Which criminal charges can affect a green card application?

People who work for extended periods in the United States tend to put down roots. Perhaps you have assimilated into the culture, fallen in love, or maybe it’s no longer a good option to return to your birth country.

A green card, also known as a Permanent Resident Card, lets you live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. However, if you have a criminal record, either in the United States or in your home country, a green card application can become more complex.

Crimes that can affect your green card application

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does check the criminal history of anyone applying for a green card. Certain criminal convictions can make your green card application ineligible.

There are three types of crimes that in most cases make a person inadmissible. These are:

  1. An aggravated felony (murder, drug trafficking, fake tax return, sex crimes)
  2. A crime of moral turpitude (murder, rape, fraud and crimes involving animals, such as dog fighting)
  3. Illegal drug crimes (most drug-related crimes)

You may still be able to attain a green card after a criminal conviction for certain crimes. These include:

  1. Traffic violations
  2. Joyriding
  3. Minor assault charges
  4. Breaking and entering
  5. A single conviction for a small amount of marijuana possession for your personal use

If you are a non-U.S. citizen who has been charged with a crime it is in your best interest to speak with a criminal defense attorney who works with this issue.