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Florida immigration: Criminal conduct and green card aspirations

On Behalf of | Jul 4, 2024 | Immigration & Naturalization

The path to lawful permanent residency in the United States can be fraught with obstacles. One of them is having a criminal record.

Convictions or investigations involving serious crimes can block you from getting a permanent resident card (green card). However, it may be possible for those dreaming of life in America to overcome this barrier.

Impact of criminal records on eligibility

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts a thorough background check on all applicants. Certain criminal convictions can prohibit people from getting a green card.

These include aggravated felonies, crimes of moral turpitude and illegal drug activity. For example, having a background involving murder or terrorism will likely bar you from lawful permanent residency.

On the other hand, offenses like speeding or driving under the influence (DUI) may not prevent you from obtaining a green card. Further, certain criminal conduct, even some ineligible crimes, may qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility.

Improving your odds of success

When applying for a green card with a criminal record, there are steps you can take to better your chances. Two of these include:

  • Providing full disclosure: Disclose all encounters with law enforcement, including arrests, charges, or convictions, even if they were later dropped or expunged.
  • Including rehabilitation evidence: Demonstrating rehabilitation or positive conduct since the time of the offense can be beneficial, showing that you have started fresh with your life.

As mentioned, a waiver of inadmissibility, if granted, could allow you to continue with the process even if you have a history of criminal conduct.

Having experienced legal guidance can help you put your best foot forward when seeking lawful permanent residency.