Miami, I serve surrounding communities throughout the state of Florida.  

Will Immigration Authorities Find Out About Crimes Committed Outside the U.S.?  

If you are considering immigrating to the U.S. with a criminal record, you may wonder, “How would U.S. immigration authorities find out about my crimes committed outside the U.S.?” U.S. embassies and consulates use a variety of methods to obtain access to foreign criminal records.  

In some cases, U.S. immigration authorities are given direct access to the criminal records of people who wish to immigrate to the U.S. Thus, when a foreigner applies for a visa, the U.S. embassy or consulate can view the applicant’s criminal record and find out about the crimes committed outside the U.S.  

In addition, visa application forms usually ask direct questions about the applicant’s criminal history. In some cases, the applicant may even be required to provide a police certificate. Immigration authorities can find out about the crimes committed outside the U.S. even if you do not disclose this information voluntarily. Failure to disclose your criminal history can result in an automatic dismissal of the application and permanent visa ineligibility.  

Crimes That Make Immigrants

Inadmissible to the U.S. 

When applying for a visa to immigrate to the U.S., your application will be denied if at least one of the inadmissibility grounds applies to you. One of the inadmissibility grounds is having certain convictions on your record. Examples of these convictions are: 

  • Crimes of moral turpitude 

  • Drug-related crimes, including drug trafficking 

  • Two or more convictions with a total confinement sentence of five years or longer 

Convictions for other crimes may make an immigrant inadmissible to the U.S. Consider speaking with a knowledgeable immigration attorney to discuss your unique case and determine whether your criminal background would affect your ability to immigrate to the U.S.   

Next Steps You Should Take  

If you are deemed inadmissible to the U.S. because of the crime or crimes you have committed in the past, you may be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility. The waiver allows otherwise ineligible individuals to enter the United States.  

These waivers are discretionary, which means the U.S. government can choose whether or not to grant one. Generally, the U.S. government evaluates the following three criteria when processing waivers: 

  1. The seriousness of the applicant’s criminal convictions or immigrant law violations 

  1. The potential risk of harm to society 

  1. The application’s reasons for entering the U.S. 

Depending on your situation, an immigration attorney may advise you to bring the waiver application to your visa interview if you have a criminal history.  

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help  

If you have a criminal background that could make you inadmissible to the U.S., it is critical to work with an experienced attorney to learn how your criminal record may affect your efforts to immigrate to the U.S.  

An immigration attorney will provide trusted legal advice to help you understand what you can do to immigrate to the U.S. despite having a foreign criminal record. Everyone’s situation is different, which is why consulting with an attorney could have a positive impact on the outcome of your visa application.  

Contact Gurian Group, P.A. Today  

If you have a foreign criminal record and wonder whether this will affect your ability to immigrate to the U.S., contact my office in Miami, Florida, for legal guidance. You may still have a chance to enter the United States with your criminal background. At Gurian Group, P.A., I can review your unique situation, answer your questions, and walk you through the application process. Call me today for a consultation.