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How to Get a Green Card With a Criminal Record

How to Get a Green Card With a Criminal Record

If you have a criminal record, being able to apply for a green card and becoming a lawful permanent resident of the US may seem like a distant dream to you. But don’t forget that you don’t have to face this journey alone. 

While having a criminal record can definitely make the process more challenging, it’s certainly not impossible. 

Nonetheless, this is a particularly tricky area of immigration law, and you’ll need to be prepared to navigate its complex rules. That’s where partnering with a specialized team of legal experts can help. 

With the right partner by your side, you can learn how to get a green card with a criminal record and live your American dream. 

In this guide by the experts at the Warren Law Firm, we’ll delve into potential challenges you’ll face on the way and explore strategies for success. Let’s dive in.

The Complex Road to a Green Card with a Criminal Record

If you have made mistakes in the past, you may be asking yourself: “Can you get permanent residency with a criminal record?” or “Can you get a green card with a felony?”. The straightforward answer is that, while it may be challenging, it is not entirely impossible. 

Nonetheless, it is important not to underestimate the difference that having the right Green Card lawyer by your side can make. Plus, you’ll need to know the right steps to take and understand how your specific situation can influence the process. 

These steps include:

  • Understanding your eligibility 
  • Reviewing your criminal history
  • Being truthful in all documentation provided
  • Securing expert legal help
  • Avoiding mistakes and delays 
  • Be ready to apply for a Waiver of Inadmissibility
  • Know what to do after you have obtained your green card

In the sections below, we’ll cover these steps in more detail. 

Understanding the Rules: How a Criminal Record Influences Immigration Status

So, the answer to the key question: “Can you get permanent residency with a criminal record?” is: yes – but it won’t be easy. So, where to start?

The first step to take is to gain a general understanding of the rules and regulations that may impact your situation. Let’s start. 

Crimes Which Seriously Impact Your Eligibility for a Green Card

The type of crime you’ve committed can have significant implications on your eligibility for a green card. If the offense is serious, it may even stop you from becoming a lawful permanent resident in the U.S.

Among the most severe offenses, crimes of moral turpitude (CMT) and aggravated felonies represent substantial issues. These include:

  • Fraud
  • Theft
  • Perjury
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Sexual abuse of minors
  • Drug trafficking and offenses 
  • Money laundering (over $10,000)
  • Prostitution 

Having two or more convictions that led to a collective sentence of 5 years or more can also represent a major obstacle to obtaining a green card with a felony. 

The Importance of Disclosing Your Criminal History

The green card criminal record check is an essential step of the immigration process for the U.S., as well as for many other countries. It’s crucial to fully disclose your criminal history during this process, even if certain incidents may seem insignificant or forgotten. Failing to reveal any part of your history could potentially result in the denial of your application or even future legal issues.

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When and How to Apply for a Waiver of Inadmissibility

Green Card With a Criminal Record - Warren Law FirmWhether you are applying for or renewing a green card with a criminal record, you’ll need to understand the role played by a Waiver of Inadmissibility. 

The Waiver of Inadmissibility is a provision offered by the US government, which allows individuals with a criminal record (which would make them ineligible) to apply for a green card. 

If you are able to obtain a Waiver of Inadmissibility, it will act as a type of forgiveness for your past offense, and it will allow you to proceed with the immigration process. This waiver can be sought by anyone facing inadmissibility charges due to various reasons like criminal convictions, violation of immigration laws, or some security issues. 

Your lawyer will help you navigate the process of submitting your application for a Waiver of Inadmissibility. However, generally, you should apply when submitting your felony green card application. 

Navigating Legal Support: Why You Need an Immigration Attorney 

Currently, nearly 14 million people in the US hold a green card, and over 9 million of them have become eligible for citizenship! So, while the process ahead may certainly seem daunting, it is not impossible to succeed. 

When it comes to getting a green card with a criminal record, you’ll need the help of an immigration lawyer. Here are some of the benefits of partnering with a team of legal experts:

  • Expertise and experience in ever-changing immigration laws
  • Reduced risk of mistakes and delays
  • Knowledge of tools like the above-mentioned Waiver of Inadmissibility
  • Professional guidance throughout the process
  • Case monitoring and updating
  • Liaising with immigration authorities
  • Leveraging a network of specialists in the field 
  • Knowledge of case studies and landmark court decisions

Tips for Improving Your Chances at Approval

Securing a green card can be more complicated if you have a criminal record, but it’s not impossible. As we have seen above, the first step is to undergo a green card criminal record check. However, once your criminal record has been assesed, there is a lot that you can do to increase your chances of success – starting with the tips below:

  • Request legal representation
  • Understand your charges, convictions, and past sentences
  • Obtain court records and share them with your representing lawyer
  • Explain and justify convictions where possible
  • Pursue rehabilitation, expungement, pardon, and Waivers of Inadmissibility.

As we have seen above, each case is unique. What’s more, some factors will play a role in determining the success of your application. For example, any rehabilitation efforts you’ve taken, as well as the time of conviction and the nature of the crime can have a positive or negative influence. 

Renewing Your Green Card With a Criminal Record

If you have a criminal record, the process to renew your green card or remove the conditions on it can become a little more complicated.

While it is possible, it may require additional steps and thorough preparation. Some key steps to take before renewing your green card with a criminal record include working with an attorney, providing additional documentation, and offering evidence of successful rehabilitation efforts. 

Dealing With Possible Roadblocks During the Application Process 

Roadblocks during your green card application or renewal process are often to be expected with a criminal record. Even when working with a lawyer, you may be asked to provide further evidence and documentation to support your case. Working with a legal team can help you gather the evidence needed, file immigration appeals, and prepare at your best to overcome the challenges you are facing. 

Ready To Take The First Step Towards Getting a Green Card With a Criminal Record?

If you have a criminal record, the process of getting a green card may seem daunting. Fortunately, the road ahead is still open to you. To navigate it, partner with an expert at Warren Law Firm. Get in touch with our team today and book your initial consultation. 

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