Generally speaking, a person with criminal convictions will not be deemed "admissible" for entry into the United States. "Admissibility" is necessary for a person to be allowed to legally enter the country. By statute, there are several grounds for "inadmissibility" including:
- Ill health
- Threats to national security
- Likelihood of becoming a public charge
- Criminal convictions
- And more
Criminal convictions and behavior – crime-related issues – are also grounds for inadmissibility are a major reason people our found inadmissible to the United States, and this can result in being denied a green card.
For all grounds of inadmissibility, waivers can be sought using Form I-601. This article will focus on seeking a Form I-601 waiver of criminal convictions. These waivers can be difficult to obtain, but not impossible. Much depends on the criminal activity involved, the “rehabilitation” of the individual, and the hardship not granting a green card would cause to the applicant’s family.
What is the crime-related reason for inadmissibility?
Essentially, a person seeking to enter who has been convicted a crime involving moral turpitude will be denied admission into the United States. A finding of inadmissibility can also be made if the person was not convicted of a crime, but who admits to committing a crime, even if they were never punished.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, crime-related behavior that can be the basis for inadmissibility is mostly defined as a crime involving moral turpitude. This definition is broad and basically includes most crimes that involve drugs, theft, or violence, or related to these types of offenses. Other crimes are also specified in the Act as the basis for inadmissibility.
It is important to note that not all crimes are crimes involving moral turpitude, and a skilled lawyer will look to the offense to determine if in fact a waiver is needed for that offense.
What is a I-601 waiver?
As noted, Form I-601 is a request for waiver of inadmissibility. Typically, Form I-601 is filed AFTER a determination of inadmissibility is made if you were found ineligible by a consulate or embassy. If applying in the United States, an I-601 waiver can be applied along with your application for a green card. Certain criminal convictions are not eligible for a Form I-601 waiver. These include drug trafficking offenses and terrorism.
Form I-601 is generally known as the "hardship waiver." "Hardship" is in reference to a current US citizen or permanent residence spouse, parent, son or daughter who would face "extreme hardship" if entry were to be refused. In other words, it is NOT the hardship of the person seeking entry that is evaluated. Rather, it is the extreme hardship that is suffered by the close relative if entry is denied.
Even if extreme hardship is shown, that does not automatically mean that the I-601 waiver will be granted. The immigration services have the discretion to approve a waiver and other factors are considered. The nature of the crime and issues with respect to rehabilitation are also important factors.
As can be seen, seeking a Form I-601 waiver for crime-related issues is complex. You will need the help of experienced immigration attorneys.
Contact Yekrangi & Associates Today
For more information, contact the Orange County Immigration Attorneys at Yekrangi & Associates today. You are not alone and we will fight for you. Yekrangi & Associates works to meet a higher standard. Our first goal is your satisfaction. Contact us at (949) 478-4963 to schedule a consultation or complete our convenient “Get Your Consultation” form here. We are located in Irvine, California.