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Does getting arrested affect my immigration status?

Part of the U.S. permanent residence application process includes a criminal background check conducted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

If you’ve been arrested while in the U.S. or have been convicted of a crime, your citizenship application or current immigration status could be in jeopardy.

The U.S. criminal justice system can be difficult to understand, which is why we strongly advise you to seek the help of a skilled lawyer as soon as possible.

Katz & Phillips, P.A. understands the complexities of the immigration process and can help you avoid making a mistake that could jeopardize your immigration status. 

does getting arrested affect my immigration status


How would an arrest affect my citizenship status?

If you’re arrested or convicted of a crime in the U.S., your citizenship status or application could be at risk.

For example, you might not be able to receive a work visa or get your permanent resident card (green card), and if you’re seeking official entry into the U.S. or a temporary residence visa, your application could be denied.

That being said, there are certain types of convictions that will categorize a non-citizen as inadmissible or deportable. Generally, these crimes include:

Consequences of an arrest without conviction

All arrests in the U.S. are entered into a database at the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

Even if the arrest doesn’t lead to a conviction of a crime, your arrest record will be visible to the USCIS when you apply for an immigration benefit such as citizenship or a visa renewal.

Even if you weren’t actually convicted of a crime, you will need to disclose the arrest in your immigration application.

Failure to admit to an arrest may lead to charges of fraud or cause your application to be denied.

Consequences of criminal convictions

In the context of permanent residence and immigration status, a conviction refers to:

  • An outcome where you were found guilty in court
  • Admitting guilt through a plea bargain
  • Admitting guilt in any court record
  • A conviction that was reopened and then dismissed, due to a reason other than an error

Exceptions and defenses

If you are a non-citizen who has been convicted of a crime in the U.S., it may be possible to request a waiver of inadmissibility or deportability to gain immigration relief.

However, in some cases, a criminal conviction can result in the automatic loss of an immigration benefit, such as DACA.

If you are a non-citizen and have been arrested or currently have criminal charges pending against you, it is imperative to speak to an experienced attorney knowledgeable in both criminal law and immigration law as soon as possible.

An attorney well versed in both areas of law may be able to resolve your criminal case in a manner most beneficial to your immigration status.

In addition, your lawyer may be able to prevent removal proceedings or petition the U.S. government to excuse your criminal conviction.  

Is your immigration status in jeopardy after a criminal conviction?

If you were arrested or convicted of a crime and fear your immigration status is at risk, the Orlando criminal defense lawyers with Katz & Phillips, P.A. can help. Contact us today at (321) 332-6864 to learn about your options.

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